Furnishing and Equipping your Holiday Cottage
Use good quality, robust furniture and equipment that can be easily cleaned and will not be high maintenance. All furnishing should abide by gas and fire safety regulations and electrical items need to be PAT tested. It is very important to remember that the Holiday Home Let rental rates you can charge will reflect the standard of your furnishing and equipment. There will be inevitable wear and tear and occasional damages; as would happen in your main home, so avoid items that have personal significance.
Living areas: Comfortable, durable furniture is recommended, remembering that you are aiming to fill your second property for potentially 52 weeks a year. Ideally there should be sufficient seating to cater for the number of people you sleep in both the dining and living room areas. Sofa beds can be a good idea, as they extend the sleeping arrangements, though the latter will not be quoted as formal sleeping. If your property is on multiple levels, stairs gates are a necessity. Adding a Toy Box, a selection of Books and Board Games will always help to entice a visitor.
Kitchens: Other than the standard cooker, grill and oven, these should be equipped with a microwave, toaster, a dishwasher, (where possible), and ideally, a washing machine. A clothes dryer can also be very useful. Fridge and sufficient freezer space is important so that visitors can cater for their full week's stay. As a rule of thumb you should cater for at least double the maximum number that will stay in terms of cutlery, glass, china and kitchen utensils. Children's cutlery is always a nice touch. Appropriate pans, kitchen utensils, baking trays, coffee pots and tea pots are an obvious requirement. Breakfast bars, casual or formal seating encourage socialising during food preparation and where space allows, would be recommended. For young children, a high chair would be recommended.
Bedrooms: Beds and sofa beds should be good quality and comfortable. Ideally, there should be bedside tables and lamps, at least one hairdryer and ample hanging and storage space. Our team at Choice Cottages would be happy to work with you to configure the ideal bedroom set-up and combination of double beds, twins and bunks. The tariff band you will ultimately command will be largely dependent on the number of people you can sleep. Why not spend a night in each bedroom to check it out for yourself. For young children, you should supply a travel cot.
Linen: We recommend you have at least two sets of linen for every bed, to allow for same day changeovers. Also; have good supplies of tablecloths, kitchen cloths etc.
Media: More and more, visitors ask for WiFi. This is a chargeable extra, so installing broadband would be recommended. Additionally, FreeView, Sky or Virgin TV packages will make your property stand out. Though not a requirement, multiple TV's throughout the home will add value. To cater for entertaining or 'bad' weather, we would suggest that you consider a Games Console with a selection of games, DVD / BlueRay player, Sound System with CD / Radio and an iPod Dock.
Flooring: This should be hard wearing, low maintenance, not easily damaged and easy to clean. Wooden or tiled floors with rugs are a good idea, together with washable throws for soft furnishings. Avoid carpeting bathrooms, where possible.
Making a house a home: You should have a balance between making your house a 'home' with personal touches like artwork, books, vases, and ornaments but without filling the space with personal artefacts like family portraits. Try to create an atmosphere appropriate to the location and style of the holiday home. We recommend you allocate a storage area or cupboard where you can store your own personal things, or items with sentimental value. Keep the latter locked when you are away.
Exterior: Ideally your exterior spaces should be fenced off. This especially true if you are going to allow pets or to allow for the safety of young children. An outdoor entertaining area, (where possible), with appropriate table and seating is highly recommended, as is a Barbecue. If space allows, children's games, a swing set or climbing gym will help to sell your holiday let.