Being partial to a long weekend getaway to a shepherd’s hut or countryside rental retreat, there are a few furnishing accessories and ideas that I love to see. Just a few simple additions can make a huge difference in the comfort of a stay, making your visitor want to come back again.
Rental home owners and Airbnb hosts take note, here are my 14 favourite furnishing ideas and accessories.
Staycations in the UK have been on the rise for a few years now. The reasons are varied but it’s clear that the UK now offers a whole range of holiday types and accommodation choices. A clear trend among the city-dwellers is the desire to get away from grey concrete and out into the fresh, green countryside. People are actively seeking a simple getaway that caters for all their ‘needs’ but gives them an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle. This is why shepherd’s hut, cabin lodges and the like are now extremely popular choices for holidays and weekend trips.
Putting an empty shed in a field probably isn’t going to live up to the expectations of most. With the big choice available, people can be quite discerning and particular with what they are looking for. If they are spending a fair amount of money on a trip away of course they’ll expect a good level of cleanliness and amenities, but they’ll also expect a few little extras.
Taking even just a small extra step with the type of accessories used to kit out your holiday home will really work wonders for your guests. Everyone loves a little Brucey Bonus don’t they?
You’ll also feel the benefit when you get fantastic reviews and your guest recommends your holiday rental to anyone and everyone they come across (unless they want to keep it secret and come back themselves, which does happen!)
14 Furnishing Tips for a UK Holiday Rental
1. Good Coffee Making Facilities
This is a simple quick win, and there’s a good reason I’ve put this at number one. For any coffee lover, this is essential.
People may have to put up with sub-standard coffee at work or during the week, but they shouldn’t at your holiday home. A jar of Nescafe just doesn’t cut the mustard (for me). This doesn’t have to be a full blown coffee machine, although many filter espresso coffee makers can be quite compact, it can be as simple as a cafetiere/French press or V60 coffee dripper, which take up little room at all – just remember to supply a few biodegradable filters.
For many, including me, there’s nothing better than making a proper cup of coffee first thing in the morning to enjoy in beautiful surroundings.
This one almost goes without saying but it is essential these days. When I go away to a shepherd’s hut or cabin I like to try and get away from my phone and social media completely, but WiFi is necessary to plan trips, get directions and read up on recommendations.
Not having WiFi at all could discourage a large percentage of people from visiting you.
3. Heating Source
The UK isn’t the warmest place. It certainly isn’t mid-summer Spain. It rains a lot and can be quite miserable even during the height of August. Whatever the time of year, having a quick source of heat is a very good idea.
This can be a simple plug-in electric heater, space heater or more luxury heater and thermostat that blasts heat out from vents beneath the work station.
Adding an eco-friendly heating source to your holiday rental will earn even more brownie points with an ever more environmentally conscious audience.
4. Wood Burning Stove
This could potentially be included in #3 but I think as wood burning stoves are so sought-after and an essential of any tiny home, it deserves a point all to itself.
Yes they are a heating source but they’re also a man’s best friend. Nothing says ‘going back to basics’ than starting your own fire. For the uninitiated, it can provide hours of tinkering, sometimes on the frustrating side, but a small log burner in a beautiful countryside retreat is an absolute must.
5. Leave a Complimentary Gift
Everyone loves a free gift. I’m not talking a free hamper or anything that’s going to put you properly out of pocket, just some small and inexpensive.
It shows care and consideration and really demonstrates an extra personal touch. Think simple – bottle of wine, slice of cake, a local bottle of beer or homemade bread and jam. Anything really to show a bit of care and people will appreciate it. Everyone loves a freebie!
It will eventually work it’s way round to benefiting you as people often mention these little touches in reviews and when talking about their getaway, which in turn will work in your favour.
6. Range of Glasses and Coffee Cups
These are more of a practical accessory. I’m not talking a restaurant standard display of shapes and sizes, just a good enough range to cater for the basics.
