Designing 5-Star Vacation Rentals: A professional guide for Airbnb and VRBO interior design success

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Designing 5-Star Vacation Rentals: A professional guide for Airbnb and VRBO interior design success

Designing residential properties traditionally focuses on personalizing spaces to match a client’s unique preferences and lifestyle. However, the realm of vacation rental design, including Airbnb and VRBO properties, introduces a different measure of success: maximizing bookings and securing 5-star reviews. This objective requires a keen understanding of diverse traveler needs and the ability to craft universally appealing, memorable experiences within a swift design timeline.

Given that these properties represent a significant investment for your clients, efficiency in the design process is paramount. Delays can be costly, with the average occupancy rate for vacation rentals in the US standing at 51%. A project extending a month beyond its deadline, at a potential earning of $1000 per night, could mean a loss of $15,000 in revenue for your clients.

To navigate these challenges, we’ve compiled essential strategies for meeting traveler expectations, ensuring rapid project completion, and ultimately, delivering a vacation rental property that stands out in the competitive market.

How to evaluate the best furniture for vacation rental homes

Selecting the right furniture for vacation rental homes is crucial for ensuring both the comfort of guests and the longevity of the items within these high-traffic environments. Here are key strategies for choosing furniture that combines durability with style, ensuring your vacation rental stands out while providing a welcoming and comfortable experience for guests.

  • Prioritize in-stock and quick-ship furniture
    Time is money, especially in the vacation rental business. Opting for in-stock and ready-to-ship furniture pieces significantly reduces the wait time, allowing you to complete your design projects more swiftly. This approach not only helps in meeting your deadlines but also ensures that your clients can start earning rental income sooner rather than later.
  • Focus on quality and comfort over unique style
    While the temptation to choose uniquely styled furniture to make a property stand out is understandable, the primary focus should be on quality and comfort. Vacationers seek a relaxing and comfortable environment where they can unwind. Furniture that combines high-quality materials with superior comfort will enhance the guest experience, encouraging positive reviews and repeat bookings.
  • Choose contract grade for high-traffic items
    For items that will see the most use, such as sofas, beds, dining tables, and dining chairs, it’s essential to invest in contract-grade furniture. This type of furniture is designed to withstand the wear and tear of high traffic, ensuring durability and longevity. Dining chairs, in particular, are prone to damage as they are frequently moved and used; thus, choosing contract-grade chairs can prevent early breakage and the need for replacements.
  • Incorporate unique style through decor and less trafficked items
    While it’s important to prioritize durability and comfort for high-traffic furniture, you can still infuse your unique style into the vacation rental through decor and less trafficked furniture items. Console tables, buffets, nightstands, and dressers offer the perfect opportunity to add character and style to the space without sacrificing the overall durability and functionality of the rental’s furnishings.

Designer FavoriTes from HostGPO Partners

Our HostGPO partners offer a selection of designer-favorite in-stock and quick-ship furniture pieces that are perfect for vacation rental homes. These pieces are selected with both style and durability in mind, ensuring that your vacation rental not only looks great but is also equipped to handle the demands of a high-traffic environment.


York Slope Arm Slipcovered Sofa

Big Sur Square Arm Sofa

Haven 2-Piece Bumper Chaise Sectional

Willow II Slipcovered Bench Queen Sleeper Sofa


Anneli Ivory Upholstered Queen Bed

Lacourte Four Poster Bed

Point Reyes Bed

Summerville Four Poster Bed

Camp Twin-Over-Full Bunk Bed
Twin over full makes this a comfortable sleeping option for kids or adults

Dining Tables

Nolan Round Pedestal Dining Table

Reed Extending Dining Table

Oatfield Extendable Rectangular Table

Radius Extendable Oval Dining Table

Rowe Bistro Table (32″)

Dining Chairs

Captain’s Dining Armchair

Reed Dining Chair

Jack Metal Dining Arm Chair

Rowan Dining Chair

Faro High Back Chair

Westan Dining Chair

Selecting mattresses and sheets to elevate guests’ comfort

Creating a welcoming and restful bedroom in a vacation rental goes beyond aesthetics; it’s about delivering an exceptional sleep experience. Unlike the personal and intimate setting of a client’s own bedroom, vacation home bedrooms should strike the perfect balance between comfort and a clean, inviting atmosphere.

Here’s how to achieve that balance with the right mattresses and sheets.

