Preparing your rental property can be intimidating. Especially if you have no interior decorating experience. In this section of our Airbnb 101 guide we answer all of your questions about how to get your property ready for your first guests.
Whether you’re outfitting a place from scratch or putting the finishing touches on an existing home, these rental decorating tips will help you create a desirable listing without breaking the bank.
Identify Your Audience
Start by identifying your ideal guests. Who do you want to host in your property? Is it families, business travelers, weekend warriors, or budget-minded backpackers?
Understand the needs of your core audience and create a listing they find irresistible. This leads to more bookings and a higher Airbnb income.
If you’re not sure who your audience is, get to know your existing guests. Exchange messages prior to their arrival or meet them at check-in. Ask them why they are in town and how they selected your place. You’ll start to notice trends in the type of traveler your property attracts.
When you understand your audience, invest in items that appeal to them. For example, business travelers appreciate a workspace and printer. If you live by the beach, provide beach toys and chairs. Some hosts even offer free iPhones to international travelers.
Think about how your guests use your property and what extra amenities would enhance their stay.
Rental Decorating Tips
Not everybody loves the idea of shopping for throw pillows, selecting a color scheme, or picking duvet covers. But it’s worth making the effort to create the perfect ambiance for your guests. Not only does this lead to better reviews, it also helps you get more bookings. A decorated space that’s photographed well attracts more inquiries.
Rental decorating doesn’t have to be difficult. And you don’t need to be an interior decorator. Below are some simple tips for Airbnb hosts that will help you attract your ideal audience.
Select a Theme
Airbnb guests are seeking a unique experience. They don’t want a cookie cutter hotel room. Your goal is to create an authentic, local getaway. You can do this by integrating aspects of the surrounding area into your rental property.
For example, if you live by the sea, add beach-themed accessories to create a beach bungalow atmosphere. If your place is located in the mountains, aim for a rustic log cabin experience.
For my apartment, I found some black and white photographs of the city that were taken at the turn of the 20th century. They add a touch of local history. I also have an 80-gallon fish tank and several accent pieces (shells, surfboard, etc.) that reflect the local beach vibe.
One word of warning. Unless you’re appealing to a more artistic community, avoid being too avant garde with your theme. You don’t want to put off the majority of guests with an overly personal style.
Decorating a place for rental is easier and cheaper than decorating a private home. Imagine you’re staging a home for sale. The goal is to appeal to the greatest number of people at the best price.
Here’re some tips to help you decorate your rental property:
- Select neutral colors for walls and natural woods for furnishings. This ensures that your decor appeals to the greatest number of people.
- Choose accent pieces to add character. Start with one statement piece such as a painting, colorful piece of furniture, or pottery item. Use this statement piece to select complimenting colors for other items in the room.
- Use a variety of textures to add extra interest. Decorative fabrics can be used in throw pillows, slipcovers, window coverings, and wall hangings.
- Maximize your beds to increase rental income. For example, have a futon or pull out couch in the living room. Also, include two full beds in a spare room. These can be pushed together to accommodate two kids or a couple. Get the biggest mattress you can for the master bedroom. And consider offering an air mattress or cot to further increase your maximum number of guests.
- Make sure your property passes the smell test, by adding potpourri near the front entrance.
- Leave plenty of hallway space from the front door to the room(s) so that baggage doesn’t bang against walls and furniture.
- Provide sufficient electrical outlets, extension cords, and iPhone chargers.
- Place a doormat by exterior doors to save your floors and carpet.
- Hang mirrors in strategic spots to add light and make your place appear more spacious.
Airbnb Tips for Hosts: Rental Decorating Don’ts
Lastly, here’re some things to avoid:
- Eliminate unnecessary clutter. You may have a collection of anime figurines, but chances are the vacationing Japanese anime enthusiast market is small.
- Remove personal items such as family photos, clothing, and toiletries.
- Avoid any religious or political pieces. The goal is to make every guest feel comfortable and at home.
- Don’t invest in antique or high-end furniture. While you want to provide a comfortable space for your guests, you don’t need to spend a fortune on furnishings to achieve this. Think more about creating a functional space with furnishings that pop in photographs. And less about how you would decorate your dream home.
Tip: Practice the three C’s: Classic decor, in a Clean space, free of Clutter.