VRS156 – Vacation Rental Design Made Easy with Sarah Honaker

Design and décor is an overlooked topic in most vacation rental expert websites and podcasts, including this one! When I looked back over the last 150+ episodes, there’s only been one that really focuses on design and that was back in September 2014, with Mercedes Brennan.

With so much emphasis on staging and great photography to sell in an increasingly competitive marketplace, getting the furnishing and décor right from the start has become so important. With that in mind, I’ve talked to two design experts to find out what we need to do to attract first-time and repeat guests.

My guest in this episode is the founder of Design Made Easy, Sarah Honaker. I heard of DME a while ago and fully intended to visit the booth at VRMA in Chandler in October. Unfortunately (or fortunately for Sarah), the booth was busy each time I went past so I didn’t have a chance to meet her face-to-face. So, it was a pleasure to pin her down for an interview and discuss the issues facing owners who, like me, have less design flair than we would like.

I had a lot of questions to ask about the mistakes owners make when they purchase a property and start on this journey. After talking with Sarah I realised I’d done many of these, and in retrospect, when I look around my own vacation rental, I know it’s time for a refurb, and this time I will get some help!

This episode, and the following one with my guest Sally Lauren Nichols of SLN Stage and Design should give you enough tips and suggestions to get started on a DIY revamp, use online tools, or engage the right design professional to create a fabulous result.

In this interview Sarah tells us about:

  • Her own vacation rental in Water Color, Florida and how she created the successful design makeover
  • How she used her own app to refurbish and furnish the property
  • The mistakes new owners often make when they prepare a place for rental
  • Her design tips for color selection and furniture purchase
  • The solutions available for owners who don’t want to do this themselves
  • Why your local independent retailer could be your best friend
  • How to get trade discounts from Wayfair, Overstock and Amazon Prime
  • The DME app and how it works


Design Made Easy

Wayfair.com & Wayfair.ca for Canadians

Amazon Prime


Farrow and Ball (colors mentioned are Borrowed Light, Parma Grey, Light Blue, Dorset Cream, Pavilion Grey)

One Chic Retreat

I really enjoyed this podcast (of course it’s my favorite subject!), Heather. It’s so good to see more interior designers helping vacation rental owners and managers. There is such a need for it and the fact that Sarah is making it easier for people means more properties will look great. Yippee! As always, keep up the great podcasting, Heather!

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