When planning the flooring and finishes for a short-term rental, you have some decisions that you approach differently from an everyday home or even a long-term rental.

Short-term rentals uniquely mean that you see a lot of turnover if things go well from an income perspective. This turnover might include guests with and without children, larger and smaller groups, and you might also allow dogs, which will factor heavily in your design decisions.

Your flooring isn’t necessarily an amenity that will make or break the experience from the perspective of your renters, but it’s important for a few reasons.

The first is your costs. To maximize the profitability of your short-term rental, you need to ensure that you’re choosing enduring and long-lasting materials. You don’t want to chip away at your revenue by replacing flooring every few years if you can help it.

If you choose floors that can’t withstand a lot of wear and tear, they will look run down quickly. When people spend money on a vacation, they don’t want to feel like it’s not in excellent shape or that things don’t look well maintained. 

You want relatively low-maintenance flooring, which your cleaning crew will appreciate.

You also want to consider how your flooring is going to photograph. When renters choose a property, the number one thing they have to use as a decision-maker is the photographs. While they might not directly realize that the flooring is playing a role in their decision, the reality is that it’s part of the entire package and aesthetic of the property.

What to Consider

In a broad sense, some of the considerations to weigh as you choose flooring for a short-term rental like an Airbnb or VRBO property include:

  • Your overall design aesthetic. Neutrals are often best in a short-term rental. If it’s your own home, you may want to experiment with colors or include something more unique, whereas, in a short-term rental, your goal is to appeal to the broadest set of potential renters. If you change other décor later on, you’ll have a neutral foundation to build around in terms of your flooring. 
  • Who are your ideal guests? If the home is a luxury property, you may splurge for a high-end floor that discerning guests paying a premium would like to see. On the other hand, if you have a rental well-suited to families with children or large groups that might have celebrations while they’re there, you want the most durable product you can find.
  • Your rental value is important. We mentioned splurging above, and also, from a financial perspective, you don’t want to overbuy based on your projected nightly rental rates. It doesn’t make much sense to invest too heavily in luxury flooring for a lower-cost rental, whereas a luxury property might mean splurging makes sense. 
  • What kind of first impression do you want to make? We tend to underestimate how much impact flooring makes when we walk into a space, for better or worse. You want the wow factor as soon as renters come in, so what type of flooring is most likely to create that?

What Are Your Options?

Some of the types of flooring that could work in an Airbnb, VRBO, or similar short-term rental include:

  • Luxury vinyl tile: LVT is popular because it’s easy to install, with some styles simply clicking into place. It’s durable and can work in a coastal or waterside environment. It can be more expensive than other options, but it’s resistant to moisture and rarely scuffs. Similarly, vinyl plank gives you the look of natural wood at a lower price point. 
  • Tile: Hard tile is easy to clean and water resistant, so depending on your location and if you have a pool, these can be big decision-making factors. You have a lot of versatility in style, and it can capture sand and other dirt and debris, keeping it away from other areas. 
  • Laminate: You can replicate the look of wood flooring with laminate, and it’s often used in residential and commercial spaces because of its durability, affordability, and easy maintenance. It’s also fire-resistant.
  • Linoleum: This can work well for a rental with a lower nightly price point. It’s durable and waterproof, and it’s considered eco-friendly.
  • Engineered hardwood: If you want the beauty and timelessness of hardwood without some of the downsides of the real thing, look at engineered hardwood. If you go with actual hardwood, it’s stunning, but you have to consider how moisture and humidity will affect it, and spills can penetrate real wood. If you have a rental by the water, real wood’s probably not going to work, but engineered hardwood gives you the look without the downsides. It’s more expensive than other flooring options, which would be its primary drawback.
  • Carpet: Don’t underestimate the use of carpet in certain rental areas, like the bedrooms. Carpet has come a long way in being stain-resistant and long-lasting, and some renters might prefer that they have something softer underfoot in the sleeping areas or areas geared toward children. 

Final Thoughts

When investing in flooring for a short-term rental, the considerations are slightly different from what you might think about in your own home. You have to consider the guests you’re ideally targeting and how they’re most likely to use the space. Yes, durability is part of this, but there’s more to the equation, too, including your nightly rates, comfort, and aesthetics in photos and person.  

If you’d like to explore available flooring options, our team at Dalton Flooring Center is here to help.

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