Four easy ways to love your holiday home

With a little effort it can be more than just an extra space for the stuff you don’t really want

 

Stuffication is the title of the book by trend forecaster James Wallman, which talks about how we have more stuff than we could ever need and how all this stuff isn’t making us happier, instead it’s filling up our homes and causing us stress. His book encourages us to focus less on possessions and more on experiences.

That’s exactly what a holiday is, an experience you should remember fondly for years to come. So often holiday homes become filled with mismatched furniture and other bits and pieces that really should have been thrown away. Your holiday home should contain only the bare essentials. Don’t let it be a repository for all the things you can’t bear to get rid of and don’t have space for in your main house.

Paint it

This is probably the most cost-effective way to give your holiday home a new lease of life. Don’t just go for a safe shade to clean the place up. Think about the colours as you would if it was your main home. This is where you will go to relax and unwind so make the space feel calm, cosy and inviting. Don’t stop at the walls. Any woodwork, old timber furniture, wardrobe and even timber kitchen cupboards will look like new after a fresh coat of paint. With a bit of dedication, you can transform your house from dated to chic with minimal investment.

Heating

We live in a country where the weather is totally unpredictable and there’s nothing worse than a cold damp house. Invest if you can in proper heating. I met someone recently with a holiday home in Wexford who became fed up arriving at a cold house after a long drive and had storage heaters installed which can be operated from an app on her phone. Now when she and her family arrive for the weekend they walk into a warm, inviting house. She also invested in a stove. “We can set the fire and go out for a walk on the beach and when we come home the house is lovely and cosy.”

Bathroom

If you only invest in revamping one room make it the bathroom. This is the fastest way to bring some luxury into your holiday home. You don’t have to spend a fortune, you could keep your existing sanitaryware and simply replace tiles. The range of tiles available has expanded rapidly in the last couple of years and there is a huge variety of stylish and affordable styles to choose from. Make sure the room has some form of heating. There’s nothing worse than a chilly bathroom and invest in some good quality towels for added luxury.

Beds

Finally more than anything you’re going to want a good night’s sleep. Invest in a great mattress. As a general rule, the more expensive the mattress; the higher the spring count, meaning it will perform better, conforming to your body shape, so the less interrupted and more comfortable your sleep should be.

There are four main types of mattress on the market: open spring mattresses, which are the most common and affordable but not the best choice for good support; pocket-spring mattresses, which are made up of springs individually encased inside fabric pockets and are more supportive; memory foam mattresses, which do not have any springs but are made up of a material that is sensitive to heat and moulds to the contours of the body to eliminate pressure points and give a supportive night’s sleep; and finally there are latex mattresses, which are popular with allergy sufferers and offer a good distribution of pressure, and the thicker the mattress, the better the support.

The best way to discover which bed is right for you is to test out the different options before you buy. Top off with some lovely bed linen and you’ll feel like you’re in a luxury hotel.

Denise O’Connor is an architect and design consultant @optimisedesign