This post was most recently updated on March 21st, 2019
Owning a vacation rental or a cabin is like any other business. There are real costs involved.
On one hand, you’d like to make the vacation home comfy and cozy, so your guests will enjoy their stay, and rate you highly on sites like VRBO or HomeAway. A highly rated property, is a popular property!
On the other hand, you’d like to furnish the home as cheaply as possible in order to keep costs down, and turn a profit.
There are four key aspects to consider when furnishing a home for hospitality use:
If you can nail down all four aspects in the bedding that you choose to furnish your vacation rental with, you will likely be pleased with the returns that your rental provides.
For the purposes of this article, let’s focus the four aspects above on the four main elements when it comes to making the bed:
- Duvet cover
While you might consider other items like blankets, pillow shams, throw pillows, bed skirts, etc., these four components are the cornerstones of any well made bed.
You can skip out on ancillary items – but you will need some combination of the four components above.
Let’s take a look at what qualities are important to have in bedding, and some examples of products that qualify.
Cost, Versatility, Durability, and Comfort
To make a hotel-like bed, for a solid hospitality experience, you’ll need a good balance of these four aspects:
In any business venture, cost is a key concern. A vacation rental is a business, and hopefully a profitable one. In order to keep it that way, you’ll obviously want to keep the costs down, while also maximizing quality.
While trying to keep everything affordable, it’s important to strike a balance between inexpensive, and quality. A lower cost isn’t beneficial if it’s a recurring cost.
When you’re purchasing bedding for yourself at home, you don’t need much in terms of versatility. You already know if you prefer a memory foam pillow, or a down-filled one. You probably have a preference between a light, medium, or heavyweight comforter, etc.
Since you have no idea what your guests prefer (or are able to use), bedding components that offer versatility should be the main option. While you can’t please everyone, most people will be satisfied with a “crowd-pleasing” option.
For example, a soft pillow will mainly be appreciated by stomach-sleepers, whereas a medium density pillow can probably be used by most people. A medium pillow might not be their preference, but they’ll definitely be able to use it.
Durability goes hand in hand with cost. Hospitality bedding is subject to much more abuse than your bedding at home. You might personally wash your sheets twice a month. Sheets in a vacation rental might get washed twice a week (or more).
Sheets and other bedding items that need to be replaced more often incur a higher cost, so durable bedding is best.
It’s important to choose materials that can withstand regular use and abuse, while still maintaining a reasonable level of utility and comfort.
If you want your rental to receive high ratings, you’ll have to offer your guests a high level of comfort. The bed is probably the best way to ensure a comfortable guest.
We often equate luxurious bedding with more expensive bedding – but that isn’t always true. Affordable bedding can be very luxurious and comfortable – if you know what to look for.
Now let’s look at the four main categories of bedding, and how to minimize cost, while maximizing versatility, durability, and comfort.
The four main elements of bedding
You can screw up the rest of the house, but if the bed is made right, your guests will still probably go home happy and well rested. For tips on how to make a hotel bed, check out this article.
The key to maximizing quality, while minimizing cost lies in choosing the right products from the right brands. If you’ve shopped for bedding on Amazon, you may have noticed a brand called Pinzon.
Pinzon is Amazon’s house brand. It’s their own line of bedding products which are high in quality, while still maintaining affordability. If you don’t know where to begin your search – start there.
Pinzon products are made by the same manufacturers that make other designer brand bedding. However; they are much more affordable. Being a house brand, they don’t include the added cost of a middleman. They are also bulk packed – which means they have minimal packaging.
Let’s take a look at each of the four bedding categories:
Sheets are probably the main cornerstone of any well-made bed. They are the best way to make a good first impression. Sheets that look plush and inviting are an instant success.
We’ll discuss the main points of what makes for a good sheet set here, but if you’d like a full-length explanation, check out this article on how to pick the best sheet set.
When it comes to a sheet set, softness and a luxurious feel are important, but so is durability. Sheets receive the most wear and abuse of any item in a vacation home. Every time your guests leave, what items always get washed? The sheets.
