Preparing your holiday let for guests

Written by Nick Grant


Published on 13th July 2023


Last Updated on 23rd February 2024


Read time: 9 minutes

Getting your property primed and ready for guests is an exciting part of the holiday letting process. But before you start decorating, lay the groundwork to set up your property for success. Here, we’ll highlight the key things you should consider before listing on sites like Airbnb, such as how to furnish and style your holiday let tastefully.

How to furnish your holiday let

It might be tempting to furnish your property as quickly as possible. But hasty decisions may lead to you leaving an underwhelming impression on your guests. So, before you get started, take time to consider the following:

Your target market

Ask yourself who’s likely to stay at your holiday let. Think about your location and how it’ll affect the interest shown in your rental. For instance, if it’s in an area popular with families like Cornwall, you might want to create a family-friendly environment with features such as childproof locks and highchairs.

Plan your layout

Establish how your rooms will be used before choosing furniture and decorating. This can make it easier to find the ideal type and size of furniture.

Set a budget

Determine how much you’d like to spend on furnishings. This will help guide your purchasing decisions and ensure you stay within your means.

Get connected

A speedy internet connection and a flatscreen television are essential for many holiday goers, as people often want to check emails, use the internet, or watch Netflix or another streaming platform when they’re away.

Choose durable furniture

It can be tempting to prioritise price over quality, but spending extra on durable, hard-wearing pieces can save you money in the long run by not having to replace them as often.

Provide essential furniture

Ensure your holiday let includes essential furniture items like beds, comfortable seating, dining table and chairs, storage solutions, and essential kitchen appliances.

Comfort is key

Ensure your property is decked with soft furnishings. You could try creating a sense of Hygge by adorning your interior with cosy features like soft blankets and cushions.

Create a welcoming bedroom

Invest in good quality mattresses and comfortable bedding, so your guests get a good night’s sleep. Resist going too bold with colour schemes and decor. Instead, choose neutral colours and tasteful decor that appeal universally.

Add functional storage

Your guests need enough space to unpack and store belongings during their holidays. So, include sturdy wardrobes, dressers, and shelves.

Prioritise cleanliness

Maintain a high level of cleanliness throughout. Regularly clean and inspect the furniture, upholstery, and linens to check they’re in pristine condition for each guest.

Let there be light

Ensure there’s adequate lighting throughout the holiday let. Use a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting to create a welcoming ambience.

Keep it functional and clutter-free

While making your living space memorable is important, remember to keep it clutter-free. Avoid overcrowding the rooms with unnecessary furniture or decor.

Furnishings to consider for each room

Now we know how to furnish your holiday let, it’s time to start that shopping list and decide what to put in your holiday let. Get a pen and a piece of paper and use our checklist to help guide your furnishing decisions.

The Hallway

  • Welcome pack: Make a fantastic first impression with a welcome pack. You could provide a greeting card to make your guests feel at home, as well as important details, such as emergency contact details, house rules, information on the local area and how to use your appliances.
  • Flooring and barrier mats: Choose durable and easy-to-clean flooring for the hallway. Consider using barrier mats near entrances to prevent dirt and debris from being tracked into the property.
  • Coat hooks and racks: Install coat hooks or racks in the hallway to give guests a convenient place to hang their coats, jackets, and caps.
  • Shoe rack storage: Provide a shoe rack or storage solution in the hallway to encourage guests to remove their shoes upon entering. This helps keep the floors clean and prevents dirt from being tracked throughout the property.

The Lounge

  • Sofa: Along with comfort, think about the size and shape of your lounge, how many people you need to sit, and where it’ll look best. You could also get removable, washable covers for sofas and armchairs to make cleaning and maintenance easier.
  • Seats and tables: Your guests need a pleasant place to sit, eat, and socialise. Durable, hard-wearing pieces made from sturdy materials like solid wood or metal will likely be more comfortable. Select stain-resistant fabrics for upholstery.
  • TV: Popping on a film, series, or live sports is a popular pastime for all ages, so providing your guests with television is always a wise idea. Installing streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video gives your guests the pick of their favourite shows and flicks.
  • Soft furnishings: By replacing the curtains, cushions, rugs, and throws with a new colour or design, you can quickly and affordably transform a living room from plain to perfect. You should also think about practicality and avoid materials that can’t be washed or are prone to staining.


