Décormag

Cottage, Cabin, Beach House: How to Make a Summer Rental Feel Like Home

Interior Design Guide

Summer travel season is about to kick into high gear, and whether you’re headed to a lake cottage, mountain cabin, or beach house, it’s time to start prepping for some well-deserved time off. But while you’re packing your flip flops, swimsuits, and sunscreen, don’t forget to bring along a few essentials for your rental home.

Of course, part of the fun of renting a place is discovering (and reveling in) the quirky, random, and often hilariously-outdated decor. But while pieces like a puka shell chandelier are charming, the bed sheets of unknown origin are questionable. If you’re going to be there for at least a week, and you’re driving to your destination, it’s arguably worth it to bring along or pick up some items that will make your summer rental feel more comfortable, and less sketchy. Check out our tips for perking up your (temporary) home.

What to Pack

Bring along essentials that will make you feel more comfortable, and that would be too pricey or annoying to buy when you arrive. Bring a set of neutral sheets for the bedroom and fresh white towels for the bathroom. Not only will they work with whatever eclectic decor you encounter, but they remove the ick factor of using someone else’s linens. If you’re headed to the mountains or anywhere it gets chilly at night, bring along a few throws for evening porch sitting or s’mores around the fire pit.

Many rental properties come with glassware, dishes, and flatware, but unless you’ve been there before, it’s unclear what exactly you’re dealing with. So, if you’re renting the home with a big group of family or friends and plan on enjoying some nice meals together (and you don’t want the table to look like a crazy mishmash of styles), bring along a simple, inexpensive set of tableware.

What to Buy

At the farmers’ market: Don’t pass up the chance to check out nearby farmers’ markets or farm stands. Not only are they great places to pick up incredible local produce, honey, jam, and baked goods, but you can also buy some key items to cheer up your rental (and get some great recommendations for restaurants and activities). Pick up a few bunches of local blooms. Flowers instantly transform a space, so buy at least enough for a vase on the kitchen table plus a few stems for bud vases on bedside tables. While you’re there, pick up a few bars of handmade soap. Place some by the sink or in the shower to use during your trip, plus bring some home to remind you of your trip.

At the grocery store: While you’re stocking the kitchen with food for the week, pick up some items that will do double duty as home decor. Buy enough lemons and limes to fill a large clear bowl. Not only will they serve as a bright, fresh centerpiece, but they are an essential garnish for cocktail hour. It’s also a good idea to pick up an assortment of candles. You never know what mystery smells will greet you when walk into with a rental (especially on a fishing-friendly lake), so select some scented candles to burn inside the home, plus citronella candles to keep away mosquitos on the porch.

At the flea market: Seek out local flea markets–it’s a fabulous opportunity to find one-of-a-kind items for your home and vacation rental, and at unmatched prices. Vintage tablecloths and even lengths of fabric are great for dressing up your dining area or repurposing as picnic blankets. Snag mason jars, pitchers, vases, and even juice glasses for displaying your farmers’ market bouquets. If you’re hosting a group, don’t resist the urge to buy that a kitschy cool 1960s pitcher and glasses set for juice in the morning and cocktails in the evening. Keep an eye out for old school board games, too. They’re a must have for both rainy days and hardcore family tournaments.

Top Image via Time to Build

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