Holiday Lets

Creating the perfect stay

With a growing trend across the UK to renovate homes, spare rooms and outbuildings into holiday lets, here at Design’d Living, Rob Lessmann offers top tips on how to create a successful holiday let conversion, and make your holiday home interior design the best around. 

Rob has completed several successful holiday home conversions. Some of his work is based around the south coast of England, in Bournemouth and the surrounding area, where a holiday home with the right appeal can sell at a premium. We threw some questions at him about the holiday home design business.

Why do you think holiday let conversions have become so popular in the last few years?

People are looking for alternative sources of income, as well as looking at smart ways to utilise extra space within their homes, properties and gardens. The recent boom in UK holidays has further increased this trend. It is also easier than ever for people to list their property online as a holiday let with many large-scale platforms available. 

Many people are choosing to improve their home rather than move to a new house, and with the slow-moving property market I think those who would usually sell are seeking alternative ways to generate a return on their investments. 

How does doing the interior design for a holiday let compare to working with private residential client?

We have renovated a number of different style holiday lets; it requires a very different approach in comparison to designing someone’s home. We still want to create a homely, warm and welcoming feel however each design must be less personal, and must have broad appeal. The design must also be fairly robust, to allow for repeated use by different people. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to opt for neutral tones or a boring style, it just means the design needs to work for frequent, changing visitors.

Can any home be converted into a holiday let? 

It depends what style you’re going for. Many people have redesigned and renovated their homes – successfully transforming them into luxury holiday lets. Our advice would be to consult a professional – particularly if you’re unsure. When we go into a property, we will look at how to utilise and maximise the space and also add value.  

For a holiday let, we will consider the finish of the kitchen and bathroom from a commercial point of view, look at practical storage options, and seek ways to make the home as comfortable as possible. This can be as simple as ensuring the heating is working properly and the house is warm and secure. We can quickly see what needs to be done in order to ensure you have happy guests. 

We would also suggest looking at how you can make the property welcoming and appealing to a wide and varied audience, which can often be tricky. There is a balance between neutrality, style and personality which needs to be carefully measured. 

 

How would you convert a residential property into a holiday let ready for paying guests?

We look to create a space which is both inviting and welcoming, yet practical, easy to clean and long-lasting. We achieve this through a combination of contemporary textures and finishes, good-quality furniture and comfortable soft furnishings. We would always suggest removing personal items. Try to create warmth and personality through carefully chosen accessories, while keeping the decor contemporary and clean. Your furniture, fixtures and fittings need to work hard for you, ideally over a long period of time.

How do you create a luxury look and feel for your holiday let?

We have installed many customer-pleasing features within our designs such as underfloor heating, electric curtains, up-to-date sound systems and smart-home technology. These installations are meaningful, they improve the experience and add memorable value to the property. We also think carefully about lighting and atmosphere. Considered finishing touches make a world of difference to the guest – we really like the Sustainable LED lighting range by Tala, and the mood lighting ranges available at Collingwood LED. We also make sure worksurfaces and flooring installations are long lasting – we have used a lot of quartz for kitchen worksurfaces as well as natural limestone floor tiles. For one of our developments we designed a custom-made bunk bed with built in storage and stairs which has been a real hit. Guests will often appreciate a smart design or creative use of space – it’s also inspiring for them to see these installations and think about how they could work in their own homes.

What would you suggest to anyone looking to convert their personal space into a fully functioning holiday let? 

I would suggest you first think about the type of customer you want to attract – families, couples, people on business travel, etc. Create a space that is inviting, clean and comfortable and remove lots of personal possessions. 

You don’t necessarily need to install underfloor heating and electric curtains however if you’re looking to reach a high-end market, I would consult a professional who will be able to suggest ways to utilise your space wisely and cost effectively. 

A good interior designer will be able to source quality, well priced furnishings, as well as offer advice on bespoke cabinetry and fittings. 

Finally, I would also look at the competition, what’s already available and how can you make your property stand out. The growing trend to convert unused spaces, rooms and homes into holiday lets has meant there is much greater competition. Work with your strengths and if you’re unsure get some sound advice from an experienced interior designer. 

Haven Court

For this attractive holiday home in popular Sandbanks, we stripped everything back to brickwork, rewired, replumbed and re-plastered. We used bespoke cabinetry for the kitchen furniture and installed a Belfast sink and quartz work surface to create a highly practical yet luxurious finish.

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