For busy vacation rentals or cabins, the sheets might get washed around 100 times per year. So durability is an important factor. If you’re changing out the sheets every few months, the costs can definitely pile up.
With durability and comfort in mind, that immediately rules out inexpensive materials like microfiber, as well as super high thread count sheets (400 and above).
Materials like microfiber, while soft, are incredibly thin, and can’t withstand constant use and abuse. Materials like sateen which feature a high thread count (above 400) are made by twisting several thin threads together to achieve an “inflated” thread count. They are prone to pilling, and are not very durable either.
Sateen sheets will often pill or break apart within the first 10 washes – which isn’t good when you’re prioritizing durability!
The best option, for a hospitality setting, is a good crisp cotton material, like Percale, in a solid thread count around 300 or so.
Percale sheets are crisp, don’t wrinkle, breath very well, are super durable, and get softer with each wash. When well maintained, a good percale sheet set should last 2-3 years (if not more) in a busy vacation rental.
Our preference would be these Pinzon 300 thread count percale sheets –
They are available in every size from Twin to Cal King, as well as in 5 different colors.
When it comes to pillows, versatility is a key factor. With sheets, everyone has a common preference – soft. Pillows are quite the opposite. Some people like soft, others firm or medium. Some people prefer down or feather filled, others are allergic.
As far as fill material goes, hypoallergenic polyester filled pillows are probably the best choice. Down or feather allergies are very common, and besides that, not everyone prefers down. Some people actually prefer the squishy comfort that poly fill provides. The safest bet are polyester filled pillows.
For support, type of pillow(s) you purchase will really depend on your budget, and the overall level of luxury your rental provides.
If you are furnishing on a budget, go with a medium support pillow. They are perfect for back sleepers, and will also satisfy most side sleepers as well.
If your budget is larger, and especially if your rental is more luxurious, opt for two pillows per sleeper. Offer your guests a choice between a medium pillow, and a firm pillow.
The Down Alternative Pillow in Medium Density from Pinzon is a favorite of ours:
These pillows are available in Standard, Queen, and King, and are extremely affordable – which is great if you’re furnishing a whole house. These are available in soft and firm densities as well.
They feature end to end piping – which is an elegant touch – and are super fluffy.
To get the most out of your pillows, and maximize their durability, don’t forget pillow protectors. Protectors can usually be purchased for around $5 each, and definitely extend the life of a pillow to their fullest potential. Not only do they keep out dust mites and bed bugs, but they also keep out sweat and body oils – which are notorious pillow killers.
As with pillows, many people are allergic to goose down, so down alternative is best when it comes to choosing a comforter.
Down comforters, when taken care of properly, will outlast a polyester filled one – but again, the key phrase being “taken care of properly”. When a down comforter is abused – and rental bedding definitely get’s its fair share of abuse – a down comforter will not last as long.
A comforter is probably the most expensive component that you will purchase for the bed, so durability is especially important. A down alternative comforter – regardless of abuse taken – will last around 6-8 years minimum. The same can not be said about the down filled variety.
A good down alternative comforter is the best bet, both in terms of price, and durability.
Another great feature of down alternative is in drying time. When you’re drying a down comforter at home, you have the lengthy amount of time that it takes to thoroughly dry a down comforter.
In a hospitality setting, you don’t always have a full day for maid service. One guest might check out in the morning, while another might arrive in the afternoon. Having the ability to wash everything in a timely manner is a major convenience.
With fill material decided, that leaves us with choosing between a light, medium, or heavyweight comforter. While most people are satisfied with medium weight – or an “all-season” comforter, consider your local climate.
For extremely hot year round climates – 90 degrees or higher – a light comforter might be preferable. For extremely cold year round climates – 40 degrees or colder – you might want a heavier comforter.
For everything in between, a versatile medium weight comforter will do just fine. A medium comforter is warm enough for cold sleepers, but light enough for warm sleepers.
We like the Pinzon Hypoallergenic Down Alternative Year Round Comforter:
These comforters are available in the following sizes and fill weights:
- Twin – 22 oz. fill
- Full/Queen – 30 oz. fill
- King – 35 oz. fill
If you compare these fill amounts, with the comforters from traditional brands, they compare quite favorably.
