Vacation Home Design: Three Tips for Creating the Ultimate Getaway

If you’re like many urbanites, you’ve always dreamed of having another place to escape to, such as a mountain cabin, lake house, or beach house.

However, there are things people should keep in mind before they design their first vacation house. Whether you already own a vacation property or plan to buy one, these designer tips should help you get started.

1. Choose the appropriate style for your location

First, I think a second home should reflect the area it is in. Farmhouses and mountain homes tend to be rustic. For example, a mountain home could have photographs of local scenery or wildlife on the walls. If your second home is by the shore or a lake, you’ll want cool colors like blues, whites, and aquas, and maybe nautical accessories.

2. Create an oasis

While some accessories are necessary to give the home personality and charm, remember that clutter also creates more stress (and all of those pieces will need to be dusted, too). I wouldn’t include anything too delicate or precious in a vacation home, especially if you plan on letting friends or family use it.

3. Plan ahead for your guests

If you plan to entertain, make sure living and dining areas will have enough seating space. A vacation home table should also have plenty of room to play games or work on puzzles. Consider adding bar seating to your kitchen island so that guests can visit and chat with you while you cook. If you’re loaning out the home to people you don’t know very well, have an area where you lock up and store your personal belongings.

Of course, if you don’t have the time or energy to design a second home, that’s where an interior designer could come in. I enjoy finding ways to bring in local color and regional accessories.

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Margaret Chambers

Margaret Chambers, a registered interior designer (RID) and member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), leads Chambers Interiors and Associates. Her colleague Caitlin Crowley helped edit this column. Find more design advice at

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