If you’ve already invested in a log cabin, beach house, or bungalow in paradise for those well-deserved vacations, get ready for the next step: making it your own. The easiest and most cost-effective way to do this is to pick up several pieces of furniture from a discount furniture joint, thrift shop, or yard sale, whether they match your style or not. However, if you’d rather create a second living space that provides comfort and convenience combined with a sense of style, read on. Here is a selection of tips for decorating your vacation home.
Set a Budget
After buying your property, set a new budget for furnishings. Some experts estimate the costs of decorating a second property to be anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000. That cost will vary, but it’s a good range to keep in mind. After figuring out what you’re willing to spend, make a wish list that errs on the conservative side. You have years ahead of you to add odds and ends. List the items you positively need—a few beds, a sofa, a dining table, and a chair set—and take the time to pick pieces that will set the tone for the home as a whole.
Splurge a Little on Particular Pieces
When picking those tone-setting pieces, splurge a little on centerpieces that draw the eye and can be complemented by more frugal purchases. For instance, a lovely live-edge wood slab coffee table can cost a bit more than a ready-to-assemble one from a big box store. However, it will last longer in terms of durability and style. Meanwhile, you can save on complementary furniture that may not be as high-quality as the centerpiece but can be replaced in the future. As a rule of thumb, start in the middle of the room with a fine piece, then expand outward.
Consider the Surroundings Outside When You Paint
In general, colors should reflect the atmosphere of the area surrounding the home. Is your vacation home on the beach? Sedate blues and greens should remind visitors about the sea and surf outside. If you’re in the woods, mellow browns and greens can continue the theme of nature indoors. Don’t be afraid to switch things up with another color to make the design stand out a bit more. Always keep it light, of course; reflect light around the room and use calming colors that won’t stress the eye or add discord to an otherwise pleasant vacation. Casual and cozy should be your keywords when decorating.
Flow and Function
Another tip is to investigate local antique stores, crafts fairs, and the like for furniture, wall hangings, and decorative elements that further the regional theme. Your vacation property is a home away from home, not a carbon copy of your permanent residence. Make it look like the getaway it is, reminding you of the attractions and elements that make it a special place.
But the most important tip for decorating your vacation home is this: avoid literal and visual clutter. Keep rooms as light and airy places where you can read, converse, relax, or take a snooze. And remember that somewhere down the line, a vacation home may turn into a place to retire.