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How to make a holiday house a family home and a viable rental investment

Many people are purchasing properties abroad for investment. This may be to save money on family holidays or for retreats from the hustle and bustle of life.

Wouldn't you like to be sipping chilled rose on the promenade of the French Riviera right now? We would! But what do you do when you want to create a home abroad for yourself that reflects your personality, but is also fit for purpose as a viable rental investment?

In order to afford a home abroad many choose to rent the property when it isn't in use. At the core of Q Design House is our focus on incorporating our clients' personalities into the design. However, that personality may not always be something that holiday renters want to see! So how do you do both? 

For example, we recently leapt at the chance to design a coastal property in the South of France. The family of five wanted to spend around two months a year at the property but at the same time were keen to ensure they were getting their return through the rental market throughout the rest of the year. However, there was a twist! Our initial brief session went something like this:

Client: 'Have you ever seen the film Something's Gotta Give?'

Us: Blank faces 

Client: 'The movie with Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton, set in a beautiful beach side house in the Hamptons?'

Us: More blank faces

Client: 'We would like to recreate the style of that house'

Now... we hadn't seen the movie, but we did know the Hamptons... and this was something we could get behind! Think Ralph Lauren meets rustic beach house. Gorgeous rich navy, paired with crisp white linens and textures from unique pieces of driftwood.

interior design holiday home rental investment
The living room in Somethings Gotta Give. Photo Credit: Architectural Digest

As a rental property we also didn't want to risk incorporating unique (and pricey) pieces of furniture or accessories due to the risk of damage, and we had to keep durability to maintain value in mind at every step of the design.

To recreate the living room from the movie we sourced similar white sofas, but with washable slip covers. We styled these with a selection of navy and taupe cushions and throws. Chrome details and rustic wood finishes combined with nautical fabrics achieved that Hamptons come French Riviera vibe, topped off with vintage posters of the stunning town this property called home and the surrounding areas of the Côte d'Azur. 

interior design holiday rental home investment
The living area in our South of France project

interior design holiday home rental investment
The striped chairs were decorated with fun beach themed cushions

The theme continued through the master bedroom and guest rooms, designed to be simple and sophisticated with small touches such as nautical mirrors to keep the theme running throughout the house. To finish it all off we brought over the original name tiles from their house in England to put on the front door - a small but personal touch, known only to the owners, to make this property feel like home. 

bedroom design nautical interiors rental property
The master bedroom featured nautical mirrors above the bedside tables, a metal bed and driftwood table lamps

holiday home interiors rental investment
The single bedroom featured bunk beds so it could be used for younger guests

Top tips from our Creative Director to make a house a home and a rental investment: 

  • Keep the upholstery plain and add colour and pattern with decorative cushions and throws. Most cushions are washable and not too expensive so they can be replaced easily and updated when necessary.

  • The rug we sourced for the living room is actually an outdoor rug so it is ideal for indoor/outdoor usage and can withstand any spillages!

  • Bunk beds are a great way of adding extra beds without requiring additional space and they are very popular with younger guests!

We would love to hear your thoughts and about the challenges you have faced in this area! Please get in touch!

Josie & Michelle xx

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