Written by Richard Way,
Last Modified: 8th February 2023

After the excitement of completion day comes the fun of equipping your new property! Richard Way, owner of a Spanish residence, draws on personal experience and lists items – both practical and pleasurable – that should help you get maximum pleasure from your overseas holiday home.

Typical Canary home in Costa Adeje, Tenerife

Go potty for plants

Make the most of the local climate and conditions and embrace the opportunity to have plants you can’t enjoy back home (in a colder climate!). If you have a garden, obvious options are palm, citrus, olive and fig trees, a vine that climbs over your terrace or pergola, fragrant hardy shrubs like lavender and rosemary, and succulents, including cacti and aloe vera. None of these require much watering when planted out. If your outdoor space comprises a yard, terrace or balcony, then stick to smaller potted plants.

Colourful balcony rich with flora

Funky furnishings!

Give your home, both inside and out, a warm local feel by shopping locally for interesting furnishings and exciting things to hang on your walls. Paintings by local artists, photos of nearby views, colourful rugs, unusual ceramics and cultural items specific to the area always work well. Local markets are good hunting grounds, or sniff out artisan shops and stalls! Otherwise, there is always IKEA, which delivers to regional pick-up points in most European countries if there’s a store nearby your overseas holiday home.

Find our dream overseas holiday home on our Property Portal

Secure storage

Especially relevant if you’re planning to rent to holidaymakers, having somewhere you can lock away items you want to keep for personal use is essential. Why? Bed linen, towels, certain clothing, toiletries and beach paraphernalia are things you’ll want to leave at your property year-round, ready to use on your next visit. So, you’ll need some kind of lockable space, which could be a cupboard, chest or even garage, to stash these things away from paying guests and even friends and family, who you can’t always rely on to wash or replace things that aren’t theirs…

Could you rediscover a love for cycling?

Bikes and other wheels

Not having to get behind the wheel is one of the joys of spending time at your second home, enjoying the amenities of the local area and scenery. Of course, walking everywhere is great, but it’s hardly surprising many new second homeowners rediscover cycling, especially in places with lots of trails and cycleways. So, when the opportunity arises, invest in some bikes. They needn’t be new – look out for ads for secondhand ones or ask about town. Of course, you might prefer a scooter – electric or otherwise, and if space and budget allow go properly native and get yourself a moped…

Card games are a must on a rainy day

Cards and games

Cards by citronella candlelight are a classic way to enjoy balmy Mediterranean evenings on the terrace, complemented by a bottle of local wine. But pick half a dozen other games to leave at your home – you know what the family favourites are… It’s amazing how quickly younger ones forget about the PS or Xbox and get sucked into numerous rounds of Jenga or a rummy tournament.

Dry foods are okay to leave in your pantry

Want ants in your overseas holiday home pantry?

Consider what food you wish to leave in your kitchen and what you store it in. Sound odd? Not if you’ve ever been greeted by an army of ants when you open the front door to your home. These little critters are common in hot climates, made worse by food scraps left on the floor and not sweeping up after every meal – a good dose of Raid sorts them out. When you’re not there, they’ll sniff out and help themselves to anything edible in your kitchen. If you do want to leave non-perishable food items, be sure they’re in airtight containers. Still on pests, splash out on some defensive devices against mosquitos, besides the citronella candle. Mozzie repellent seems to work for some people but not all, otherwise the plug-in devices are effective. One of the simplest solutions to avoid being bitten is to keep doors and windows shut as much as possible.

Barbecue on the grill at night

Summer grilling…

Having a barbecue is a no-brainer at your home in the sun – you just have to decide on the size and spec. But if you want to take al fresco dining to a new level, you need a summer kitchen. Your built-in brick barbecue, which may double as a fireplace, will be just one part of the set-up. Full-blown summer kitchens could also include a log-fired bread or pizza oven, rotisserie, bar area, sink, fridge and preparation areas, and a large eating area, typically all under but with open sides. How far you go is entirely down to you, and the other half if you have one!

Just because you’re a local doesn’t mean you don’t need sun cream!

Sun protection

These days we’re all aware of the dangers of sunburn, not least the fact it can ruin a holiday. You can’t have too many sunshades, in whatever shape or size, hanging about your home. If you do have a car, be sure to cover the windscreen when its left exposed for long periods – have you ever tried sitting on a seat and holding onto a steering wheel in a car that’s been baking in the midday Mediterranean sun? Not recommended. You’ll need a sun umbrella or two for the beach, or opt for a canopy type or beach tent, and then one for the terrace at home. Don’t skimp on any of these and equally important is the base of a standalone sunshade – it needs to be weighty and not one that blows over in the slightest breeze.

Share This

You have Successfully Subscribed!