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With the UAE relaxing its laws on short-term home rentals to meet increasing visitor numbers ahead of the World Expo 2020 in the emirate, more villas and apartments than ever are expected to hit the rental market. For those looking to cash in on the new regulations, it is essential to make their property more attractive to visitors, creating a holiday feeling and a sense of escapism.
Fortunately, the task is not too complicated as there are a number of simple ways to create a holiday mood in your property.
According to Danish interior designer Merete Broen, co-founder of Zen Interiors, one of the most common mistakes when redesigning an accommodation is applying a particular trend on the property.
“As we all know, trends change very quickly, so if you like to be up-to-date and follow trends, do it in a smart way,” she says. "Without going into too much trouble, add some pieces as decoration or accent elements such as pillows, accessories, furniture and feature walls."
Broen, who has 11 years of experience at Zen Interiors, believes communication is key to creating a perfect holiday environment. She says this is particularly true with couples, as it is important to consult both parties on any home renovation to avoid problems or disagreements once the design is finalised.
While enhancements on a property are primarily restricted by budget, Broen says one of the top considerations is to include "all of the elements that touch you". She says music fans, for example, can install an outdoor sound system, increasing the property's living space and using an area that is often overlooked.
If space is limited, Merete recommends choosing furniture with multiple functions, such as sofa beds, and using a flexible layout where furniture can easily be rearranged to accommodate additional people.
Broen's company supplies bespoke, handmade wooden furniture from Indonesia, but she reiterates that creating an environment that suits both the taste and needs of a property's inhabitants is the paramount consideration. For instance, the age of children living in the property dictate whether it will require a separate play area.
Broen also advises to take inspiration from holiday trips. "Someone might have a really amazing memory of a honeymoon in a specific hotel," she says. "There are always certain elements that make people happy and make them look forward to being in that place."
In terms of trends, the designer sees an increasing use of neutral colours, with light whites, greys and mocha shades all featuring heavily. She also predicts a growing amount of pastel shades, contrasted with walls of striking colour, enhancing the energy in a room. Purple orchid is colour specialist Pantone's choice for the year, but Merete also sees an increase in blues and turquoise, as people try to create a more organic environment based on an increasing sense of eco-consciousness.
Broen was recently commissioned to create her first Scandinavian interior in Dubai - an opportunity she's been looking forward to for the past decade. She says it’s personal taste and the environment that help her generate ideas to manage a successful renovation of such projects.
"When designing a villa it is important to consider the client’s needs and style, as well as the surrounding area of the villa," she says. "There are different considerations for designing a villa by the sea, in the city or by the mountains.
"It is important to know the period of time the house is going to be used, the size of the family and the likelihood of visits from guests."
For homes that won't be inhabited by the owner, Boren suggests a more pragmatic approach. With less emotional involvement, she advises owners to employ neutral colours and high-quality contemporary furniture, which won't date quickly. When choosing a holiday theme, an appreciation of the multicultural nature of Dubai's expatriate population is also essential, Boren says.
Top tips for creating a holiday home
1. Use neutral colours with some accents through accessories, decoration or eyecatching furniture. This will make your home look fresh and relaxing and if you want to update it, just change the colour of the cushions and add some new accessories. This will renew the space without costing too much money.
2. Design the space with a flexible layout so it can be adapted for new requirements.
3. Avoid too much crowding of space by selecting furniture and accessories that are necessary to accomplish a fresh and relaxing atmosphere.
4. Select relaxing colours, soft fabrics and consider comfort and durability as priorities.
5. Select functional furniture that can have different uses, such as furniture with storage, sofa beds, outdoor/indoor furniture and tables with wheels.
Feng shui in your property
If you want to improve the atmosphere and energy of your property and create a holiday atmosphere, fens shui is a good starting-point.
1.Allow energy to flow to the front door
The house must have a smooth and clear Bow of energy from the front door. Make sure nothing is obstructing the energy Bow. Do not use your entrance area for storage and don't leave shoes or any object in the front door.
2.Create a welcoming landing space
To make the energy flow into your house, the main entrance must be welcoming and vibrant. You can create an inviting entrance by putting a table with flowers or adding some artwork, rugs on the floor or a strong colour on a focal wall.
3.Create a relaxing space for rest
The bedroom is a place for fun and pleasure and a space for rest. Do not have a television or a computer in your bedroom- these disrupt the energy in the room. The use soothing colours is also important to achieve a good balance in the bedroom. The best colours are skin colours, ranging from pale white to chocolate brown. The use of lighting is also significant, with candles providing the best option, but make sure they don't have toxins.
Using mirrors correctly will redirect the energy into any space. Mirrors also create a sense of refreshment and calm.
5.Refresh the energy
To achieve a fresh, clear and freely flowing energy, it is important to get into the habit of cleaning your space. Get rid of any clutter, clean your closet, discard old stuff or items that you have in storage and clear your basement or garage.
Source: Peter Feely, Special to Property Weekly