How to furnish a vacation home

You just purchased the perfect vacation or weekend home, while the excitement is great, furnishing it may be a bit overwhelming.

Oftentimes the weekend home becomes the dumping ground for a hodgepodge of excess furniture or whatever may be collecting dust in storage. Instead, why not make that vacation home a showpiece in design? And there is no need to break the bank.


Think about how the home will be used. Will it be used for solely you and your family to enjoy, or will it be rented out and used partially as an investment property?

Homes used for rental purposes will receive more wear and tear than one used just for you and your family. As a result, materials such as hospitality- or commercial-grade fabrics should be considered along with leather or Naugahyde as opposed to lighter or more fragile fabrics. Hospitality- and commercial-grade fabrics are also great solutions for everyday residential use, especially for those who have pets and children.


Vacation and weekend homes are often places to bring and invite guests, so how you plan to entertain may also play a role in your furniture selections.

An investment in a good quality sofa should top your list.

When looking for a sofa, here are some aspects to consider:

— Choose a sofa made of kiln-dried hard wood as opposed to a soft wood such as pine.

— Learn about how the foundation of the sofa is created, as the sturdiness of the frame will impact its longevity. In general, the more springs, ties and reinforcement, the better.

— Feel the back of the sofa. You should not feel staples or wood — these are indications of a poorly wrapped frame.

— Choose partial down- or foam-filled seat cushions as opposed to those filled with pure down. While down is cozy and soft, down eventually begins to flatten and will not look as plump as it once did.

Beyond your sofa selection, the next important selection should be the flooring material or floor covering.

Flooring for an investment property should be durable, so be sure to select a low-maintenance flooring solution such as porcelain tile or hardwood that is well-protected. In general, carpeting may not be the ideal solution due to potential staining and odor.


Why not consider those that are soft and soothing? As this is a home in which to get away from it all, creating an inviting oasis will help increase your enjoyment.

Some colors to consider include:

— Charcoal gray. Charcoal gray pairs well with light and bright colors and will also hide potential stains.

— Blue. Blue is a calming, soothing, cool color that helps to relax a space.

— Yellow. Yellow is a bright, happy color that can help perk up potentially dark spaces.

— Green. Green is a color that can add a lot of interest to a space and serves as a great accent color.


Furniture, lighting and accessories can be little or big ticket items depending on your budget and taste. Expect to pay the most for your larger items such as sofas and beds.

When making your purchasing decisions consider how long you plan to keep the home. Buying furniture that will be long-lasting has its advantages. However, if you only plan to keep a home short term, you may wish to consider furnishing your home using a blend of pieces that are high and low.

Keep in mind, however, that just because an item isn’t expensive doesn’t mean it isn’t well-designed, so be sure to pay attention to construction quality.

Don’t forget to include artwork and accessories, as this can help create a home that feels finished. Artificial blooms and succulents can serve as the icing on the cake.


Cathy Hobbs, based in New York City, is an Emmy Award-winning television host and a nationally known interior design and home staging expert with offices in New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C. Contact her at or visit her website at .

About the Author