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Decorating Your Vacation Home

If you are lucky enough to own a vacation home, you may find it difficult to figure out how to decorate it accordingly, especially if you plan on renting it for a few months out of the year. You need to find a way to balance your personal style and comfort so you enjoy being there with durable and affordable furnishings that can withstand the wear and tear of guests, especially if your home is a ski or beach destination.

One of the highlights of the Vistas House Plan is the open kitchen, featuring an island with seating and plenty of room for prepping and a mahogany solid hardwood floor that accents the white cabinetry and walls.

Look at your second home as a great opportunity to start over again and be creative. It's a chance to add design elements that may have been missed when you bought or built your first home. Since this home is all about having a fun and relaxing time with family and friends in an area you enjoy, you can toss out the rulebook and create a special place that you'll enjoy visiting year after year. Remember that the location — seashore, mountains or city get-away — should have a great impact on how you design your home.

Here are some great decorating ideas to get you started:

One of the most important decisions will be to choose a hardworking floor that can stand up to sandy feet, saltwater, wet snow boots and whatever else will be tracked inside. Materials like tile, stone and hardwood flooring are highly durable, resistant to spills and accidents and easy to clean and maintain. There are so many styles and design choices available that it is easy to create a warm and inviting design while being practical. Avoid carpet (throw rugs and door mats make a nice touch), laminates and soft woods that don't wear well against high traffic and water.

This adorable cottage house plan is perfect for any mountain or waterfront property. It's designed with efficiency of space and features a vaulted great room with fireplace that has access to a front and rear deck for entertaining and relaxing.

For efficiency, you'll want to carefully select your lighting fixtures, heating and cooling systems, windows and appliances for your vacation home. For lighting try to select ceiling fixtures that operate on a dimmer so you can efficiently control the lighting in each room and avoid the hazards of cords. If your home will be used primarily for winter getaways a fireplace combined with an electric heating system should keep your heating costs down. For a summer retreat, installing ceiling fans in each room combined with an ENERGY STAR® rated central air system will help keep a comfortable temperature in your home.

Whether you're looking out at the ocean, lake, mountains or city streets you want to make sure that you have plenty of large windows to enjoy the view. Fiberglass windows make a great choice to stand up to the wear and tear of a waterfront or mountain home. Choose windows with the highest efficiency you can afford.

Your appliances should be equivalent to those you have at your main home so you can cook and clean with the same efficiency you are used to. Since you'll probably be doing a lot of entertaining be sure to select a large refrigerator. Don't overlook a high efficiency washer and dryer so you don't have to bring your entire wardrobe, bedding and towels each time you go away.

A vacation home is a great opportunity for you to get whimsical and thematic in your décor. For example if your vacation home is near a beach, you'll want to indulge your passion for the water by selecting a light décor and accent it with comfy furniture and accents like bookcases shaped like canoes, lighthouses, seashells, etc. For a mountain retreat you might choose a ski theme. Get personal and incorporate pictures and paintings of your most memorable vacations.

Keep your design casual and cozy. You don't need to have formal living spaces, but rather look for weathered and distressed furniture that conveys warmth and relaxation. This is not the home for fine china and delicate furnishings, especially if you have lots of guests or rent your home.

Create an uncluttered and open feeling by not over accessorizing and selecting furnishings that can easily be moved to accommodate big dinners and allow for space for guests to mingle. Most vacation homes feature an outdoor living space, be sure to maximize this area if you can. Too many decorative objects increase the chances of things getting broken.