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Would You Bake a Cake and Not Ice It?

October 22nd, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Preparing a short term vacation rental or an executive/corporate suite is truly a detail oriented task.  There may be some refurbishing to be done before furniture ever graces the floor and inventory is placed.  If done correctly, with the guest in mind, you will have created a well thought out property for your tenants.  It will have many things that contribute to comfort and convenience, except one thing......... the icing.  That finishing touch that impresses and evokes emotion. 

More than ever before forum members have been questioning the importance of supplying an aesthetically pleasing property.   As vacation and corporate rentals become more mainstream, having a property that stands out is of the utmost importance.  Years ago, cost savings and location was what many guests based their decision on, but now presentation is considered by many as a very important influencer, higher even than travelers' reviews.  TripAdvisors Second Annual Vacation Rental Survey illustrates this perfectly:

When deciding between different rental properties, the key influences cited by respondents are:

  • Photos of the home (42 percent)
  • Traveler reviews (27 percent)
  • Cost of staying at the properties (13 percent).

Erin Colbert recently posted a good article on staging vacation rentals citing:

"The thing is, people are emotional creatures. Your home won’t leave a lasting impression because it had two bedrooms and a balcony. Instead, the tone for their trip will largely be set by what they find when they step through the doorway."  I couldn't agree more.

It seems that finding specifics on how to decorate, that is, exactly what to do, are a bit hard to come by.  Many sites describe decorating in a very general sense that leaves the reader still unsure of how to proceed with their own property.  When decorating a property there are some fundamental rules that should be adhered to.  I've taken an excerpt of "FF&E, Furnish and Equip Your Vacation or Executive Property in 5 Days" to explain the specifics of how to purchase Art when decorating a rental in the hopes of adding clarity to your decision making process in this regard.


Art and Accessory Purchase and Placement

To appeal to the majority of your tenants, we have previously incorporated earth tones.  Now we are going to bring in vibrancy through art and accessories.

Your main goal is to get your individual tastes out of the equation and only use decorative pieces that attract the majority of the extended stay tenants.

Whether one is on vacation or in an executive suite, the goal is to feel comfortable and relax in what feels like home.  For a vacationer and an executive this is one of the ultimate goals.

There are fundamental rules to decorating and we are going to be touching on these as we look for and purchase art and accessories.  It’s going to be really simple.  So, let’s get started.




The size of your art is so very important.  It has to be in scale with the wall it is adhered to and to what is placed beside and underneath it.

The eye loves to go down “in steps” and up “in steps” that is why the decorating rule of thumb of ½, 2/3, and ¾ is so important and should not be ignored.

When placing either one singular piece or a series of pieces together, the art should take up 2/3 to ¾ of the area or space you are trying to cover.  It is imperative if placing a series of pieces together that the space between each piece is equal and your groupings make up an odd number.

The art you choose should be colourful otherwise your rental may look too washed out and diluted.  Look for art that makes you feel energetic.  Stay away from pastels as these colours seem to date themselves very easily. 

If you are purchasing art for a vacation property look in local stores catering to tourists and outdoor markets and you will find amazing handmade authentic pieces in your price range.  Here is where geographical location comes into play.  There is no need to go to an art gallery.  The look we are going to create will feel rich without having to spend a lot of money.

If you are decorating an executive suite, I would stay mostly with mainstream art that you would find at Winners™ or HomeSense™.  Choose abstract (non life-like) pictures because they can be incorporated into a contemporary interior easily.  Abstract art has no rules so you will be able to find and match with ease.

Choose a store that carries a large selection of decorative accessories besides art (vases, bowls, pillows, rugs etc.) so that you are not traveling from store to store looking for items.  This is overly time consuming, not to mention frustrating.

Once you have found a piece of art that you like, choose a colour in that art to expand upon.  The colour you choose will come through in the additional decorations your purchase.

The psychology of colour is useful knowledge to have when deciding which colour you wish to expand upon.  As you will see below, different colours evoke different moods in people.

Warm Hues

Warm colours create a mood of excitement & warmth, stimulating activity and creativity

Cool Hues

Cool colours have passive, calming qualities that aid concentration and can create a mood of peacefulness and tranquility, reducing tension.


Energy, Passion, Power, Excitement


Health, Regeneration, Contentment, Harmony


Happiness, Confidence, Creativity, Adventurousness


Honesty, Integrity, Trustworthiness


Wisdom, Playfulness, Satisfaction, Optimism


Regalness, Mysticity, Beauty, Inspiration




Neutrals are great for adding stability and balance in a room. They include white, black, gray and colours that contain any significant amount of gray.


Once you find one piece of art that you believe would work in the property, and you find the colour in that art that you would like to expand upon, continue to find other pieces of art that have this specific colour in them.  This will be fairly easy to do if you are looking at a large selection. 

If you feel you are second guessing; stop.  Nothing is more damaging to the creative process than questioning yourself. 

If by chance you are not finding additional art that goes with your chosen colour, don’t panic, the idea here is to be versatile and compromising.  Relax and it will all come together.  Look at your art again and choose a different colour to expand upon.  Please keep in mind that, first and foremost, we are creating continuity.

If “going with your gut” makes you feel uncomfortable, take the Benjamin Moore Timeless Neutrals™ brochure with you to the store.  Match the complimentary colours shown beside your main wall colour with the art.  Super easy, and flawless.   ................... ©anitaericksen

The example above is part of the "icing".  That little bit better you do to attract tenants.  It is part of the creation of a "lifestyle that is the same or better than your guests' current lifestyle."  It's not just that you decorate that matters, it's how you decorate. 

Tags: Preparing a short term vacation rental, executive/corporate suite, decorating a rental, vacation rental, corporate rental, rental, property, TripAdvisor, decorate, decorating, how to decorate, decorating a property, vacation property, executive property,