From Cots to California Kings: Selecting Beds for Your Vacation Home

    which beds for vacation rentals Although travelers like to rent vacation homes because of the additional amenities that hotels don't supply, the standard requirements still remain the same: a place to shower and a good bed to sleep on. In fact, the bed setup is often the first thing travelers look for when searching for a vacation home to rent.

    That's just one reason why it makes sense to stop thinking of your beds as necessities...and start thinking of them as amenities.

    Whether you improve the size or quality of the beds in your home, upgrades could give you a leg up on the competition — especially when a traveler is looking at similar sized properties in your area. Once you make your selection, be sure to advertise your upgraded beds in your listing. An added bonus: Several nights of restful sleep can be a major factor in securing a repeat guest.

    Selecting Beds

    When selecting the number of beds for your vacation home, you have to consider the needs of your family, the types of renters you will attract, and the total number of guests at which you'd like to set your maximum occupancy. For example, a one-bedroom condominium could easily accommodate two  people, but if you have a sofa sleeper, that number could go up to four. A three-bedroom house with two people occupying each room can fit a maximum of six people, but if you add bunk beds, you can increase that maximum to seven or eight. While you don't want to turn your second home into a boarding house, it makes economic sense to maximize your space to appeal to a larger pool of potential guests.

    Adding beds can even change your target renters. By adding a comfy sofa bed, thick futon or a trundle bed to your guest rooms or living areas, you can transform your one-bedroom, which was suitable for a couple, into a small-family property. If you add another bed to your three-bedroom house, you can now accommodate two families sharing a rental (2 couples with 2 kids each). While the alternative sleeping accommodations may not be as comfortable for adults, most kids can easily sleep on the sofa beds, futons, trundle beds, or cots.

    Before purchasing a mattress, consider the firmness, durability, padding and overall support. In general, it is probably more important to focus on the quality of the queen and king-sized beds in your home. The twin beds may not be as important because kids can typically sleep on just about anything!

    The Five Standard Bed Sizes

    The types of beds you provide should be determined by how much space you have and who you would like to accommodate. When selecting the type and size of your beds, consider the effect on the comfort, space and overall appearance of each room.

    king beds

    King: Sleeps two adults or two to three children

    Approx. 76 x 80 inches (198 x 203 cm)

    Call any hotel and ask which of their rooms fill up first. Without question, it will be the rooms with the king-sized beds. If you can fit at least one king-sized bed in your vacation rental property, you could satisfy a top priority for many travelers. (If you can fit more than one, even better!) California kings are even longer than typical king-sized beds, but the linens can be more expensive.

    If people are accustomed to sleeping on a king-sized bed at home, they'll probably expect the same spaciousness while on vacation. Those not used to sleeping on a king will feel like they're treating themselves to something special. Either way, a king bed could be a renter's deciding  factor in choosing your vacation home over another. 

    queen beds Queen: Sleeps two adults or two children

    Approx. 60 x 80 inches (153 x 203 cm)

    Queen beds are just the right size for most adults and generally much more comfortable than a full. Queen beds are recommended if you cannot put a king-sized bed in a master bedroom. An added bonus: If you choose to purchase queen-sized beds for both the master and the guest rooms, you can swap out sheets for each room and only purchase one size for backups. 

    full beds Full: Sleeps one to two adults or two children

    Approx. 54 x 75 inches (137 x 190 cm)

    Full size or double beds are an odd size for most renters. For the most part, they are too small for a couple to sleep comfortably and may take up too much space for just one person. If you're considering a full, you might as well upgrade to a queen — your renters will appreciate it. 

    twin beds Twin: Sleeps one adult or one child

    Approx. 39 x 75 inches (99 x 190 cm)

    Twin beds are small and take up less space than their larger counterparts, so they're perfect for children. Extra-long twins are 5" longer than standard twins, but still less comfortable for adults used to sleeping in a bigger bed. If you can fit two twins in your guest room, consider purchasing a strap to allow renters to convert the two twin beds into a king. You could also get a trundle bed for underneath to make the most of your space. 

    bunk beds Bunk Bed: Sleeps two adults or two children

    Approx. 39 x 75 inches, each (99 x 190 cm, each)

    Bunk beds are another great way to accommodate more people in a small room and a good alternative for smaller rooms that can't fit a pulled-out trundle. For larger rooms, though, you could even put a trundle under the bottom bunk to maximize the space. For safety, be sure to get bunk beds with safety bars. 

    Additional Bed Options

    If you're looking to increase your sleep count in a limited space, consider the following flexible solutions.

    trundle beds Trundle/Daybed: Sleeps two adults or two children

    Typically accommodates a full or twin mattress size

    Trundles are great for kids, and some daybeds can even double as a couch. Plus, with a pop-up trundle, a twin daybed can be converted into a king. Just make sure that your room is big enough to fit both beds when the trundle is pulled out. 

    murphy beds Murphy Bed: Sleeps one to two adults or one to two children

    Varies based on mattress size

    Also known as wall beds, these beds are primed for a comeback. They're great space-savers, come in all sizes, and are more comfortable than traditional pull-out couches with the right mattress.

    Nancy Parinello, the manager of several one-bedroom condos in the San Diego area (including HomeAway #218291), estimates her $3000 investment in Murphy beds now brings in at least $10,000 a year in extra rental revenue. Originally, three of her six identical condos had sofa beds, Nancy says, and “the ones with the Murphy beds always booked before the ones with the sofa beds, by a long shot!” Lesson learned, now all six condos have Murphy beds. 

    futons sleeper sofas Futon: Sleeps one to two adults or two children

    Varies based on mattress size

    The futon is truly the champion of multi-function. Futons and sofa beds are great for smaller properties or for adding an extra bed to a larger one. Just be sure to disclose the type of bed in your listing — futons can be a tad uncomfortable for adults.

    roll away cot hideabedRoll Away: Sleeps one adult or one child

    Typically a twin or a full, but can vary based on mattress size

    Roll away beds (similar to hotel cots) fit nicely in a closet and allow for extra sleeping room for one more person. They are typically more comfortable than a sofa bed, though not as comfortable as a conventional mattress. 

    air mattressAir Mattress: Sleeps one adult or two children

    Varies based on mattress size

    Air mattresses are always a good option to have on hand at your second home. However, we wouldn't recommend including an air bed in your "sleep" number so as not to mislead your renters. Instead, include it in your description as an extra amenity.

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