How to Become The Host with the Most!

We often get asked ‘where do you get your style from?’ and a huge source of inspiration for both Kyal and I are our travels to date.  As surfers, we’re drawn to coastal destinations both in Australia and around the world, and have no doubt taken snippets of inspiration from every holiday we’ve been on.  In 2013, we spent three months travelling around South America.  As we travelled up the Western Coastline we loved the mix of earthy textures and bursts of colour.  A big highlight for us was Cartagena in Colombia.  We were inspired by the history, raw materials and architecture.


Surf Shacks along the Peruvian Coastline


Our accommodation in Cartagena


According to’s recent survey of almost 19,000 travellers, over half (56%) have been so inspired by the interior design of their holiday accommodation, that they are motivated to undertake interior design work when they return home.  This percentage rose to 67% in millennials, reconfirming to us that interior design really is a big passion for so many people!  What’s even more interesting, is that nearly half (47%) of travellers say they would choose to stay in a holiday home over a hotel if they wanted to experience unique or unusual interior design.

Some of the key elements that puts travellers off selecting their holiday accommodation include ugly or tired looking furniture (64%), an over-crowded space (45%), a small bed (40%), bad lighting (40%) and ugly furnishings (34%). Yet good interior design can create a memorable experience for travellers, as two thirds (57%) said that enjoyable furniture such as comfortable sofas and luxurious bedding are some of the top ‘little touches’ that makes a positive difference to a holiday.

With this in mind, we’ve put together some great practical tips and styling advice for those wanting to rent their home on

Get The Look:  Create a ‘shop-the-look’ style guide in your property that details where you sourced some of the design items in your home.  These should be a mix of your favourite local homewares stores where guests can shop in person, as well as online stores they can order from once they’re home.  You could even see if local businesses would be open to offering a discount to anyone staying in your property.  Another great idea is to see if any local artists would be interested in hanging art for sale within the home.


Local artists, mood lighting and a good quality sofa


A Restful Stay:  There is nothing better than enjoying a good night’s sleep while you’re away on holiday.  Invest in quality pillows and linen to ensure guests are experiencing a hotel quality experience, and ensure there is lots of linen so guests can layer up or down depending on how they like to sleep.  According to 57% of travellers surveyed said that quality furniture such as comfortable sofas and luxurious bedding are some of the top ‘little touches’ that make a positive difference to a holiday.


Luxurious bedding, reading lights and candles all add to the experience


Stimulate the Senses:  A well designed home will indulge as many senses as possible – including touch, smell and hearing.  It’s a great idea to source some local candles or air fresheners with scents specific to the feel and location of your home; for example, lime and coconut scents for a beach house, or cedarwood and leather for a bush retreat.  A sound system is also a great idea.

Keep it Simple:  Don’t over clutter the home with too many knick-knacks and personal pieces, rather focus on a few statement pieces per room.  This will ensure guests feel they can relax in a fresh, neat space – and will also ensure that there is not an unnecessary amount of dusting and cleaning to do between guest stays.


Keep styling simple and avoid clutter


Add a Touch of Green:  Indoor plants are a great way to add colour and life to any interior space.  Additionally, studies have shown that indoor plants can assist in improving air quality and help lower stress and negative feelings – exactly what you want your guests to experience.

Fresh Paint:  When selecting a colour palette for your holiday home, be inspired by your surroundings.  Keep coastal homes light and fresh with a neutral palette.  For a bush retreat, you may look into incorporating some rich earthy tones inspired by the surrounding terrain.


Be inspired by your surroundings when selecting a colour palette and styling


Considered Styling:  Select hardwearing furniture that will wear well.  Sofas with removable covers are perfect for homes you envision kids will frequent.  Keep your holiday home stylish by introducing various textures and colours using cushions, throws and lamp shades – keeping your overall ‘theme’ at the forefront of your mind.  When choosing decor pieces, always be mindful of the overall look.  For example, style the beach house with coral, palm husks and driftwood.  Decorate the farmhouse with rustic pieces such as hide rugs and antique barn tools.

Mood Lighting:  In any interior, lighting is critical in creating a functional, multi-purpose space.  If budget allows, dimmer switches are a great way to ensure guests can select the level of light they require.  Lamps in bedrooms and in living areas are a cost effective and stylish way to create ambience of an evening.  Lamps, pendants and wall sconces are another opportunity to add character and charm specific to your holiday house theme.  According to, 40% of travellers say bad lighting will put them off booking a holiday rental – so it’s an important one!


When thinking about lighting, aim for a mix of functional task lighting and more intimate mood lighting to create ambience


Indoor/Outdoor Flow:  If you’re planning on renovating your property to rent it out on, consider ways you can open the indoor area to the outdoors.  This may mean re-orientating the layout so that the living, kitchen or dining area opens out to an alfresco deck.  Decks and pergolas are a great, cost effective solution to maximise living space, especially if you can connect the space with bifold or sliding doors, creating more usable space to relax and unwind.


Creating an indoor/outdoor flow gives guests more useable space to relax and unwind


Storage:  Look for any opportunity to introduce storage to ensure a clean, uncluttered space for guests to relax and unwind.  This could mean anything from investing in built-in-robes in bedrooms, to a simple show rack at the front door.