The Ultimate Guide to Preparing Your Vacation Rental’s Kitchen

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An amazing kitchen is what makes staying in a vacation rental superior to a hotel room. It is an excellent venue for owners to generate rapport with their renters, as the kitchen provides many opportunities to make guests feel they’re being looked after.

Often, your guests’ opinion of your rental will depend on your kitchen. The best way to earn great reviews is by providing a neat, organized, and well-stocked kitchen.

Space and Storage

Lack of space is a major complaint about vacation rental kitchens. Some kitchens are rather small and some owners can’t provide cabinets or countertops where there simply isn’t room.

One easy workaround is to install wall shelving. Shelves are inexpensive and easy to install, and they put kitchen supplies right in front of your guests’ eyes, making it easy for them to find exactly what they need. A great example of this is this kitchen remodel by The Brauns.

For countertop space, we recommend a butcher-block island on wheels, like this one from Ikea. It can be used against the wall, but it is easy to roll directly into the center of the room whenever necessary.

Finally, ensure your cabinets are well maintained. Tightening or replacing your hinges should be an easy fix. New paint, some new knobs, and inexpensive shelf lining paper will keep them looking great.


Make sure your refrigerator, oven, stove and other appliances are all working and easy to use. Many rental experiences are ruined because an outdated oven running hot and ruins someone’s family meal.

Including a microwave oven is highly recommended. It is so essential that it is now even available in many hotel rooms, and your guests are expected to use it for a quick reheat or make some popcorn microwave. Make sure it’s not an ancient model and can cook food uniformly.

In hotel rooms, a coffee maker is becoming a common amenity, and your guests would be delighted to have one. Include the right size coffee filters and use instructions. Some homeowners invest in a K-cup machine such as a Keurig, which requires less maintenance and is easier for renters to use.

A toaster oven, electric kettle, and a blender are optional but good to have appliances. None of them are strictly necessary, however visitors greatly appreciate them, and if you have the space to store them, they are well worth having.


Another common mistake is not providing enough dinnerware to serve your guests.

Ideally, to meet the maximum capacity of your house, you should have twice the number of dishes, bowls and water glasses. This makes it much easier for visitors, even if some dishes are already packed in the dishwasher, to deliver a complete meal.

We strongly suggest using matching dishware, silverware, and matching set glassware from a common household goods store. You’ll be able to easily replace broken wares with matching items, and your dinnerware will remain attractive yet inexpensive. Guests associate matching dinnerware with quality, and find it difficult to overlook old, damaged, cracked, or mismatched ones.

Including wine glasses and coffee cups is also a good idea, although we believe that providing just enough for the maximum capacity of your home in this case is safe. Stemless glasses of wine are more difficult to break and usually friendly to the dishwasher. While you should buy matching wine glasses, few people care about matching coffee cups, so do not hesitate to break the matching rule if you already have a variety of spacious mugs.

Ultimately, if you plan to sell your rental to a family crowd, consider the needs of your guests traveling with children. If you provide sippy cups, kids ‘ dinnerware, and a high chair for their little ones, parents will be incredibly grateful.


For day-to-day cooking, your property should have a good collection of pots and pans.

Quality cookware is going to last longer and work better! Holiday rental kitchens see a lot of use and cheap pans need to be replaced quickly. It is also much more likely that your guests will love cooking with quality pots and pans in your kitchen.

At a bare minimum, we suggest including:

  • Small skillet (8 inch Omelette size)
  • Large skillet (12 in+)
  • Small sauce pan with lid (1.5 quart)
  • Larger sauce pan with lid (3 quart)
  • Larger pot (e.g. stock pot size ~ 12qt)
  • Baking sheet/Cookie sheet (2)
  • Cake pan (round or square) (2)
  • Muffin Pan
  • Loaf pan
  • Casserole dishes (2)
  • Large serving bowls and plates for family-style meals

If your home can accommodate 10 or more people, you’re going to want to make sure you’ve got a set of pots and pans to cook for such a big party. If your property is 4 or less in size, you may want to skip the larger pots and pans and take down to just one the number of cookie sheets and casserole dishes.

Kitchen Utensils

Any kitchen without a selection of utensils is incomplete. You can easily purchase a bulk set of basics, or take into account the ones mentioned below to fill in any holes in your supplies if you already have a good collection.

