Beach House for Fun and Profit

Make money and catch some rays at the same time!

Tag: how to furnish your beach house

Living with Vertical Blinds on Sliding Glass Doors

Your rental very likely has sliding glass doors or French doors.  If you are not fortunate enough to have built-in blinds with these doors, then you will need a window treatment option.  Typical treatment options include curtains, shutters, shades, sliding panels, and of course vertical blinds.  Let me tell you why the obvious choice of vertical blinds are likely your best option particularly in a bedroom where you must block out light from a slider door.  I will also discuss how you can mitigate the inevitable shortcomings.

Simply put, vertical blinds offer the right combination of affordability, functionality, and safety in a high traffic rental.  Any other type of treatment would come up short in one of these three qualities.

Safety

If you don’t have children, this is one attribute you might overlook.  However, there will be children in your beach rental and we have all seen the warnings on window treatment loops.  Some very beautiful options, like rollershades, necessitate pulls or chains that will be within reach of toddlers.  Likewise, shutters can fold in on and pinch little fingers. Even the most affordable option, a curtain, can be a tangle risk and will require ties which can also pose a danger.  More likely, children will yank or pull down the curtain and bring down the rod too.

Functionality

I am always surprised by how people manage to stain walls, linens, carpet etc. Curtains or drapes will get stained and collect dust.  They pose quite a challenge to clean in what may be a quick changeover between guests.  To clean, a curtain needs to be taken down, washed and laid out to dry. Some of the more aesthetically pleasing options like sliding panels or shades have the same drawback but are even more difficult to clean. An important element of functionality is durability.  Sliding panels and cellular blinds are designer options that might be a great consideration in your primary home but are not likely to hold up to the beating a rental will receive.  Vertical blinds, however, are typically made of PVC plastic and are durable and can be cleaned with a wipe.  They can withstand heat and humidity well also.

Affordability

Mentioned previously, curtains are likely the most affordable treatment option. Stock vertical blinds at a home improvement store are not much more costly. Custom blinds made of less typical materials like wood or fabric, shutters, shades and sliding panels will all be more of an investment. When outfitting your beach rental remember my mantra, Keep it Simple…But Nice. You do not want to throw your money away buying something extravagant if something simple, but nice will suffice.

Cons with Vertical Blinds

Vertical blinds are constructed using slightly overlapping slats (aka vanes) that connect on a headrail. Sometimes, if one slat should be turned the wrong way it can break off from the headrail. You are not out of luck when this inevitably happens, it is possible to reattach the slat.  Lifehacker has a trick where this can be done with a paper clip and piece of tape if you are in a pinch, but the best option is to keep on hand Blind Saver Clips.  If someone is even rougher on them and should bend or break a slat all together you will need to replace the slat.  For that reason, I keep an extra set of blinds on hand to replace slats when necessary.  Companies like Levolor found at Lowes has a ten-year warranty and will replace your vertical blinds when damaged, but grabbing a new slat from the closet is a whole lot easier.  To make this proposition cost-effective, stick with stock blinds and consider an easy to find neutral color like white or cream.

Your sliding door treatments will get damaged periodically, unless you manage to screen guests for children, clumsy adults, etc.  It is just a question of setting your expectations and being prepared to make repairs.

Why You Should Greet Renters with a Welcome Letter

High season is almost here.  One thing you will want to make sure is up to date and on your refrigerator is a welcome letter for your guests.  Think of it as the absolute “Do’s and Don’ts” you want guests to remember during their stay in your property.

I recommend a House manual too.  House manuals are a great resource of information for your renters.  However, I have been places where, for one reason or the other, the house manual was hard enough to find that we only located it near the end of our visit. Usually, house manuals are a binder which, no matter where you keep it, will get moved around also if it is read at all.

By contrast, the refrigerator is always seen right away by nearly every occupant of your beach house.  People do not move things clipped on the refrigerator.  My suggestion would be you put up a one-page sheet that covers the essentials: Wi-Fi password, trash pickup details, and your hard and fast house rules.  Feel free to use my welcome_template.  I put mine in a plastic sheet protector for durability and to convey added significance.

Please comment if you think there are any points that are absolutely necessary to include that I might have missed.

 

How to Furnish Your Beach House

Keep It Simple…But Nice!

Keep It Simple…But Nice should be your mantra when outfitting your beach rental.  No doubt you have heard the axiom “Keep It Simple” before.  However, you could take that to mean that buying all your furniture from a thrift store and featuring household appliances from the Dynex brand was OK.  Sorry, Dynex!

SIMPLE

Simple does not need too much explanation.  Everything should be functional and intuitive to your guests.  Household appliances should be both easy to use and clean.  Furniture should be low maintenance, not prone to smudges or stains, no deep crevices, power features, etc.  If consulting a manual is necessary for use, then it is not simple!  Keep it simple.

NICE

But Nice!  You should furnish similarly to how you would furnish your own house.  If the place screams “RENTAL!” at every turn then people will treat it like one.  Consider your own experience, even when your vacation budget is tight, you are still looking for the best when you spend your hard earned vacation dollars.  Your renters are no different.  They are not going to appreciate damaged or mismatched furniture.

HOW TO BE “NICE”

That leads to another important point.  It is best to start with a theme and furnish consistent to that theme. The uniformity will convey quality in your profile pictures and net you bookings. For example, we chose a nautical theme for our beach property as that reflects our location.  Just do not get too kitschy.  In any case, your place should have neutral colors and crowd-pleasing decorations for widespread appeal.  If you decorate with a Victorian theme then you are probably going to turn off most renters under sixty years of age. 

Be mindful that while renters will generally be respectful, accidents do happen.  Your vacation home furniture will pick up a few scratches.  Therefore it is best to invest in quality furniture and small appliances which will prove durable.  You make money not having to buy a new blender or sofa every other year.  We chose to spend extra for Sunbrella upholstery.  Nothing is worse than soiled furniture.  (More about Sunbrella to come.)  That extra expense up front is worth it if my sofa satisfies guests for additional years before replacement.

Here are some more “nice” items to remember when outfitting your beach house rental:

  • Opt for firm mattresses and purchase waterproof mattress pads.
  • Remember to be kid-friendly, no sharp corners etc. and consider supplying some children’s cups, pack and plays or baby gates.
  • Do not leave personal effects around for your guests. Photos of your family are going make them feel like intruders, put these types of items away in a locked, owner’s closet.
  • Consider area rugs in rooms with hardwood floors.
  • There should be art on the walls in every room, again just keep it simple (and preferably on theme).
  • All windows should have curtains or some type of window treatments.
  • And of course, there should be some beach chairs, sand toys, beach umbrellas for your guests to use.

If you keep these things in my mind when outfitting your beach house rental you will be on your way to accomplishing the primary mission of the beach rental owner…attracting quality guests willing to pay top rates for your property!