Article by Mina Phillips

There’s nothing quite like the relieved exhale that comes with arriving at your holiday home for a summer break with family and friends. The long drive is behind you, along with work, daily routines and the busyness of the city. All that’s left to do is unpack, relax and enjoy.

If you have recently bought a holiday home, or are thinking of purchasing one soon, but want to personalise the space; these tips will help to get your project started.

Who will be using it?

First of all, think about who will be using the holiday home. Is it designed for a small, rustic family vacation or a luxurious getaway suitable for 10+ guests? This will influence the type of materials you opt for, how many beds will be needed, the size of the kitchen and living spaces and a multitude of other design decisions.

What’s your style?

Next up, consider any stylistic specifications you may want to include either in your renovation or in the interior decor. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at your surroundings. Is your holiday home within an alpine location, surrounded by trees and mountains or is it a coastal holiday home? Coastal renovations will need to consider the use of materials that can withstand the sea air - opt for durable materials such as concrete, brick or composite. Depending on your location, the materials may need to be fire-rated. 

Whatever your location, think about ways in which you can bring local surroundings into the home. Skylights and windows will make it easy to keep your space warm and bright, and provide ample stargazing opportunities. You might choose to hang-up photography of your natural surroundings, display locally made art or use bespoke furniture using locally sourced materials. Think about the overall feel you want to create - a cosy hideaway or a luxury retreat?

“Some people make the mistake of trying to replicate their home in their holiday home, and miss the opportunity to be a bit playful and to create a relaxing vibe,'' advises renovation specialist Jenny Hemmings. “There are many different themes that can be applied in a relaxed fashion, from quirky and colourful, through to a stylish Hamptons look.”

Where should I start when renovating the kitchen?

When you’re on holiday, the last thing you want to be doing is endlessly cleaning. Keep your kitchen low-maintenance by selecting durable, smooth materials which can be easily wiped clean. Laminate flooring, engineered stone top benchtops, glass splashbacks and ceramic cooktops are popular choices. Storage is another consideration - ensure there is enough room to store enough plates, cutlery and food for the duration of your stay.

“Kitchens ideally need a large fridge, and ample bench space for feeding a crowd”, advises Jenny. “With much of the cooking taking place on the BBQ over summer, think about whether you really need a large and complicated oven as well. Simple spaces allow for more relaxing time, and less cleaning and tidying.” 

Our kitchen planning checklist is a great resource to help you get started. 

What are some key considerations when renovating the living room?

If you’ve never heard of the wonderful Danish concept of hygge, you’ve been missing out. Hygge incorporates everything cosy, uplifting and indulgent into homes and lifestyles. Imagine returning, slightly shivering, from a day at the beach with family and friends to an evening of candlelit laughter with hot chocolates in hand - that’s hygge. Mood lighting, minimalist design and crackling fireplaces are all key to this concept, and can really add something special to the feel of your holiday home.

Space is also important to consider in a holiday home living room setting. The volume of people you will need to accommodate will influence how much seating you will need and how much storage will be needed for board games, display items and trinkets. Built-in floor-to-ceiling shelving will provide plenty of storage and display space. 

“Think about how the space will be used and what flexibility can be built in, such as furniture that can double as a coffee table as well as extra seating as needed”, adds Jenny. “Cushions and beanbags that can be used inside or outside are firm holiday home favourites.”

Finally, don’t underestimate the value of wide windows and indoor/outdoor flow. Letting more light in will make your living area feel larger, and utilising outdoor views can be a worthy investment. This Airbnb renovation in Queenstown, for example, is significantly enhanced by floor-to-ceiling windows. 

What should I consider before renovating my holiday home’s bathroom?

Again, low-maintenance materials are probably going to be at the top of your wish-list when designing a holiday home-friendly bathroom. Wetroom-style bathrooms provide a great, low-maintenance solution - as the entire space is designed to be water-resistant and durable. Depending on how much foot traffic, sand or dirt is going to be traipsed through on a daily basis, and how many people will be staying, you might want to consider a bathroom addition.

Once you have decided upon the more practical elements of your bathroom, you can move on to the fun stuff. You might want to include a spa bath, resort-style elements, or outdoor views.

For further planning tips, check out our bathroom planning checklist.   

What are some ideas for holiday home bedrooms?

Bunk beds are common in family holiday homes. They allow you to make the most out of an individual bedroom and kids tend to love the camp-style setting of having all of their friends in one place. Think about what bedroom theme will match your home and surroundings - cedarwood, cabin-style bedrooms or more of a light, bright Hamptons-style? Don’t forget to include some storage space for children’s toys, clothes and additional blankets.

The master bedroom should, ideally, provide the ultimate escape. Opt for neutral or pastel colours that make you feel at ease. Consider including your own ensuite bathroom for added privacy. Your own entryway through sliding or french doors is sure to enhance your experience. You might even want to include your own private terrace with an outdoor bath or hot tub. The bedroom design really comes down to creating a rejuvenating space that feels like your own personalised haven. 

    

How can I enhance the outdoor area of my holiday home?

No holiday home is complete without an outdoor setting created for all-day socialising. A sun-soaked deck will probably be first on your list of priorities, followed by outdoor furniture and coverage. If young children and pets will be frequently staying, a fence might be needed. Additionally, think about storage. Will you need a large garage or boat-shed to house kayaks, a boat or equipment? 

From there, you might want to consider additional features such as an outdoor fireplace or pizza oven, a barbeque or outdoor kitchen, a swimming pool and spa, an outdoor lounge and dining area...dream big and then reevaluate once you have a better idea of the costs involved and your budget. 

“Great indoor/outdoor flow is a must for a holiday home and creating a great outdoor space is often high on the list for people looking to renovate their holiday home”, says Jenny. “The many different options for decks, doors , screens and patios that are available mean that there is something to suit every budget, in creating more usable outdoor spaces.  The relaxed theme outside should coordinate with the interior to provide a seamless transition. Generally there needs to be areas of sun and shade, as well as protection from the wind, whilst still being outside.”

Get started!

“Taking on a renovation project is daunting enough, but when it is your holiday home, you add in the complication of not being able to be on-site regularly”, explains Jenny. “This can make bach renovation a very slow, inefficient and drawn-out process.” 

“The best place to start is to begin to gather pictures from magazines of what you think you would like to do, then talk to a renovation expert, who will be able to utilise their resources to further develop the design with you. A locally based renovation specialist will manage the project for you, which will help to keep the project on track, and can tap into the best local products and services. With your own online portal (provided by Refresh Renovations) to the project, you can check progress and be involved in the decision making without numerous costly trips to the site.”

Our guide to planning your renovation will get you started. From there, get in touch with your local renovation specialist to book in a free consultation.

Will your holiday home be a source of additional income?

If you’re hoping to rent your holiday home out to guests, be sure to check out our article on Airbnb renovations.

All Refresh Renovations franchises are independently owned and operated.

Get in touch

Get in touch if you are interested
in a quote or consultation

Renovate Handbook Download