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 Vacation Rental Interior Design With Mercedes Brennan

mercedes brennan vacation rental interior designer

Meet a vacation rental interior design expert!

Let me introduce to you one of my favorite people to work with in the VR world, her name is Mercedes Brennan.

She is such a pleasure to work with.

Mercedes is a gifted vacation rental interior designer AND one sharp marketer.

Don’t let her pretty designs fool you, shes an aggressive marketer too.

She  knows how to create interest and draw attention, thats what stood out to me about Mercedes.

She not only has design style but shes got marketing skills too.

Mercedes has done a great job of marketing herself and promoting her interior design blog .

I recently read one of her pieces I thought was alluring to say the least. The blog was titled… ” People Have Sex In Your Rental, Plan For It“. Bold… huh?

Well, sometimes you have to be bold to grab the attention of your audience.

Mercedes shows owners how they can say something bold about their properties (without words) with her inspiring vacation rental interior design ideas.

I asked Mercedes if she’d mind sharing some of her  best interior design tips to help you attract more guests and make more bookings. Here’s what she shared with us…….


 Why You Need to Create a ‘Yes!!!’ Vacation Rental


You’ve seen them.

We’ve all rolled our eyes over them. Bookmarked them. Wishfully.

I’m referring to the jaw dropping vacation rentals that get featured in design blogs and magazines, the ones that seem to get everything right, both inside and out.

Instead of Rent me, I’m available, they beckon Live here and be happy.


And guests say “Yes, I want that!” In fact, they reserve months in advance. Without hesitation.


ideas for furnishing a vacation rental

What’s their secret?

Vacation Rental Interior Design Secrets


It’s simple. Owners of such properties understand a fundamental truth about vacation rental success and it’s a little contrary to the slogans being sung in this industry, and it’s this:

People do not want a home away from home on vacation. Absolutely not.

What they want instead is the home they wished they had away from home.

Wished they had is the part to pay attention to. In fact, memorize that last bit.


vacation rental decorating and interior design tips

We are living in the new era of aesthetics. Outstanding design is everywhere. It’s an enticing, stimulating, gorgeous world where everything from smart phones to coffee shops compel us to look, listen, stay awhile and buy.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the vacation rental market. The chicest digs win the most bookings. Hands down every time.

And smart vacation rental owners take advantage of this. They realize that in order to succeed in an increasingly competitive environment, they must provide the kind of vacation retreat that people dream about living in.

Guests have not only come to expect a dream vacation home, they feel they deserve it.

After all, vacations are precious and people want the jaw dropping, not the ho-hum.

You would be seriously surprised at how many vacation rentals do not deliver on design. It’s probably upwards of 95%.

The majorities are average.

In fact, people forget about them the minute they click off their page.


vacation home kitchen needing interior design help

We can talk about marketing secrets all day long, but the naked truth is that all the promotion in the world won’t make these mediocre vacation rentals appealing.

They’re only going to book when guests don’t have better options, most likely because they are booking last minute.

And to make themselves feel better (and not bitter about paying the same price as the chic rental that booked up months ago), they will tell themselves, “well, it’s only a place to sleep after all,” or the all too common, “we will be out most of the time anyway and not spending much time in the house.”

That’s what guests tell themselves when they book a ho-hum, nothing special vacation rental.

“But, hey,” you argue, “chic vacation rentals are geared for upper income bracket folks, not the average guest.”

It is true that chic rentals tend to be on the higher side; but there are plenty of very affordable and beautifully designed rentals too.

The truth of the matter is that it costs no more to decorate well than to decorate poorly.

Beautiful rentals in all price brackets always out-book average ones, so it makes sense to put the time into decoration, no matter how humble your rental.

After all, as more homes come on the market, it will be harder and harder to be average and still get decent bookings.


cheap ways to design a vacation rental

So don’t do average.

Design a ‘Yes!’ vacation rental instead.

Average vacation rentals are all over the web. Don’t waste your time creating them. There are already 300,000 other vacation rentals doing that.

Guests of all income brackets want chic retreats in which to spend their precious vacation time and if given the choice, will reject ‘nothing special’ every time.

If you’d like more free vacation rental interior design tips and ideas, sign up for our newsletter!


Tired Of Marketing You Vacation Rental? Push The Easy Button


  • I appreciate Mercedes for these great interior designs of rental apartments. I also saw these type of interior designs at Paxos Glyafada Beach Villas, when I spent my vacation with family there. Interior decoration is the most important thing for an apartment, it gives most pleasure environment and awesome feelings.

