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15 Sep 2023
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People tend to know what to expect when planning their Outer Banks vacation and many are looking for specific things in their rentals. From oceanfront views to easy beach accesses to ensuring there are enough beds for their whole party, there's a lot to consider. What this means for you, as a homeowner, is that the Outer Banks vacation rental market is very competitive and it is essential to find ways to stand out among the competition. One of the best ways to do that is to theme your vacation rental. Pick out a theme and run with it. From creative names to unique decor, giving your Outer Banks vacation rental an uncommon theme will attract guests who are in search of an experience, not just a vacation. Check out our tips for theming your Outer Banks vacation rental a few themed ideas that can help refresh your rental and draw in a new wave of renters.

Reasons to Theme Your Outer Banks Vacation Rental

Make Your Listing Stand Out

If you consider a theme for your Outer Banks vacation rental for no other reason, consider it because it is sure to make your listing stand out. The post-pandemic vacation rental market on the Outer Banks is saturated with thousands of beautiful homes all boasting beautiful views and fantastic amenities like pools or hot tubs. To encourage people to book your home over someone else's, you're going to need something to help your listing stand out. Picking a theme for your home can do just that. Home's with attractive names and bright color schemes that tell a story and feel more like a resort than a residential home draw visitors in and get them thinking about the type of vacation they can have by staying in a home like yours! Get them excited about your home and watch the calendar fill up.

Market to a Specific Demographic

Chances are, when you purchased your vacation rental property and decided to put it on the rental market, you had an idea of the types of guests you wanted to attract. Maybe your home is pet-focused or tailored for large families. Maybe it's perfect for couples or small families who just want to get to the beach. By choosing a theme for your home, you can further narrow-down the demographic of renters you're hoping to draw to your home. Sports enthusiasts are more likely to stay in a sports-themed home while movie buffs are more likely to stay somewhere with a theater room or surrounded sound. Think about the niche you want to fill and let that be a starting place for your interior design!

Create Amazing Listing Photos

Here at Seaside Vacations, we have an amazing photographer who is skilled in getting the best shots of your home for your listing. Now imagine this same care and talent applied to a home with a unique layout, vibrant furniture, and a theme that tells a story from room to room. Visitors to our website are going to love looking at the photos of your home and the longer they spend on the website, the higher the chances of them booking your home or, at the very least, remembering it when they come back to book later. With curated decor and themed color schemes, the photos of your home will garner more attention and more bookings - because who doesn't want to stay in a stunning resort-style beach house??

Get More Reviews & Referrals 

When a house is themed and people perceive it as being cool, unique, or just different, they're going to talk about it. Give your guests an unforgettable vacation experience and they'll want to write reviews celebrating their stay while also referring their friends and family to stay at your home, as well! Don't underestimate the value of word of mouth when it comes to vacation rentals. With a unique theme that sets you apart from the competition, your guests will be talking and sharing their experiences! This encourages even more people to visit your home and thus the cycle continues.

Let Your Rental Reflect You

Owning an Outer Banks vacation rental is a lot of fun but this also means you won't be spending a ton of time at your home if you're renting it out. By decorating your home with a theme, you can leave a little piece of yourself in your home. Let the decor reflect all the love and passion that you've put into your home! Guests will love the chance to learn a little more aobut you through your rental, making it more of an experience than just a vacation.

Sell the Experience

When you've got a themed vacation rental, it becomes more than just a place to stay! You can market your rental as an experience, making guests more likely to book and spend time at the home! Many people choose rental homes over hotels for the convenience and added amenities, such as pools or full kitchens. By adding a theme, you give your guests the chance to add another level of fun and excitement to their stay! This will ensure a more positive guest experience while giving you the chance to capitalize on increased demand. 

Tips for Theming Your Outer Banks Vacation Rental

Identify Your Target Audience

Both a pro and con to themeing your Outer Banks vacation rental is the fact that your home is not going to appeal to everyone. And that's ok! When deciding your theme, you'll also want to be thinking about your target market. What type of renters are you looking to attract? Couples? Large families? Families with pets? Adult-only vacations? There's a lot to consider and thinking about who you want to attract ahead of time will help you narrow in on the exact aesthetic you're going for.

Be Realistic About What You Can Do

It's easy to get carried away planning for all the things you want to include. Maybe you want themed bedding, new paint colors, or all new furniture in the living room that matches the theme you're going for. These are all great ideas, but to avoid disappointment and a half-finished look, get organized and be realistic about what you can achieve both physically and financially. Rushing to add a bunch of things last minute could end up hurting your rental outcome so look at your available time and your available budget for rennovations and go from there.

Pick a Color Scheme

When implementing your theme, consider the color scheme of the design you're trying to accomplish. If you're going with a coastal or nautical theme, as many homes on the Outer Banks do, explore different shades of blue and tan and give the walls a fresh coat. Look for furnishings and beddings that match, as well. Having too many different colors or color schemes throughout the home can be a little jarring when your guests are just trying to relax. So once you've decided on a theme, think about a color pallet with 3-5 different colors that you can use throughout the home.

Use Signs & Artwork to Your Advantage

Get creative! Include different types of signs and artwork that immerse your guests into the world of your creation. Cute signs with funny sayings are extremely memorable while themed artwork can really complete any themed space. Pair artwork with complementary wall paint colors or emphasize visual contrast for something different. Be sure to the think about the use of each room, as well. Funny signs might make more sense in the kitchen or bathroom while something comforting and calming will help your guests relax in the bedrooms. 

