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What Attracts Vacationers to Your Gulf Shores, Orange Beach Retreat?

Owning a beach retreat in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach is a dream come true. Whether you're looking to enhance your personal getaway or increase the rental appeal of your property, design updates can transform your space into a coastal paradise. At Emily Duncan Designs, we specialize in creating serene and stylish environments that capture the essence of beachfront living. Here are the top amenities and features guests desire as well as seven design updates to take your Gulf Shores Orange Beach retreat to the next level.

Top Amenities for Beachy, Short-Term Rentals

When it comes to attracting renters to your Gulf Shores or Orange Beach property, certain features and amenities can significantly enhance the appeal of your rental. If you're searching for beach condos for sale in Orange Beach or beach homes for sale in Gulf Shores Alabama, here's a list of what renters most frequently look for in a surfside short-term rental:

a. Proximity to the Beach:

    • Easy access to the beach is a paramount consideration for renters. Properties within walking distance or having direct beach access are highly favored. It's all about the beach!
    1. Stunning Ocean Views:
    • Rentals that offer panoramic ocean views or balconies where guests can enjoy the scenery are always in high demand.
    1. Modern Amenities:
    • High-speed internet, flat-screen TVs, and well-equipped kitchens are essential for providing a comfortable stay.
    1. Outdoor Living Spaces:
    • Patios, decks, or balconies furnished with comfortable outdoor furniture provide additional space for relaxation and enjoyment.
    1. Swimming Pools and Hot Tubs:
    • Private pools or hot tubs are luxury features that can set your rental apart from others.
    1. Cleanliness and Updated Interiors:
    • Well-maintained and updated interiors with fresh paint, clean linens, and modern furnishings are crucial for guest satisfaction.
    1. Pet-Friendly Options:
    • Allowing pets can widen your pool of potential renters, as many families prefer not to travel without their furry companions.
    1. Convenient Parking:
    • Ample and secure parking is a practical necessity for renters, especially in popular beach destinations with limited parking availability.
    1. Access to Local Attractions:
    • Proximity to local restaurants, shops, and attractions can greatly enhance the guest experience and make your property more desirable.
    1. Safety Features:
    • Well-lit exteriors, secure locks, and safety equipment like smoke detectors and first aid kits are often looked for by renters prioritizing safety.
    By incorporating these features into your Gulf Shores or Orange Beach rental, you can greatly increase its desirability and ensure that your guests have a memorable and enjoyable stay.

Seven Tips to Upgrade Your Beach Rental

1. Add Coastal Colors

The first step in transforming your beach retreat is to embrace a coastal color palette. Think shades of blue, green, sandy neutrals, and crisp whites. These colors not only evoke the tranquility of the ocean but also make spaces feel larger and more inviting.

For instance, a soft aqua accent wall can serve as a focal point in the living room, while neutral-toned furniture maintains a balanced and cohesive look. Opt for white-painted wood furnishings to complete the breezy, coastal vibe. This approach works wonders whether you're updating a beach rental in Orange Beach or personalizing your oceanfront condo.

2. Update Flooring with Beach-Friendly Materials

Flooring in a beach retreat needs to be practical and durable, considering the sand, water, and heavy foot traffic. Hardwood floors are a classic choice, but consider newer, more resilient materials like luxury vinyl planks and ceramic tiles that mimic the look of wood. These materials are not only easy to maintain but also resistant to moisture, making them ideal for beachfront properties.

Adding area rugs in natural fibers such as jute or sisal can provide a layer of texture and warmth, enhancing the cozy feel of your retreat.

3. Maximize Natural Light

Natural light is a key element in beach house design. It brightens up the space and creates a seamless connection between the indoors and the beautiful outdoor scenery. Remove heavy drapes and replace them with sheer curtains or bamboo blinds to allow sunlight to flood in.

Consider installing larger windows or even skylights to bring in more light. If privacy is a concern, frosted glass or strategically placed shutters can offer a solution without sacrificing brightness. Enhancing natural light will make your beach condos for sale in Gulf Shores stand out in the market.

4. Incorporate Nautical Elements

Incorporate nautical elements through decor and accessories to infuse your space with coastal charm. Think about adding items like ship wheels, anchor motifs, and vintage maps. These pieces add character and a sense of place to your beach retreat.

Use driftwood accents, rope-wrapped lamps, and sea glass vases as subtle nods to the ocean. A gallery wall featuring oceanic artwork or photography can also be a great way to personalize your space and tell your unique seaside story.

5. Accentuate Outdoor Living Spaces

An essential part of any beach retreat is the outdoor living space. Whether you have a sprawling deck, a cozy patio, or a small balcony, make sure this area is optimized for relaxation and enjoyment.

Invest in comfortable, weather-resistant furniture, such as wicker or teak loungers and dining sets. Add pops of color with outdoor cushions and throw pillows in coastal hues. Don't forget to include ambient lighting with string lights or lanterns to create a magical atmosphere for evening gatherings.

For those looking at beach homes for sale in Gulf Shores, Alabama, a well-designed outdoor space can significantly increase the property's appeal and value.

6. Upgrade the Kitchen with Coastal Flair

The kitchen is often the heart of the home, and this is no different in a beach retreat. Consider updating your kitchen with elements that reflect coastal living. Think white cabinetry, open shelving, and backsplashes made of sea-inspired tiles.

For your beach retreat kitchen, the choice of countertops can significantly influence the overall look and functionality. Consider using natural stones such as granite or quartz for their durability and low maintenance. Granite offers a unique, earthy appearance with its varied patterns and hues, fitting well with a coastal theme. Quartz, on the other hand, provides a sleek, modern look while being highly resistant to stains and scratches, making it ideal for a busy kitchen environment. Another excellent option is butcher block countertops, which add warmth and a touch of rustic charm, perfect for achieving that laid-back, beachy feel. These materials not only withstand the wear and tear of frequent use but also complement the coastal aesthetic beautifully.

Hardware in brushed nickel or brass adds a touch of elegance. Accessorize with decorative bowls filled with shells and use blue and white dishware to keep the theme consistent. A well-designed kitchen can make a significant impact on your beach condo's feel and appeal.

7. Seek Professional Help from Interior Designers

When in doubt, consult with professionals to ensure your vision comes to life. Working with experienced interior designers in Alabama, particularly those familiar with coastal properties, can make a world of difference. Designers can help you select the right materials, colors, and furnishings that align with your style and functional needs.


At Emily Duncan Designs, we pride ourselves on crafting beautiful, functional, and personalized spaces that capture the essence of coastal living. Whether you're updating a rental, preparing one for sale, or creating your dream beach getaway, these design updates will help you achieve a stunning transformation. Ready to elevate your Gulf Shores or Orange Beach retreat? Contact us today and let's bring your vision to life!