Designing A Beautiful and Profitable Short-Term Rental Property

At Housewarming, we work with property managers and owners to prepare their properties to be used as vacation rentals. Getting these properties just right is imperative to succeed in the short-term rental market.

The Process

From a design perspective, a short-term rental project begins like any other. We meet with the owner/manager to have an in-depth conversation about the goals for their investment and to learn about their style and functionality preferences. Sometimes owners will also use the property for their own enjoyment so we aim to take that into consideration while always keeping an eye on the prime goals: successful marketing, property occupancy and guest satisfaction.

Many vacation rental and property management companies will have set guidelines including a design “brand”, and a list of supplies, accessories and trimmings to meet the needs and comfort of their guests. These may include specific types of linens and bedding, toiletries, kitchenware and cleaning supplies. There may be certain color pallets or design themes that meet with their brand. If owners or companies do not already have an established style, brand or guidelines for outfitting their properties, we work with them to establish those.

Once we establish a clear design aesthetic and review specific needs, we put together a master shopping list per room. We review this with our clients and make edits based on their feedback. Once we have an approved list, we begin to source, which is design speak for finding the right place to buy things.


Establishing a timeline early in the conversation is extremely important especially when it comes to sourcing. Lead times vary for furniture depending upon if you’re looking for custom made, which is unusual in a short-term rental (but could happen) or find that in-stock and ready to ship items will work just fine. Most clients want a faster turnaround so we are mindful of where we shop and make sure items will arrive on time. Shopping in local furniture stores works well in these situations.

We usually present a couple of options to our clients that can work interchangeably. The sourcing process typically takes a few rounds of back and forth between us and the client until we narrow down a final package. This process is collaborative with clients sometimes sending us options and us verifying that they will fit into the space, will arrive on time, and work with the overall look. Part of our sourcing process involves detailed ordering sheets, which include links to websites, product numbers, shipping estimates and most importantly cost totals. These sheets are useful especially if the client will order and purchase on their own.


There are clients who choose to handle the ordering and buying process on their own and that is completely okay if we are kept in the loop about when items will arrive so we can plan for our installation day. When we take care of the shopping not only can our clients sometimes get special pricing but they can also avoid the hassle of tracking deliveries. When needed, we work with warehouse companies to safely store deliveries until everything has arrived and we are ready to install.


Depending on the size of the property, installation can take anywhere from 1-3 days. This process includes hanging artwork, assembling smaller sized furniture, making beds, displaying linens, setting up kitchens and getting everything ready for the management company to take marketing photos and list the property.  Some clients ask us to take detailed photos of how everything is set up and create the inventory lists so the management company’s staff knows just how the space should be before new guests arrive.

If you’re interested in setting up your beautiful and profitable short-term rental property, we’d love to talk with you!

Written by Mayra Zarabia, Interior Designer