Plus tips for making your home feel like a year-round oasis.
The last day of vacation is a tough one to swallow, and when your hotel or rental is a gorgeously designed stay worthy of a Coastal Living cover, it's even harder to pack up and head home. But what if your reality was returning to a chic escape that gives the Bali bungalows, Malibu manses, and Lowcountry cottages of your getaway dreams a run for their money? Here, seven sensational stays, plus design takeaways to transform your home into a jet-setter's paradise.
The Stay: Malibu Beach House
The Design Tip: Brighten Up with White
Book it: Malibu, California, beach house, from $783 per night; vrbo.com
There’s a reason so many luxury beach resorts and rentals are bathed in white. The neutral hue is clean, calm, and light with major stress-reducing qualities. In this Malibu stunner, a primarily white palette – walls, slipcovered couches, marble countertops, bedding – keeps the home feeling fresh. Weathered wood details, topiaries, wrought-iron tables, and beds with nailhead trim make it seem as if it’s plucked straight from the French Riviera.
Related: The Best Airbnbs Have These Things in Common:
The Stay: Havana Beach Bungalow
The Design Tip: Upgrade Your Outdoor Space
Book it: Havana, Cuba, bungalow, from $500 per night; airbnb.com
Vacations are all about alfresco lounging – on the beach, on a balcony, or on a rooftop hangout complete with a pool, spa, bar, and thatched-roof tiki hut (a la this Havana, Cuba, getaway). While you don’t need to build a full-on tiki bar in your backyard (though you’d be the bona fide party house on your block if you did), you can still create an at-home oasis. Take inspiration from this space, which features a hammock, tons of greenery, and plenty of comfortable seating options unified by blue-and-white striped cushions and slings.
The Stay: Mykonos Retreat
The Design Tip: Embrace Simplicity
Book it: Mykonos, Greece, from $443 per night; airbnb.com
Instead of filling each nook and cranny in your home with tchotchkes, channel the Greeks and adopt a “less is more” mentality. Most homes on the idyllic Greek Islands trend toward minimalism, from the classic two-toned interiors (Mediterranean-blue-and-white for the win) to the fuss-free décor. Textured surfaces, such as stone and wood, bring depth and sophistication.
The Stay: Zihuatanejo
The Design Tip: Play With Color
Book it: Zihuatanejo, Mexico, from $618 per night; airbnb.com
Take a cue from fashion designer Betsey Johnson, whose beachfront Mexican escape is every bit as colorful as she is. Honoring the home’s Spanish-style roots, Johnson kept the bones very much the same, adding her signature flair through vibrant artwork, bedding, and pillows. It’s easy (and cheap!) to replicate at home (not to mention versatile, since bedding and pillows are pretty much the simplest things to swap out and store).
The Stay: Galveston Beach House
The Design Tip: Happy Up Your Home
Book it: Galveston, Texas, from $200 per night; airbnb.com
Beaches are notorious for inciting happy moods, and happy moods deserve the happiest of homes. Unleash your creativity (like the decorator of this adorable Texas home did) with a colorful statement wall reminiscent of a painted boardwalk and literal nods to the shore at every turn. (Surfboards on the walls? Why not!) This historic cottage is a two-story duplex, with a rental on each floor, and you’ll want to stay in both for maximum decorating inspo.
The Stay: Bali Getaway
The Design Tip: Bring on the Spa Vibes
Book it: Bali, Indonesia, from $267; vrbo.com
Bali is a nature lover’s paradise and a hot spot for yoga and meditation retreats, so it’s no surprise many of the island’s rentals embrace that relaxing reputation. This one, in the heart of the Seminyak region, incorporates natural textures, such as stone and wood, indoors and out (we’re digging the white pebble flooring in the luxurious spa bath). Loads of tropical greenery are also a must. Accents of turquoise are subtle reminders of the sea just steps away.
The Stay: Charleston House Boat
The Design Tip: Make Tiny Feel Grand
Book it: Charleston, South Carolina, from $162 per night; airbnb.com
Working with square footage in the three digits? Rather than fit more in a tiny space, opt for fewer pieces that make big differences in terms of comfort and style. And don’t shy away from color; this chic Charleston houseboat has a fun and inviting vibe thanks to its pops of coral and teal (that ceiling!). Keeping the walls bright white makes the space feel clean and larger than it is.