There’s nothing like a break in the British countryside to help recharge the batteries, and where better to stay than an idyllic country cottage? Chocolate box images of thatched cottages with roses climbing around the door are what many of us think of as being perfectly British. Those wanting to hire out a holiday cottage should think carefully about the design, décor and facilities they offer in order to give them an edge in this crowded area of the rental market.
Ancient meets modern tastes
Cottages are often low-ceilinged buildings with small rooms and tight nooks and crannies. Whilst this look is popular and quaint, they are not always the most practical of spaces for modern living. Accentuate the feeling of space with furniture that matches the scale of the rooms, good lighting, a pale colour palette and streamlined window treatments, such as wooden shutters that allow plenty of natural light.
The main living area where guests congregate is the most important room, so accentuate its best features. Nothing beats a real fire or wood stove in a cosy cottage, and good heating is essential if you want to let the property all year. Wooden beams look charming but can have the effect of lowering ceilings, so counter this by using reflective paint shades and light-coloured flooring. Personal touches such as books, board games and a welcome pack will help guests enjoy their stay more.
Make life simpler for guests and cleaners during changeovers by having easy-clean surfaces where possible. Floors that can be swept or wiped clean are a smart move. If space allows, a boot room or utility area for removing muddy wellies and drying wet coats or beachwear is a good idea.
Holidaymakers don’t want to spend their time doing chores, so a well-equipped cottage will be popular. A dishwasher, washing machine, large fridge and modern oven will be appreciated. Food preparation is a social activity these days, which makes the most popular kitchens large and open plan. If space is an issue, an architecturally sympathetic conservatory extension opens up a cottage to more space, light and design options.
Fill bedrooms with country cottage charm by furnishing with antique bedsteads, patchwork quilts and flower-filled jugs. Choose easy-clean flooring dotted with cosy rugs for extra charm. Linen, towels and supplementary blankets are always appreciated (often expected) by guests, and tailoring the linen to the décor looks smart and well thought out. All bedrooms should have well-lit mirrors, plenty of storage and reading lamps.
Provide enough bathrooms to match the occupancy of the cottage. A classic claw-footed bathtub makes a delightful statement in the bathroom; team with a separate power shower and twin wash basins in complementary designs for a luxury spa experience.
A cottage garden crammed with flowers and butterflies is a joy to behold, and properties offering such an outdoor space are highly prized. That said, a small patio, terrace or balcony works well, as long as there is some outdoor area where guests can relax in the fresh air.
Make the most of the charming, welcoming atmosphere of a country cottage for hire and there will be guests lining up to stay. Get it right and repeat business and recommendations will keep it booked up for weeks at a time.