You may think that the way you design your vacation rental isn’t important, but it can help attract more tenants. The way a lodging place is designed affects the way people feel about staying in it. Does it look welcoming and comfortable? People do this all the time when staying in a hotel— if it doesn’t look comfortable and clean, most people are not going to want to stay there.

Interior designers (and other designers) use seven elements of design. Don’t be intimidated if you’re not an interior designer. These elements are pretty simple, and just about anyone can implement them when decorating a home.

1: Color

Whether we realize it or not, color has a huge effect on us. Colors often symbolize various emotions, and all of these can differ from culture to culture. When choosing a color for any room from Benjamin Moore or some other to paint your vacation rental, consider what kind of energy you’re going for.

Warm Colors

Red, orange, and yellow are all considered “warm colors”. These colors are reminiscent of sunsets, fire, and fall. In general, red is associated with either anger or love; orange is associated with energy, and yellow is associated with happiness.

Cool Colors

Green, blue, and purple are the cool colors. They’re generally associated with water and nature. In the Western world, green is associated with either growth or jealousy; blue is associated with calmness, and purple is usually associated with royalty.

Neutral Colors

Neutral colors, such as beiges, browns, black, grays, and white, are reminiscent of the natural world. In design, they are usually the backdrop or main color, with warm or cool colors being accent colors. Black is the strongest neutral color, being associated with either power and elegance or death and mourning. Though it’s the opposite of black, white is just as strong of a color, also associated with elegance. Brown is the most natural of the neutral colors, representing earthiness.

2: Form

The two main types of form in interior design are geometric form and organic form. Geometric forms, as it sounds, are shapes with sharp edges, like triangles and rectangles. Organic forms are circles, abstract shapes with curved lines, and natural forms. Both create balance in a design space.

3: Light

Light is probably the most important element of design. Like lines, you can use light to your advantage to make a space appear bigger or smaller. If your rental property has large windows, use that to your advantage to bring in more light and make the space seem more open. Artificial lighting can also be used to make a room appear cooler (blue-tinted) or warm (yellow-tinted).

4: Lines

Lines are the foundation of all forms. In design, lines apply more to the structure of a home, but you can use the use of lines to your advantage in your vacation rental. For example, if your rental property has a short hallway, horizontal-lined wallpaper or horizontal lines painted on the wall can make it appear longer. The same applies to vertical lines; vertical lines can make a room appear taller. Don’t get too discouraged about the size of a space when purchasing a vacation rental, as these design elements can give the appearance of a bigger space.

5: Pattern

Patterns are a combination of either repetitive forms or lines used to bring excitement into a space. Patterns will make your vacation rental more interesting, and there are millions of different pattern combinations to choose from. Just keep in mind that too many patterns (whether they’re the same or different) can make your space look chaotic. Patterns should be used as more of an accent design, not necessarily the main design.

6: Space

Space is probably the easiest element of design to understand. Whether you have a small or larger rental property, it’s important to use the space to your advantage. This is especially true if your space is small; you don’t want to add too many furniture pieces into a small space. With a larger space, you’ll want to fill in as much as you can to avoid it looking empty, but you also don’t want to overcrowd a larger space.

7: Texture

Texture is a very important element to consider when designing your vacation rental. While most would assume that you should have comfy and cozy textures throughout a rental property, there are some instances in which rough textures will work better. For example, if your property has more of a rustic feel to it, then you may want furniture with rougher textures to compliment the home. Of course, you’ll still want beds and sofas to be more comfortable than rough.

Applying all of these elements to designing your vacation rental may seem overwhelming. Many are just tips and tricks to make your space seem bigger, such as lines and lighting, but these tips and tricks can help you attract more guests. The important thing to remember is to use balance and not overcrowd your space.

Levi Huang

Levi Huang, a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design with a degree in Furniture Design, has been a guiding voice in home furnishing and interior solutions for over 16 years. He became part of our editorial team in 2021, focusing on ergonomic furniture design, space planning, and material innovation. Previously, Levi worked in custom furniture creation and as an interior design consultant. He enjoys woodworking and contributing to sustainable living initiatives.

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