  • High-quality mattress and bedding: We all like to feel rested after a holiday, so make it easier for your guests by investing in a comfortable bed. If there’s enough space, consider buying a bigger bed to give your guests more room to stretch out.
  • Blackout blinds: Install blackout blinds or thick curtains so guests can block out early morning light.
  • Scatter pillows and throws: Use decorative pillows and throws for added comfort and appeal.
  • Mirror: Place a large mirror on the wall to create a sense of space and allow guests to check their appearance before leaving.


  • Power shower: Install a power shower with good water pressure so guests can have a refreshing wash.
  • Blinds: Install blinds or privacy window coverings so guests can adjust the level of privacy and natural light in the bathroom.
  • Adequate lighting: Ensure there’s enough lighting in the bathroom (both ambient and task lighting). Consider using LED bulbs for energy efficiency.
  • Storage: Provide storage solutions such as shelves, cabinets, or vanity units to allow guests to keep their toiletries and personal items organised and easily accessible.
  • Outlets for shaving/charging toothbrushes: Include electrical outlets near the vanity units to use electric razors, hairdryers, and other electronic devices.
  • Essential amenities: Finish the space with essential amenities like body wash, shampoo, conditioner, hand soap, and toilet paper. You could also utilise refillable dispensers or single-use travel-sized toiletries for convenience.


  • Eating space: Provide a table or a breakfast bar where guests can enjoy their meals and socialise.
  • Kitchen appliances: Equip the kitchen with essential appliances like a kettle, toaster, fridge and microwave. Adding extras like a coffee machine or blender can be an excellent way to secure more brownie points. If space allows, you could include a washing machine for added convenience.
  • Pots, pans, and utensils: Select high-quality, easy-to-clean pots, pans, and kitchen utensils to ensure your guests have the necessary tools for food prep and cooking.

Outdoor space

  • BBQ: If you’re lucky enough to have an outdoor area, why not add a BBQ for guests to enjoy burgers in the sun? You could even go a step further with luxuries such as hot tubs or an outdoor bar.
  • Outdoor dining area: Offer a designated area with outdoor furniture, such as a dining table and chairs, where guests can relax and enjoy their meals al fresco.
  • Easy maintenance options: If you’d rather have low-maintenance outdoor areas, you could use astroturf instead of natural grass. This can help keep the garden looking neat with minimal upkeep.

How to style your holiday home

When it comes to styling and adding those finishing touches to your holiday let, think about the following to help your property stand out.

Define your design

Decide on your property’s specific design or theme and ensure consistency throughout. This will create a cohesive and visually appealing space.

Take in your surroundings

Get inspiration from the surrounding area and incorporate elements that reflect where you live. For example, you could incorporate blues and greys for a calming coastal feel if your property is by the seaside.

Choose a colour palette

Select a colour scheme that complements your design concept. Consider using neutral colours as a base and adding pops of colour that align with your theme.

Home in on the details

The little details can make a big impact. Add decorative elements like artwork, cushions, curtains, or rugs to complement the overall style and create a welcoming atmosphere.

Personalise with local touches

Incorporate local elements or artwork that showcase the region’s culture or attractions. This adds a unique touch and immerses guests in the local area.

Lighting and ambience

Pay attention to lighting to create the desired ambience. Use natural, ambient, and task lighting to set the mood in different areas of the property.

Get protected with Intasure

In addition to our styling and furnishing tips, you may also want to consider protecting your property. Holiday home insurance helps to safeguard your rental property against potential risks, including damage, theft, and other incidents while hosting guests.

At Intasure, we offer holiday let insurance in the UK and countries across the EU and beyond. Our policies cover a range of property types, including caravans, cottages, and holiday homes. We understand the unique needs of holiday let owners and can help you arrange suitable insurance cover.

Contact us to discuss your insurance requirements and explore the options available.

The sole purpose of this article is to provide guidance on the issues covered. This article is not intended to give legal advice, and, accordingly, it should not be relied upon. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in this area. We make no claims as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained herein or in the links which were live at the date of publication. You should not act upon (or should refrain from acting upon) information in this publication without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist advice. Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited trading as Intasure accepts no liability for any inaccuracy, omission or mistake in this publication, nor will we be responsible for any loss which may be suffered as a result of any person relying on the information contained herein.


Nick Grant is a Business Development Manager at Intasure with 10 years of insurance experience.