September 21, 2009

Amazing Walmart Decor for Under $100!

Have you been longing for some gorgeous decor pieces from stores like Z Gallerie, West Elm, Potterybarn, Williams-Sonoma home or Restoration Hardware? I know, I know, we love to daydream while perusing their catalogs and online pages but much of their good can really put a dent in your wallet!

Well I have good news! I've done the shopping for you and have selected 30 amazing pieces all under $100 and they are all available at the ever-accessible Walmart!

Click this link to my other blog for all the goodies, complete with pricing and links to the actual items!

The photo at the top of the post will give you an idea of what kind of finds I came across. Can you believe that ottoman/bench was less than $80?!

Happy Browsing!

August 1, 2009

Vacation Rental Must-Haves!

When setting up a home for vacationers, there are a few things that you should consider investing a bit of money in to make your home cozy and a true retreat. I'm not talking about the standard hair dryer or coffee maker here but rather the sometimes forgotten extras.

1. Screened in Pools-In most rental communities pools are offered so it's almost an anomoly not to have one. Some have community pools but all that I've personally decorated have had their own patio area and a screened in pool complete with deck chairs and also an outdoor dining table for casuals meals by the pool. With such intense amounts of mosquitoes in humid Florida, a screened in pool is best. It also keeps the children contained instead of getting lost or running off. All parents searching for a rental will have this on their mind for sure. If your property does not have pool, I highly recommend putting one in. No pool area is complete without ample loungers and drink tables so be sure to add those. You'll also need to purchase some pool toys-floating beach balls, pool noodles, floatingbasket ball nets and other water toys are good bets.

2. Wireless Access-These days wireless access has become the norm in most hotels and your property should be no different. With kids running around and often two families sharing the same rental villa, it's great to be able to roam the house and check email on their laptop or do a little business without feeling confined to one particular area like a living area which is likely to be busy. This will really make your listing a lot more marketable! In most of the homes I've decorated, I've found a little nook by a window or small space in the Master Suite to place a small writing desk and chair which is a great place to store some pens, a pad of paper and is a great spot for using a laptop or writing a postcard in privacy.

3. Computer Desk-If you choose not to opt for wireless or you want to create some versatility adding a computer station is a great idea. Not every family will want to lug a laptop on top of all the other luggage they have, so this is a great option. You need only basic programs and internet access, nothing fancy and you can use an older model or refurbished computer instead of buying new. Be sure that the internet connection is highspeed otherwise this station would be deemed useless.

4. Game Room/Games- While sunny FL has a lot to offer and a screened in pool is a great way to spend the day, it wil lbe games especially in the evening that will entertain kids and adults alike. Consider connecting an XBox or Playstation to a tv so that kids will feel at home and give the adults some time on their own uninterrupted. Better yet, implement a game room. Every vacation property that I've decorated has had a designated game room which has almost always been the garage. The driveway alone can be used for the cars and the garage makes for a nice indepent area where kids can be kids. It is also a wonderful area to house a pool table or hang a dart board on the wall. You could add a foosball table or just have a separate area with a loveseat and some chairs with a coffee table where board games or cards can be spread out. This is a selling feature so don't forget to mention it in your online listings!

5. BBQ- If you thought the oven, stovetop and microwave were enough, think again! This is Florida and many northerners will enjoy hanging out pool side whipping up some hotdogs or burgers. After all, it is a much more economical option for a large family in tight economic times compared to a restaurant. If you purchase one at the end of the summer you can get a great deal. Feel free to opt for second hand from a yard sale if it looks clean and is in working condition. It doesn't need to break the budget but it is a necessity for any rental villa.

6. Flat Screen TV's-If you are just beginning to shop for the decoration of a rental villa now is the time to look at flat screens. You don't have to have them in every room if you're on a really tight budget but the living room area is a must for sure and do splurge on a larger 50" or larger if you have the wall space. The other rooms will suffice with regular televisions but in most rentals televisions are common in every room, especially the kids rooms. They are a great place for the build in DVD-player types. Great for cranky kids. Again, this is becoming much more common now in most hotels so it is becoming expected.