    • Jay William says:

      Doreen, thank you for your comment. I agree 1000%. There is a nearby place that I visit over and over again in a little town called Ruskin, its sort of out in the middle of nowhere not so much a “vacation spot”, but we keep coming back because it feels so relaxing. Its interior walls are a realy soft blue with accents of soft colors and the furnishings are so comfy, we love going there partly because of the interior design and how relaxed we feel when we are there.

    • Hi Doreen, yes an apartment is a really good example. Apartments especially need good design to stand out from the ones next door. Thanks for commenting!

  • the_distinguished_guest says:

    I couldn’t agree more! When I look to book a VR the decor gets me every time even if I have to spend a few extra dollars. I even admit to spending $25 to $50 a night more if the VR is to my liking aesthetically (my husband never has a opinion and is always drawn to the less expensive option). I will scour the listing sites and decide on 1-2 options that are suitable to my taste and then will work around the calendar. Thinking back I am convinced that I have more vivid memories of my vacation as a result of the environment. I also find that I come home and rave about the home to all of my friends (free marketing). My living environment has always been really important and that is true even when I am on vacation. Loving the blog Mercedes! Thanks!

  • Tyann Marcink says:

    I am happy to to see Mercedes on your blog, Jay! I’ve been following her for awhile and love her work as both a designer and a blogger.

  • I have a small, brand new guest house in Nepal overlooking the Kathmandu Valley in an ancient village. I have original, Tibetan thangkas and historical masks, clean, etc. throughout. We are in full season and all the 5 stars are completely booked, but I sit empty. You can see my reviews reflect how nice it is. It’s a bit far from Kathmandu so I have a car and can take guests to sites for $5 a day each with a shared car-an excellent value.

    What am I missing? I have a website, accounts on several booking sites and have excellent reviews. What kind of budget would it take to get this guest house some business?

    These pictures are our best room and the view from our guest house of Kathmandu. Star View Guest House, Changunarayan, Bhaktapur, Nepal.

    • Hi Frugal Travels Nepal, I would love to see more of the guest house. Can you provide us a link to the house so I can take a look. It might need a little tweaking here and there. I would be happy to help.

      • Here’s my Airbnb link: I am also offering the rooms for long term retired and work-abroad expats with food, transportation and even help with obtaining a long term visa. It’s very inexpensive. I have great reviews on Tripadvisor, too.

        • Jay William says:


          Post a link to your website, I’ll give you a free website review and I’ll see if there are any tips I can offer you that will help your presentation.

          • Thanks so much. I’m looking forward to seeing what you suggest. I know there’s a lot to do here and a lovely property-well worth it.

          • Jay William says:

            I see the link here for the Airbnb listing but not for your personal website. I understood that you had one, if so please post the link here and I’ll check it out for you.

        • I checked out your listing, Frugal Travel Nepal and it looks like you are doing a lot right. However, give yourself a little time if you are a new rental. It takes time before people start getting to know you. Jay has some excellent marketing advice here, so that will help too.

          In terms of decor, you might want to tone down the colors a bit. Pink and purple are colors that people have strong reactions to, especially purple, which people either love or hate. To minimize strong reactions, you could compromise and only paint one wall, perhaps the one behind the bed, the stronger color and then the rest of the walls, a white or other light neutral color.

          I suggest white sheets. Perhaps you have them, but I don’t see them. I recommend folding the coverlets down and showing the white sheets on 2/3’s of the bed. Your Nepalese bedding will stand out more against white sheets too and people will be “wowed.”

          Also, more could be done with the bedrooms to make them friendlier to couples. See my article How to Increase Your Vacation Rental Bookings and Get Gushing Reviews by Using this Secret Design Formula (and it has to do with sex): The strategies in this article are very powerful for empowering a bedroom to attract bookings and re-bookings.

          I hope that helped. The good news is that you only have to tweak maybe 5% of your lovely guest house. The architecture and furniture are gorgeous! Good luck and thank you for commenting.

  • Wendy Jackson says:

    Would love to have a website review:

  • Hi Jay,
    Thank you for ‘following’ me.
    I’m a bit new to Disqus, so here goes:
    Would you like to comment on my website? I would welcome your observations. I have read your advice on Keywords, so I will obviously have to improve!
    All the best,

    • Jay William says:

      Hi Charmaine, welcome to the blog and to Disqus! I have an idea in mind for you, make sure you keep up to the blog, I am going to take you and Wendy (below) and do something really cool for you both, just because you responded here on the blog. Stay tuned!

  • Yes Jay, I will take the challenge.

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