7 Ways to Stage Your Vacation Rental for Great Photos


Think about the last time you scrolled through vacation rental listings. Were there certain properties that stood out to you? What made one property look better than another? If you’re like most people scrolling through multiple listings, the one thing that attracts you to a property more than anything else is…you guessed it - photos!

Great property photos consist of several things, including utilizing natural lighting and using a wide-angle lens. For more vacation rental photography tips click here.

It’s ALWAYS best to choose an experienced real estate photographer with a portfolio that you like. But even if you hire the best photographer around, if your property isn’t properly staged, potential guests will scroll past your listings and you won’t get the bookings you could be getting. Knowing the basics of how to stage your rental can lead to some serious cash flow! Here are some tips to prep your property for the best photos possible.

1. Invest Upfront

Start with products that set the right tone for your vacation rental — quality linens and towels, furniture, appliances and supplies. When you start with good-quality materials, it takes less effort to make your property look good! Remember that quality doesn’t mean that items have to be overly expensive or luxurious. If you do your research, you can find great linens, furniture, and decor at reasonable prices. Click here for smart tips on furnishing and decorating your vacation rental on a budget.

2. Clear the Clutter

Clearing clutter is always essential, especially in the kitchen. Clear all the kitchen surfaces and polish and shine stainless steel, tiles, and countertops. Only the nicest one or two appliances should be left on the counter (if they are stainless steel or match the kitchen decor). Remove dish towels, dish drainers, and garbage cans. Take magnets off the fridge and make sure that your kitchen decor is simple and not overdone.

As far as the rest of the property, decor on surfaces should be kept to a minimum and absolutely all non-essentials items should be put away out of sight. Much like a furniture display in a store or rooms in a model home, simple and clean is always better than cluttered and overdone.

3. Set the Dining Table and Patio Set

Guests love picturing themselves in a home, and laying out lovely dishware along with some fresh flowers can go a long way toward helping them envision how great meal times together can be. Adding fresh fruit in a bowl on the counter can also make the kitchen feel more enticing. Some of our most successful properties feature a photo of a simple welcome basket on the counter.

The same goes for a patio set. Outdoor dining is a big draw for most guests and having the table set with dishware, coffee mugs, and some fresh fruit and croissants can help them picture enjoying an amazing breakfast outdoors.

4. Tame Disorderly Cords

Tame unruly cords hanging from electronics, window shades, and lamps. No one likes to see a disorganized tangle of wires and cords. You can buy cord and cable organizers to make them look much more appealing in photos.

5. Set Up an Inviting Living Room

Do you have a fireplace? Make sure it’s lit during the photo shoot so guests can picture themselves gathering around a cozy fire on a cold night. Other sure-fire ways to make your living room look appealing is to turn off the TV (screens that are on never photograph well), place coordinating throw pillows on the sofa, put away remotes and game controllers, add plenty of warm area lighting, and keep decor simple and tasteful. It’s essential that your living room photos display a place that guests want to relax and hang out in.

6. Create Gorgeous Bedrooms

Imagine your ideal bedroom in a vacation rental. It’s probably safe to say it doesn't involve flat pillows, a tired looking comforter, and lots of dusty bedroom decor. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a lot to create a fabulous looking bedroom.

Take some time and invest some money to make the beds look appealing with good quality comforters, white linens, plump pillows, and stylish throw cushions. Buy or make a tasteful headboard, provide matching side tables with storage space, and set up matching bedside lamps. Like the kitchen, fresh flowers can go a long way toward enhancing bedroom photos. The ultimate goal is to create an inviting space that allows the guests to imagine a great night’s rest.

7. Highlight the Amenities

Do you offer cool amenities like bicycles, surfboards, pool toys, or kayaks? Make sure to arrange them in a tasteful way for the photo shoot so that guests can get excited about the possibility of using them. Describing the amenity in your description is one thing, but when you feature them in your photos, it takes the appeal to a whole new level.

Remember that once guests see the photos of your rental looking fabulous and de-cluttered, it’s important to keep it that way for when they arrive. The photos will create an expectation for their experience.

Taking the time and money to properly stage your home is essential in today’s vacation rental industry. It’s an investment that will always play off!

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