Luxury mattresses for a five-star sleep experience
For the primary suites, nothing less than a luxury mattress should be considered. A high-quality mattress is the cornerstone of a restful night’s sleep, directly influencing guests’ satisfaction and their likelihood of leaving a positive review. We advocate for choosing mattresses that are not only luxurious but also made in the USA, reflecting a commitment to quality and comfort.

  • Recommended Mattress: Helix Luxe
    The Helix Luxe series stands out for its exceptional comfort and support, earning accolades across the board. Designed with sleep science in mind, these mattresses cater to a wide range of sleep preferences, ensuring every guest enjoys a rejuvenating night’s sleep.

Premium linens for ultimate comfort and elegance
Equally important to the mattress is the choice of linens. Hospitality-grade, white linens are recommended for their universal appeal and ease of maintenance, ensuring every bed in the home offers a crisp, clean, and luxurious sleeping environment. By selecting the same high-quality sheets used in major luxury hotel chains, you can elevate the guest experience to new heights.

Top sheet choices for vacation properties:

  • Mascioni by Standard Textile:
    Renowned for its luxurious feel and durability, Mascioni linens are a favorite among elite hotels worldwide.
  • Centium Satin by Standard Textile:
    These sheets offer a silky smooth finish, combining comfort with an elegant sheen that appeals to sophisticated travelers.
  • Paragon Cotton by Standard Textile:
    For guests who prefer the classic comfort of all cotton, Paragon sheets provide a soft, breathable sleeping surface.
  • Centima by Standard Textile:
    Known for its crisp feel and longevity, Centima sheets are an excellent choice for vacation rentals, blending comfort with the practicality of easy care.

By investing in top-tier mattresses and sheets, you not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your vacation rental’s bedrooms but also ensure a superior sleep experience. This attention to detail is what sets a property apart, encouraging glowing reviews and repeat visits.

The Avocado Open Air Homes Bathroom

Create a boutique hotel-like bathroom experience

The selection of amenities plays a pivotal role in transforming a vacation rental’s bathroom from merely functional to luxurious and  inviting. Beyond aesthetics, the quality of these products significantly impacts the guest experience, making it crucial to choose items that are both visually appealing and practical for use. 

Selecting high-end bath and body products over relying on the generic options provided by property management companies can dramatically enhance the bathroom’s ambiance, turning it into a spa-like retreat.

Our top picks for luxurious bathroom amenities:

  • Malin + Goetz:
    Their products not only promise an indulgent experience but also add a touch of sophistication to any bathroom setup.
  • Grown Alchemist:
    Known for their organic ingredients and elegant packaging, these amenities offer a natural and luxurious touch.
  • Signature Amenities (HostGPO exclusive):
    These amenities are tailored for the discerning guest, combining a high-end look and feel with an affordable price point

Unlocking Design Success with HostGPO

At HostGPO, we’re dedicated to ensuring your vacation rental design projects not only meet but exceed expectations. Our suite of resources and partnerships offers a comprehensive support system for interior designers, making us an invaluable asset in your professional toolkit.

Here’s how we stand out as a premier, cost-free resource for enhancing your design projects:

  • In-stock and quick-ship furniture and decor
    Our curated network of partners provides access to a wide array of high-end, readily available furniture and decor items. These selections are designed to streamline your project timelines, ensuring quick delivery without the need for a loading dock, warehouse, or minimum order quantities. With HostGPO, quality and efficiency go hand in hand.
  • Unmatched order support and logistics
    We’re here to help you adhere to your project deadlines. Should any delays arise, our team collaborates closely with you and our brand partners to identify suitable alternatives that align with your design vision and timeline. With HostGPO, you’re never left to manage challenges on your own.
  • Exclusive pricing and hospitality products
    As a HostGPO design member, you gain access to exclusive pricing from renowned brands such as Pottery Barn, West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Article, La Bottega, and Helix Mattresses. This membership also includes special access to hospitality-focused products like Standard Textile linens, ensuring your designs are both cost-effective and high-quality. By saving your clients money and delivering exceptional designs, you position yourself as the go-to designer for future projects, accelerating their return on investment and solidifying your reputation in the industry.

Click here to sign up for a free HostGPO Designer account.

In conclusion, by prioritizing in-stock and quick-ship furniture, selecting mattresses and linens that promise a five-star sleep experience, and choosing bathroom amenities that evoke the luxury of a boutique hotel, you set the stage for a memorable stay. This approach not only enhances the rental experience but also positions your designs for success in a competitive market, leading to positive reviews and repeat business.


From essential amenities and decor to thoughtful extras and safety measures, we created this guide to tell you everything you need to create a 5-star guest experience.

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