What is essential to consider when planning to decorate a holiday home?

Decorating a holiday home can often seem like a minefield of decisions, forcing you to evaluate the desired aesthetic payoff vs financial risk at every turn. How much time and money do you invest in the interior of your second home? If you’re planning to rent out your home to holidaymakers, decorating it will require a more objective approach to ensure that you cater to the tastes of the variety of people who’ll be staying there. If you’re keeping your holiday home for your own private use, designing the interior can be a relatively straightforward case creating an environment to your taste which you also find comfortable and relaxing. 

Easier said than done! But planning is key here - it is important to make sure you get the budget right; a well thought out (and funded) interior design for your investment property can go a long way towards increasing the rental income you can expect to receive. The property's value and the local rental market are also important factors to consider. Keeping your budget in line with the market and treating your investment property as a business can help ensure that it remains profitable. Even if you don’t plan to rent the property out, basic financial planning and budgeting is essential including making estimates of costs and what needs to be achieved within a budget.  

Invest in quality, where possible buy local and keep it simple but make sure you stand out from the crowd!

What are the latest trends in the Algarve?

Algarvan property design can have an influence on the furniture and accessories we choose. Furniture on legs - whether chrome or ´Scandinavian style´ - looks elegant on our standard tile floors and gives the feeling of space (whist being easier to clean under and around!). We often don´t find a need for lined curtains when we have electric shutters (and who wants to keep that beautiful sunshine out) – so sheer and semi-transparent voiles frame and soften our windows.

Contemporary Beach house is currently a favourite look for many holiday home owners and designers.  The style offsets a sleek contemporary design - subtle high gloss, or simple linear key pieces of furniture - with natural or naive furniture or accessories.  Colours reflect the bright neutrals of the brilliant sunshine, white architecture and long sandy beaches with the rich turquoises and blues of the sea and sky.  It´s stylish and modern – but with a relaxed approach.  There´s no right or wrong way of creating this look in your property – however the key is not to overload your holiday home with every little beach related item you can find.  A rattan chair here, or a driftwood light there will instantly create the feeling without looking cluttered.

However please don’t forget…you don´t have to follow trends!  Of course, you want your interior to be up-to-date, and it's good to keep an eye on the current trends — but beware of incorporating every trend into your holiday home.  You need to feel comfortable and happy with your choices too.

What type of decoration do you feel is most appropriate for the Boavista new builds?

We have discussed previously that designing the interior to suit your customers’ needs rather than your personal taste can improve your property's attractiveness to potential customers. The same should be said when designing an interior to reflect, and be in synergy with, the quality of a property´s build and finishing.

The new builds at Boa Vista are the perfect ´blank canvas` just waiting to be filled with your choice of quality furniture – you won´t help but be inspired by the attention-to-detail design (from the striking exteriors to the interior fixtures and fittings), luxurious landscape setting and the glorious views of the Algarvan landscape. 

What kind of details can make all the difference, distinguishing an interior from the competition (other resorts or rental homes)? 

Start with analysing the market place (take a look on rental websites to see what others offer) and once you’ve gained some knowledge, put it to use to outshine the competition and increase market appeal by carefully choosing a suitable theme with broad market appeal that stands out. Invest in quality with key wow factor pieces, statement accessories and lighting that will appeal to your potential clients. Don’t neglect the garden/terrace either, often an afterthought in considering an interior but crucial to the success of a property due to long summer nights (when the exterior can become the most important ´room´ of your house. Continuing the theme in terms of quality and style throughout this area will assist in distinguishing the property from the competition.

Keep your interior simple and clutter-free – particularly when taking those all-important photographs. Pops of colours (often in scatter cushions, artwork and rugs) will catch the eye and make your property look more appealing. Provide storage where games and other holiday items can be stored tidily away. 

On the subject of photography (often overlooked but arguably as influential as the interior) this is where you can easily distinguish your property from other rental property. Holiday makers are becoming more confident with technology – devices such as tablets and smart phones are being used by potential clients to browse holiday properties, more than ever bookings are made online and consumers are therefore going to be better at noticing the difference between professional and ´DIY´ photos. 

With all of the competition on the market, it is crucial to have professional photos with ´dressed´ room sets – they are your first, and maybe only, impression for the majority of holiday makers who are searching online. So put the iPhone down and invest in professional photography to show off that stunning interior you have just created!

What about maintenance, what type of materials are best for holiday homes?

Your holiday home is going to get a lot of use (remember that over the years your holiday letting is likely to receive hundreds of guests), so it’s a false economy to buy cheap furnishings that will soon wear out with repeated use. Spend a bit more and invest in high-quality hard and soft furnishings (and appliances) so that they last longer and stand up to the inevitable wear and tear that they’ll be subjected to. Focus on ´return on investment´, and don´t forget ´buy cheap buy twice´! 

Two of the biggest culprits of marking furniture in holiday homes are chlorine from swimming pools and suntan lotion (particularly the brands with ´tan prolonger´ in them). Think about the fabrics that you are using – finishes such as suede get dirty very easily, and are difficult to clean (particularly on headboards). Light coloured sofas and carpets can initially look great, but remember they can be stained or damaged more easily. 

Bright sunshine can be as damaging to interior furniture as exterior – so ensure that blinds or window coverings are in place and used during the brightest part of the day.

With regards to bed and bath linens, the key is to keep sizes standard and everything in white. This ensures that they easy to match and replace and are also suitable for commercial washing. 

Most importantly - if you’re unsure on a certain piece or a material - get advice from professional outlets or suppliers as they will be able to offer guidance on the most suitable product for your needs.

What are the biggest faux pas when it comes to decoration, especially a sea-side/southern holiday home?

Most of us only buy furniture very occasionally – so the prospect of furnishing an entire property from scratch can be really daunting – and there are potential pitfalls for the inexperienced, particularly as they will most likely be based in a different country from their holiday property.

The biggest faux pas when furnishing can be said to be the following;

-Not setting or sticking to) a pre-determined budget (even a rough one)

-No planning or researching the current/local rental market

-Not investing in exterior furniture and accessories

-Over cluttering interior space

-Furnishing for yourself and not the client

-Neglecting lighting – interior, garden & terrace

-Underestimating the time to accumulate all items

-Using cheap, low quality or ´high maintenance´ products – particularly in commercial properties.

-DIY marketing photos taken on smart phones or tablets.

This is where working with a specialist store or interior designer will eliminate many of the headaches associated with sourcing all of the furniture, accessories and appliances necessary in setting up a completely empty property. They also eliminate the nuisance of collating, receiving deliveries, assembly and installation.

These readily available solutions can be offered off the shelf or made bespoke to customers´ requirements and will cater for all budgets and target audiences – a dream come true for the busy investor.