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The Living Room

The living room is where your vacation renters are likely to spend much of their time, planning their days, unwinding after exploring local hotspots, or just enjoying some rest and relaxation. As a host paying attention small details in this part of your home can leave a lasting impression on your renters.

Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need to escape from.

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Appearance & Functionality

Try to maintain an even “look” in your family space, with matching/coordinated couches and other decor. While the appearance is important, the furniture should of course all be functional. You should consider replacing any furniture that is severely worn, torn and/or damaged


Your television should be an HD flat screen; it’s time to donate your old big box TV. The television should be the correct size for the room. Check out the Amazon TV buying guide to make sure you have the right type and size.

Consider offering at least one premium channel such as HBO in your cable or satellite package. While this certainly isn’t a necessity, it can be one of those things to differentiate yourself from the competition. Remember, most hotels, even motels, offer HBO.  Netflix is a good option as well and is called out positively in reviews we have analyzed.

The TV should be properly secured, whether wall-mounted or table-top. This is an important safety feature, especially for families with children.


Any remote controls should be easy to find and use. Instructions for how to use the remotes should be listed in the Welcome Book. Keep an eye on the remotes, which can easily be dropped, checking them every few rentals to make sure all of the buttons work. It is a good idea to make spare batteries available to your renters for your remote controls. Few things are as frustrating as sitting down ready to relax an unwind after a long day of travel, only to discover that the remote contains a dead battery. Closely monitoring your remotes to make sure they are operational and providing these back-up batteries will prevent your renter from raiding other remotes or appliances in the home or going out and buying replacements.

DVD Player

Provide your guests with a DVD player in your rental. Yes, many people will have laptops and tablets to view programs and movies; however, just as many will appreciate having access to a DVD player, particularly parents with children. Similar to the TV remote, make sure the DVD player remote is easy to find and usage instructions are provided in the Welcome Book.

Gaming Systems

Gaming systems can be a sensitive subject and we consider them not necessary. Some parents would be happy to find one in a rental, while others would prefer their family not to have access to such electronics. Like anything else in your rental, if you are going to provide it, make sure the system works correctly and provide usage instructions. It would be a good idea to periodically check all games to ensure they are in working order. One fun option might be the Atari Flashback – it is a retro gaming system which may have multi-generational appeal and also less of the intensity of some of the newer and more current games.

Board Games

Board games are a staple of the vacation rental so don’t forget them from your checklist. Families that may not play such games at home, often look forward to this family-time aspect of going on vacation. Every vacation rental should have at least a few classic games. If your rental is in an area susceptible to bad weather (versus a place like San Diego or Hawaii) you will probably want to provide even more selection for those days when your renters may be stuck inside.

Make sure the games have all the pieces and instructions and regularly inspect them. If they don’t have all the puzzle or game pieces replace the game or puzzle or throw it out. As with anything in a vacation rental if it is broken replace or remove don’t keep it.


If your rental has a fireplace make sure it is ready to use, even in the summer. Some renters don’t own a fireplace, and that is something they will look forward to in the rental. Make sure you provide usage instructions in the Welcome Book (e.g. how to close and open the flue so they don’t fill the home with smoke).

You should provide some wood and a fire starter/matches. If you rental is in a cold climate you will want to make sure you have enough wood for your rental’s average nightly stay. Firelogs will probably be a better bet in warmer areas or during the summer, they are convenient for your guests and also cause less of a mess compared to wood.Your fireplace should have a screen for safety to prevent logs from rolling out and curious little ones from reaching in.  Fireplace tools in good working condition, a fire extinguisher located close by, and a container to store the ashes should also be made available. Check your local regulations for any specific rules that might be in place regarding fireplaces.