Don't Overdo It

But don't go overboard when it comes to colors, decor, and furnishings. Sometimes less is more. Play around with it and see how you feel in each room. Too much color can be overwhelming in a bedroom while a kitchen, living room, or bathroom can benefit from a little bit of a supercharged atmosphere. Don't feel like you have to put a statue on every free table space or a painting on every empty wall. Consider investing in a few statement pieces that will set your home apart.

Plan Ahead for Upkeep

This applies to any type of vacation rental, but especially themed rentals. You'll want to keep an eye on your property and be sure to replace anything that's starting to show normal wear and tear. Think about ways to save money while still sticking to your chosen theme. Pick items that will last longer, even if that means paying a little more upfront. Also consider options that are durable or pet-friendly, if you have a dog-friendly rental. Getting oragnized and planning ahead can save you both time and money in the long run. 

Theme Ideas for Your Outer Banks Vacation Rental

Coming up with a theme for your Outer Banks vacation is meant to be a reflection of all the love that you have for your home. Embrace your creativity! The sky's limit when it comes to vacation rental themes, meaning that you can turn your dream Outer Banks vacation rental into anything you want. Here are some suggestions to get those creative juices flowing and get some ideas on ways to make your Outer Banks vacation rental property stand out!

Under the Sea

What better way to celebrate an Outer Banks vacation than by staying in a home decked out with ocean decor? Consider theming each room to represent different animals, like starfish or jellyfish, whales or sharks. Consider adding some string lights or a wave projector. And don't underestimate the power of really cool artwork as a tool for setting the scene.


Find ways to bring the waves inside! Fun decor like this wooden sign or these surfboard wall hangings can really make your guests feel like they're staying in a surf club or oceanside resort.

Sandy Shores

Get creative with candles and seashells! The ocean offers some of the best decor, so if you're doing a sandy theme, bring the sand inside! Wine bottles filled with sand and fairy lights can really elevate a space while seashells are awesome in bowls, as part of an art piece, or just sitting around by themselves! And don't forget seaglass! Brightly colored seaglass in a clear jar or vase is always a winner.


There's something about a lighthouse-themed home that really reminds you that you're on vacation. Look for ways to include cute staple pieces as part of your interior design. This rustic clock or this wind spinner will have folks talking for days. And don't forget the bedroom! Themed bedding and pillows make the space extra comfy for everyone.

Fisherman's Paradise

The Outer Banks has been known for its amazing fishing opportunities for literally hundreds of years. Consider adding fishing nets, lures, and other fun fishing-themed gear to your home decor! Added bonus if you include fishing gear or pier passes for guests to use.


Who doesn't love mermaids? Consider using brightly-colored paint schemes and mermaid statues and artwork throughout the home. Include themed decorative pillows, like this bright seashell, or a statement piece like this lighted latern. With this theme in particular, you can go sophisticated or childlike, depending on your market. The possibilities are endless!

Boho Chic

Sometimes you can't beat a tasteful bohemian vibe. Experiment with succulents, fake plants, and muted, earth tones. Cushions and throw blankets add to the appeal while tasteful minimalism will lure your guests into a sense of calm relaxation.

Sports/Sports Teams

Whether you're into soccer or football, decorating your home to match your favorite sport or sports theme can be a lot of fun! And it can help bring in those off-season rentals. Be sure to have lots of TVs and comfy furniture for all those games while wall mounts, artwork, color schemes, and creative lamps and lighting can really help your guests immerse themselves in the world of sports!

Movies & Pop Culture

Make your home the perfect movie-night getaway! Have fun with Oscar statues, movie tickets, and large screens for watching films. Don't forget popcorn bowls and a mini-fridge for all those favorite snacks! If you want to get wild, consider a stand-up popcorn machine or a shaved ice machine to add to the fun!

Bookworm's Getaway

For a lot of people, there's nothing better than getting away on vacation to read your favorite book. Include a carefully-curated library (maybe with Outer Banks/beachy books) for guests to choose from. Get creative with bookshelves and decor. Make sure there's plenty of coffee mugs for warm drinks and cozy blankets for the perfect bookworms getaway.


And last, but not least, what about your favorite decades? Maybe you're in love with the hippie vibes of the '60s or you thrive on nostalgia for the '80s. Either way, think about decking out your home with retro furniture and vintage decor like vinyls or those bright orange rugs that scream '70s. Making a nostalgic getaway can really elevate the guest experience and have them coming back year after year for memorable fun.


Sailboat from a Kayak at Sunset
This is just the tip of the iceburg when it comes to theming out your Outer Banks vacation rental. Think about what you love and go with it! Can't pick one theme? You don't have to! Consider implementing themed rooms or areas of the home. The world is almost literally your oyster when it comes to picking a theme and it's a great way to freshen up your space and ensure that you and your guests are having fun!
We love property management on the Outer Banks and it shows. Family-owned and locally managed for over 30 years, Seaside Vacations goes above and beyond to make sure property management is Hassle-Free, meaning that we’ll take care of the details so that you can get back to taking care of the things that matter most to you. We'll help you make the most of your vacation rental! With our unique Property Coordinator model, we're here to help you successed.

If you’re not already working with us and you're ready to find out more about how we support YOU in your rental property business, request your Complimentary Rental Projection today! Simply fill out this form to receive a  commitment-free call from Michelle Russell, our Business Development Director at Seaside Vacations, who can answer any questions you may have about how Seaside Vacations can help you make the most of your Outer Banks vacation rental property.

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About the Author: Lauren is an Outer Banks local, mom, trained historian, and travel enthusiast. When she isn’t writing for the Seaside Vacations Travel Blog, Lauren can usually be found with her nose in a book or cuddling with her cats.