Vacation Rental Staging

Good photos are key to getting noticed on crowded OTAs (check out our pro photography tips for getting great images), but how do you get your vacation rental photo ready? Let’s discuss some tips and tricks for staging those photoshoots so that guests can’t wait to click the “Book Now” button. Here are our top vacation rental staging tips.

Beyond the lighting, aperture, and camera work the photo should convey to the viewer your home’s comfy personality and style. Some tips for staging your home for both photo sessions as well as when guests check in include:

1. De-Clutter. The most important thing you can do is to get rid of clutter. We know you might sometimes live there too, but guests should feel comfortable as if it’s their own vacation home. Being surrounded by photos of people they don’t know, or collections of angel figurines can make them feel awkward and prevent them from really relaxing. Offer minimal decorations on the walls and shelves. 

2. Flower Power. Put fresh flowers in the photo shoot and consider offering a small bouquet for each incoming guest. You can even raid your yard for fresh blossoms.

3. Beautify the Bathroom: Put out fresh white towels with a ribbon tied around them. Include some beautiful soaps and a high-quality bath mat. Little touches like that turn a “toilet” into a “spa.”

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4. Make the Kitchen Look Yummy: Let people imagine how they’d relax and cook in your kitchen space. Place a cookbook on a stand on the counter, and maybe some enticing bread or fruit in a bowl next to it. If there’s an in-kitchen breakfast table or counter, arrange a pot with a couple of coffee cups. But keep in mind point #1 to not clutter it up.

5. Light it up! Do you have a fireplace? Light it for the photos of that room. It adds a light feature to the image and makes the room look cozy.

6. Show It Livable. Give each room a clear concept of what it’s used for. The bedroom and bathroom may seem obvious but let them imagine napping on that bed by including a fluffy blanket and pillows. If you offer an office or workspace, place an open laptop on it. Put out a bottle of wine and glasses in front of the fireplace or an open board game on the coffee table. If you have a pool, don’t just take a picture of the water itself. Make it look like it’s being used by guests with beach towels draped across the lounge chair and sunblock neatly arranged on a side table next to a glass of iced tea. 

7. Local Style. Add elements to the décor that remind renters where they are. If your rental is on or near the beach, for example, include some coastal décor – from wall hangings to palm tree glasses in the cupboard. If the home is near a lake, include wall art that reflects that landscape, a canoe paddle leaning against a wall or antique fishing poles above the door. But reference tip #1 and don’t over clutter the room (obviously we can’t emphasize that enough).

Lastly, don’t forget some of these additional basics when staging your home for photos or incoming guests:

  • Turn on all of the lights
  • Turn off all fans
  • Remove trash cans
  • Straighten the art on the walls
  • Fluff the pillows on the couch
  • Close the toilet lids
  • Close the shower curtain
  • Make the bed
  • Close all the drawers
  • Put towels on the towel bars in the bathroom
  • Put the toilet paper away
  • Hide cords as best as you can
  • Turn off the TV unless it is a pretty screen saver
  • Less is more: Think clean, simple Ikea-like furniture and décor.

Anything we didn’t cover? Tell us your vacation rental staging tips for getting your home ready for beautiful photos and welcoming guests.

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