These all-season comforters are super affordable – which is great if you’re furnishing multiple bedrooms.
They feature duvet tabs, which keep the comforter in place in the duvet cover. They also feature end to end box construction which keeps the poly fill evenly distributed.
With the comforter chosen, that leaves us with one final choice to make….
A duvet cover isn’t just a stylish cover for a comforter, it’s also your first line of defense.
If you want to get the most out of your comforter, a duvet cover is a must. Some vacation rentals will provide a bare comforter, with just a flat sheet for protection. But a flat sheet doesn’t offer the same consistent protection that a duvet cover does.
If you use a flat sheet by itself, your comforter will need to be washed more often. Nothing kills a comforter more than repeated washing. Neither goose down, not polyester will survive the constant heat and abuse that washing and drying subject a comforter to.
Protect your investment, and make your bed stand out at the same time – use a duvet cover!
It doesn’t need to be anything stylish either. You don’t need the latest designs from Calvin Klein, Vera Wang etc.
A simple white duvet cover will do.
If you’ve stayed at a hotel recently, you’ve probably noticed that they don’t use overly fancy duvets either. More often than not, they will feature a white duvet, with border embroidery, or another such classic design.
The same rules apply for a duvet as with a sheet set. No need for a 600 or 800 thread count cover. Something in the 300-400 thread count range will do.
We like the Pinzon 400 Thread Count Egyptian Cotton Sateen Hotel Stitch Duvet Cover –
These duvet covers are available in Full/Queen and king sizes. We’ve shown the white version with silver-blue border stitching, but they’re with accents in black, espresso, navy, silver-grey, and taupe.
Other features of this duvet cover:
- 100% cotton
- 400 thread count
- Hidden button closure
- Machine washable
Some accessories to consider
With the four main bedding components out of the way, let’s quickly talk about some other bedding items that you might want to consider:
Blankets are convenient to have in either cold or warm climates. They provide lightweight cover in warmer areas, or a bit of extra warmth for colder nights when a medium weight comforter just isn’t enough.
We recommend something like a classic Vellux blanket – they’re definitely a crowd-pleaser! They’re soft, warm, and breath very well.
Throw pillows aren’t a must, but they’re definitely nice when they fit the overall style of your vacation rental!
For example, say you have a condo in Palm Springs. Pillows like these are a nice touch:
Or maybe you have a beachfront home in Myrtle Beach. Pillows like this can be cute:
Or even nondescript beach-themed pillows, like these:
A bedskirt can be a nice final touch for a bed – but for a hospitality setting, we recommend going without.
Beds with bedskirts tend to have their undersides neglected, especially when you’re doing a quick cleaning job. It’s hard to see what’s under the bed with a bedskirt covering it up – out of sight, out of mind!
The difference between good, and great, is often in the details. Don’t underestimate the impact that a small offering can have in your guests’ experience.
Perhaps you can leave a night time aromatherapy essential oil mist on the night stand:
Or maybe place a water carafe on the nightstand so your guests don’t have to get up for that “midnight drink of water”.
Vacationing families often have young children. A bedtime book or two would also be appreciated by the parents. You can’t pack everything you have into a suitcase – so something small, like a children’s book, can go a long way in making a person feel comfortable, like they’re at home!
These are just a few possibilities. There are many other accessories you can provide, but keep it simple. A busy bedroom won’t offer the proper level of relaxation that a vacation home should.
The four main bedding items shown above are versatile, affordable, durable, and stylish. While they are cost-friendly, they are also quality-made products. Since they are sold by Amazon directly, without retail packaging, they maximize comfort and quality, while minimizing cost.
For less than the cost of a down comforter alone, you can furnish an entire bed set using just the four products outlined above. Which is quite a bargain, especially if you’re furnishing an entire home.
Most people associate luxury bedding with high prices – but that isn’t necessarily the case. If you purchase the right materials, and avoid common bedding mistakes, you can certainly have a luxurious bed set, without breaking the bank.