7. Baby Items-If you don't have children yourself or are out of that phase, you may forget some important essentials for baby-a crib, a playpen and a highchair. There are collapsable playpens with wheels that can easily be moved from room to room, highchairs that are not full size but rather more like a seat that attaches to a regular kitchen chair and inexpensive crib options at stores like ikea. Be sure to includes these so your home will be baby-friendly. I can assure you a parent will travel with a stroller but none of the above listed. Again, just one more way to increase your bookings and cater to your customer.

8. Go the Extra Mile- There are a lot of little things that make life easier and more enjoyable when on vacation. Think like a guest when decorating. Having some candles and a lighter on hand will create a relaxing spa-like area near a jacuzzi tub. Try to have little apothecary jars with cotton balls and q-tips (often unpacked items) or a few interesting books atop a living room table or on a bookshelf. Magazines will work well too so have a couple male and female oriented mags. Sometimes a two-week vacation may be pricey so let guests feel like eating in is a definite option with the proper tools. Tongs for the bbq, a cookie sheet, a muffin tin, good quality pots and pans, a cheese grater, veggie peeler, coffee filters. You don't want guests to have to contstantly run back and forth to the nearest store for items. Be sure to keep the trash bags, tissues, toilet paper and paper towels well stocked. Included some bodywash in each bathroom and be sure that pump soaps are kept full by you or your hired cleaning staff. Relaxing decor also goes along way as well.

If you would like a consultation please call us. We are happy to meet with you even after you've decorated to ensure you've got everything that a guest would want and to enable you to have the most profitable Disney rental villa. visit us at:

June 17, 2009

Decorating Faux Pas for Rental Homes

For many people who own a vacation home that they rent out, they attempt to decorate it themselves and make it feel as tropical as possible. Sometimes this backfires and the home looks like a circus, not a cozy retreat.

This is How NOT to Decorate a Disney Rental Vacation Property:

1. Don't Paint Your Own Home-Florida is hot most of the year and let's face it-painting is no fun! This may cause you to rush through the painting just to get it over with. Call up at least five companies and get some price quotes. Decide who will provide the best overall value for your money then try to opt for low VOC paints which have less odor and environmental issues. This way, your home is ready to receive guests in no time!

2. Don't Go Too Bold- In my professional opinon, when it comes to selecting paint colors for your home, choose neutral ones vs. bright ones, especially in the main living areas. The kids bedrooms are a great place for some expression of color but lime green and bright orange will get old quick. If you decide to sell this investment home later or you'll be repainting it for sure! I assure you this will get you LESS not more guests. Use splashes of color in the artwork, bedding, rugs, and other accessories, just not on the walls!

3. Avoid Grandma Florals- In Florida there tends to be a whole lots of ugly grandma-like floral patterns. Avoid this temptation. This is not modern, current or exciting, if people wanted that type of decor they'd go to grandma's house or stay in their own home. Make your rental cozy like it should be but add some elegance and sophistications so the renters will feel like they truly had a retreat and got their money's worth! Other patterns to avoid are plaids and paisley. Stay away from anyting that is quilted or crocheted as well. After all this is a beach destination, not a cabin in the woods!

4. Antiques- A rental is not the place to dump all your old, ugly furniture that you no longer have a place for or want. This will make the renter feel like they're amongst a sea of bad thrift store finds. Use newer furniture that has no tears, stains, rips or needs to be covered up and it MUST be CLEAN! While you can find some great furniture like beautiful dining table and chair sets that simply require a new lease on life with some paint, the upholstered pieces that have seen better days or tv's with rabbit ears are off limits. However, do incorporate interesting finds from flea markets, or antique stores that are nautical or of a beachy or travelling nature.

5. Personalization- While the rental home that allows you to generate income may also be your personal vacation home, it's important not to make it overly personal. When you stay at a hotel, it's all about you, and that is how it should be. Avoid framed family photos, sports team memorabilia or decor items of a religious nature. These hold true for staging your home to sell and they are true when marketing your home as a destination for potential vacationers to feel comfortable in too. Other things to consider are personalized mugs, director's chairs with the family members name or your home country's flag posted outside the home.

While some of these tips may be surprising to you, if you're looking to get the highest amount of vacationers to your home, they are highly recommended. For a personal consultation contact us at (407) 864-7535 or visit us at
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