  • Tongs
  • Spatula
  • Slotted/Un-slotted spoon set
  • Long handled ladle
  • Whisk
  • Kitchen shears
  • Grilling tools (if you have a barbecue)
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Large microwaveable measuring cup
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Can opener
  • Corkscrew with bottle opener
  • Box grater
  • Mixing bowls

Dishwashing Items

If you can furnish your holiday rental with a dishwasher, do so! Not only do guests enjoy a dishwasher, but when preparing your home for the next party of visitors, it will save you tons of time and energy.

Whether or not you are willing to provide a dishwasher, make sure to provide a drying rack for your dish and a large number of kitchen towels. Not all of your cooking materials can be washed in the dishwasher, so after your meal you’ll want to be sure that your guests can do some scrubbing. If space is an issue, consider one of those roll-up dish drainer racks to save space.

Finally, provide a way to stop up the drain on the kitchen sink to allow your guests to soak a few dishes before washing. This is the easiest way to make sure that when cleaning the house for the next guest, you don’t have to re-wash all your cookware.

Cleaning and Maintenance Supplies

When you talk about washing up, you’re going to want to make sure your guests can do that! Guests won’t think about bringing their own cleaning supplies, and they’ll think it’s a big hassle to have to buy cleaning things themselves–but if you supply them with items, they’ll be happy to leave your home nice and clean.

  • Sponges (we recommend providing a new sponge for each renter)
  • Liquid dish soap
  • Dishwasher detergent (if you have a dishwasher)
  • Trash bags
  • All-purpose cleaner

Place the cleaning products away from children. Families will appreciate you took account the safety of children who may go into toxic cleaners.

For bonus points, it may well be worth having a couple of extras that offer your guests much needed convenience. These are things that your guests are likely to forget to buy at the grocery store because they’re used to getting them in their own homes, and they’re going to be happy that you’ve saved them a second trip.

  • Ziplock bags
  • Paper towels
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic wrap

When choosing a trash can for your kitchen area, make sure it can last a long time and is convenient for your guests. Holiday renters often quickly fill up the trash receptacles, so choose a bin large enough to handle a typical day for the number of people your holiday rental sleeps.

Do your part for the environment! Give your renters a recycling bin where they can put their used recyclables and let them know about any local rules for sorting. Keep your recycling bin close to the trash if you want it to be used by guests!


While you don’t need to stock your pantry with all the things you need, having some basic cooking necessities is a great convenience for your guest. Guests at the grocery store can easily forget basic items like cooking oil or salt because they are so used to these pantry staples in their homes.

It’s also expensive for guests to buy for a single trip–they’ll probably only use a few tablespoons of that bottle of olive oil and have to leave the rest behind, but it’s cheap for you as an owner to take care of all your guests. You can pack your pantry with basic staples for $150, which will attract a long line of thankful visitors.

We recommend that you include a clear selection of spices. Try to buy bulk spices if your property is designed for a big number of guests: they will last a lot longer and are quite affordable. The following provides you for the basic cooking needs:

  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Chili Powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Garlic Powder

Offering a few baking items will ensure that in the middle of cooking dinner, the guests don’t need to rush back to the store for a spoonful of sugar or a cup of flour.

  • Flour
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder

It is easy to forget about cooking oil and it is virtually impossible to cook a basic meal without it. We recommend that you give your visitors some choices to save if they forget that a rental doesn’t have anything they normally store at home.

  • Vegetable oil
  • Olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • Vinegar
  • Butter (store in the freezer)

You can provide coffee and several boxes of tea bags if you feel like going for bonus points.

We also saw a lot of owners offering a shelf for stable items, such as rice and pasta, left by other visitors. Many guests just leave things behind that they couldn’t finish during their stay, and future guests will gladly make good use of them. It’s a nice way to give yourself a little extra at no cost.

In Plain Sight

There are some things you really want to find straight away. It can be hard to navigate an unfamiliar kitchen.

  • Cooking oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Coffee maker and kettle
  • Wine opener
  • Can opener
  • Kitchen towels and oven mitts
  • Cutting board
  • Kitchen knives (in a butcher block)

It is a good rule to put yourself into guest’s shoes. Imagine what would be difficult to find and attempt to de-mystify for your tenants. We saw owners provide a little reference guide for their kitchen to great effect.

In the kitchen, it’s wise to invest in the right materials at the right time, with extra attention placed onto the guests’ convenience. Your guests experience during their stay with you will surely be reflected in their reviews.


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