Second Best Can Be First Class – Tips For Second Bedrooms

Short StrawWe see so many vacation homes during the course of a year and one thing that has struck me is that owners seem to pay far more attention to the master bedroom than the others.  While these rooms are larger and often have ensuite bathrooms, there really is no reason to downgrade the second and third bedrooms with lower quality bedroom furniture and bed linens.

When families or friends travel together, the decision on who gets the best bedroom is a tricky one, particularly if the cost has been split equally.  How do they decide who is going to enjoy the king size bed with the pillow top mattress and plush bedding, and who gets the double with the older mattress and aged comforter?  This decision can often result in resentment, disappointment and subsequent negative reviews.

Think about it like this

Two families decide to vacation together, and usually the person who gets the task of doing the bookings, collecting the funds, dealing with the owner etc, is the one who gets the master bedroom, but not always.  They may give it up to a couple with a small child who is sharing the room, or to grandparents who are paying for the vacation.  In the end, the person who did the work, and who had the most contact with the owner gets the second bedroom. If it’s a disappointment because it hasn’t got the lovely view, a balcony or terrace, a bathroom, and the bed is uncomfortable, you are going to hear about it in one way or another.

It really doesn’t matter who draws the short straw – the fact there is a short straw points to inequality and we should do our best to mitigate that.

Bed Size

We're planning to buy a new fifth wheel RV this year and have noticed that all the mid and upper range models have a king size bed as standard – queen is an option, and doubles are nowhere to be seen.  If RV manufacturers have seen the demand for larger beds, then surely we should be doing the same.  Space is compromised of course and most models don't have side tables as the bed is tightly fitted into a slide out space, but it does seem that demand outweighs the drawbacks of the extra size.

For vacation rental bedrooms, as long as you are able to get a cabinet to either side of the bed, it is worth purchasing a queen size bed of equal quality of the bed you have in the master.

Bed Linens

When we bought and furnished Kingfisher Cottage we put identical beds in each room and although the bed linens are different to match the décor of each, they are of equal quality and both look appealing and attractive. Giving a little more attention to the secondary room can pay dividends in making your guests happy.

The Little Extras

Master bedrooms are often loaded with those extras that make a room feel luxurious and comfortable, whether it’s the throw pillows on the bed, the flat screen TV on the wall or the iPod enabled clock radio. They generally have larger closets and better quality dressers with a mirror, often not seen in the secondary bedrooms.  Think about what you can do to make these seem as well furnished as the master.


This started out being about the bedrooms but the inequality often extends to the bathrooms as well.  The last place we rented had a huge master ensuite bathroom, probably twice the size of the smaller bathroom that was beside the second bedroom.  Again, it’s unlikely you can do anything about the size, but at least make the secondary unit as attractive as the master with good lighting, an attractive cabinet and mirror.

It’s worth the time to take a candid look at all your bedrooms and consider if any of your guests could feel they have really dipped out if they don’t get the master.  Plan on changes that would reduce that feeling, and they will love you for it.