A couple of good mugs, tumblers for juice and water, pint glass, wine glasses and flute-like glasses – people do like a little celebratory toast when they are away. Of course this depends on space but tip #12 should help with this.
I’ve certainly had more than one trip where I’ve been drinking prosecco out of a coffee cup, which is fine, but not ideal.
7. Local Guidebooks and Recommendations
Guests may already have a good idea of where they want to go and what they want to see beforehand, but a selection of local guides and even written down recommendations offer an easy, personal touch that people love.
Also no one really knows the local area quite as well as you do.
A good idea is to leave a little book of recommendations where guests can leave their own tips of places, things and pubs to visit – great for guests and great for the local businesses.
8. Cutlery and Openers
Neatly following on from #7 is the need for slightly more than just forks, butter knives and spoons. A good sharp knife is definitely a requirement for bread slicing and potentially veg chopping, plus a small range of openers – I’m talking bottle opener, corkscrew for wine and tin opener for those without a ringpull. A slight tangent, but a candle lighter is always very useful too.
Most tiny homes will have some sort of integrated fridge which is an essential for holiday guests to keep food and drinks.
An added bonus is a fridge with a small emergency milk in it for the forgetful guests among us – for the majority of the UK population, a nice cup of tea without milk a non-starter. A tiny extra but will make all the difference.
10. Cooking Facilities
Many guests won’t be full-on cooking meals during their holiday getaway, but some sort of cooking facilities are essential for breakfast and a stay-in evening meal.
A microwave is incredibly useful for all sorts of snacks as is a basic stove-top cooker for breakfast. When we go away, we tend to take food items that don’t need a lot of cooking but can combine nicely for a meal – camembert, fresh loaf, serrano ham, baked beans, avocado, lots of crisps. In case you’re wondering, no not all these items would go in the same meal!
11. Handing Recycling Facilities
People venturing to a quirky place of stay, such as a log cabin or shepherd’s hut, tend to be on the environmentally friendly side.
With food usually comes a little wastage, whether this is from the packaging or food itself. There is nothing worse for an eco-friendly person than sticking everything in one bin to be taken to landfill.
Providing a little food bin (potentially outside) and another bin for recyclable waste (plastics, paper etc) will mark you down very favourable with your eco-friendly guests, which we hope goes for most people. Encouraging recycling with a couple of signs would also be a nice touch.
12. Make the Most of Non-Floor Space
It almost goes without saying that floor space can be a premium in a quirky holiday home, so making the most of vertical space and hidden spots is essential.
A few good coat hooks on the wall are really useful for coats, bags and dog leads, plus any storage spaces you can fashion from underneath beds and seats will come in very handy. Shelves are a great way to make the most of all that wall space.
They can be used practically for glasses, cups and books, but also to add homely touches such as flowers, indoor house plants and candles.
Related Post: 14 Top Tips To Create a Dog Friendly Shepherd’s Hut
13. Boot Cleaning Area and Outside Shoe Store
People often holiday at tiny homes to get access to the countryside – this often means muddy walks.
Any sort of shoe store and cleaning area you can include outside the door will be appreciated by guests and also by the cleaner, which is probably yourself!
14. Wood-fired Hot Tub
This last accessory is very much on the luxury side of things, but if that’s the market you’re edging to then it’s a great addition and selling point. Who doesn’t like being nice and toasty in a hot tub while looking up to the evening sky?
I’ve stayed at places that have a wood-fired hot tub and although they take a good hour to set up and get warm, it was a real treat to relax in. You can get plenty of energy efficient and eco-friendly hot tubs now that will add an edge of stylishness to your tiny home. The Helsinki hot tub I’ve tried before is superb.
So, there you have it. My top 14 furnishing ideas for your rental holiday home that you should definitely consider. It will certainly make your guests very happy. If I’ve missed out any items you think should be on the list, get in touch and let me know.