When it comes to leasing your property on the short-stay market and listing it on booking platforms like Airbnb, decorating your property is extra important as it also forms part of your property’s marketing. You know yourself when searching for accommodation, that you’ll click on what images grab your eye, and properties that look presentable and somewhere you think you can feel comfortable (and at home) during your stay, so decorating your Airbnb needs to be carefully planned.
Moving on from the initial booking, the guest experience needs to align with the initial expectations you’ve set from your pictures and property description. Guest experiences mean everything and the smallest touches can be the difference between a 4 or 5-star review. No different to a hotel stay, a good first impression and quality comforts are a must for guests when they stay in an Airbnb property for their holiday or business needs.
Whilst our experience of both staying at, and managing properties, ensures we understand the touches needed to evoke a positive review, we thought we’d also call on some of Australia’s interior design and styling experts to give us their top styling and decorating tips for how best to make your property Airbnb-ready. Here’s our combined list of decorating tips for Airbnb – a list of ideas and styling “must-haves” we’ve pulled together in collaboration with a few of our resident Aussie experts.
1. Decorating for your ideal guest
Understanding who is likely to rent your place will help you identify how you should decorate it. Whether it be business travellers, couples, families or singles on a budget, by tailoring your décor to your target (or largest) market you’ll increase your appeal, potential bookings, and customer satisfaction; without wasting your money on items that don’t offer them value.
2. De-clutter your space
Personality is important, but be sure to avoid overwhelming your guests with too many of your own things. If you’re listing a home that you also stay at from time-to-time, it’s a good idea to remove your belongings each time or place them in locked-up storage.
3. Don’t be afraid to go bold
Don’t shy away from statement interior schemes, like oversized art pieces, wall murals or magnificent hanging lighting options. The goal is to make your short-stay holiday listing stand out, and there are plenty of guests looking for a space with a “wow factor”. You might choose to paint around the window frames in a quirky color, suspend interesting items from ceiling beams, or create a luxurious window seating for lazy afternoons in.
4. Think like a traveller
Think of the things you like to have when you travel and add these in. Simple things like a coat stand and small table for keys in the foyer and an ottoman in the lounge for weary feet after a day of sight-seeing can add a nice touch. It’s also a good idea to include some beach towels for a seaside location, carry bags for any supermarket shopping and an umbrella – these are things people often don’t travel with yet may need during their stay.
5. Make room for a study or work station
A must for the business traveller but also appealing as an additional service for your guests is to add in a study area or workstation, including a desk, lamp, and comfortable chair when decorating your Airbnb. This will enable you to list your place as being suitable for work travellers as some guests may apply this filter to their search criteria.
6. Include a conversation piece
Whether a retro piece of furniture, a quirky piece of art or a large patterned wall-papered wall, including something that will not only catch one’s eye in your property photos but can also give guests something to enjoy (and talk about) during their stay, is something worth considering. Why not have a bit of fun with it!
7. Choose practicality over decoration
Not everyone loves small trinkets or appreciates antique detail. It’s important to remember that the decorations actually matter very little in comparison to the practical elements of the space. So focus on perfecting those first, then add any decorative “floss” later.
8. Pick a theme
It is all about conjuring a relaxing holiday vibe from the moment your guests walk in. Pick a theme and run it through the home, whether that be coastal, country or city. To create a relaxing coastal beach home, for example, think white linen, indoor palms, seagrass pendant light fittings and artworks of the ocean. I’d also recommend a few stylish lamps and low setting lighting options to be included around the home to create a nice, relaxing tone for the night time.
9. Use comfortable furnishings
At the end of the day, your guests are on holiday, so you want them to be comfortable by creating a relaxing living space. Beautiful, plush lounges and floor cushions create a desirable environment for the whole family to chill in. I also love it when rental homes include stylish throws.
10. Have modern appliances
Never underestimate the importance of modern kitchen appliances (particularly coffee machines, kettles, mugs, and glasses). These touches will facilitate having a nice cuppa or coffee while they enjoy some much-needed downtime.
11. Make your home is Insta-worthy
To make your home conducive to photo-taking, I would always recommend an abundance of natural lighting, curated table settings, and clean, neutral coloured walls and flooring.
12. It’s all in the details
Include nice, practical little touches like stylish key tags, trendy magazines or a beautiful leather coffee table book with tips on what to see, do and eat in the area.
Image source: Instagram: @myfabulousdesign
13. Research your competition
In the age of social media, first impressions count when it comes to holiday accommodation. When furnishing and decorating your accommodation, research your local competition and style in a way that ensures you will stand out from the crowd. You want your place to be the place that people want to stay in because it’s ‘insta-worthy’!
14. It’s all in the details
Small details in styling your Airbnb property are what add to the entire experience of staying in a beautiful place. Go ahead and ensure you have lovely hand soaps and body wash, soft inviting linen and sheets. It is these small details that make up a home, so why should it be any different in your holiday rental? And again, ensure all of these things relate back to the overall concept you’re going for.
15. Ensure consistency of cleanliness and styling
This goes without saying. Always ensure your holiday accommodation is spotless and styled to perfection for each and every guest. Cushions and accessories are beautiful for styling but if done incorrectly they won’t give you that effortlessly styled feel. Have someone (whether it be the cleaner or property manager) learn how to style the place so there is consistency in the styling for each guest. You wouldn’t want someone to see your accommodation looking beautiful on your listing or Instagram only to arrive disappointed because it is not styled how the photos showed it would be online.
Image source: Instagram: @the_stables_
16. Thoughtful little touches matter
When decorating your Airbnb, add board games, good novels, puzzles, and interesting coffee table books, like a book about the history of the area. Individual touches can make a place feel individual and bespoke. Add some of your favourite paintings and art.
17. Invest in quality bed linens and towels
Your Airbnb guests are on well-deserved holidays – they deserve the best! This is where chain shops can come in handy. Even Kmart these days offers sheets that are 100 percent natural fibres, at an affordable price.
18. Use large chain shops sparingly
Anyone can go to big chain shops but it can be a little bit soulless when you go to an Airbnb and you just recognise everything as being Kmart, Kmart, Kmart. If you put in just a little more effort and source from different detailers, you’ll get a more individual look and upmarket feel that your guests will appreciate.
19. There is no need for faux plants
There’s plenty of real, low-maintenance plant options available. You can keep a mother in law’s tongue alive as long as you water it once a month or there’s devil’s ivy – once a week is enough, and Madagascan dragon trees are another low-maintenance plant that even black-thumbed hosts can keep alive.
Image source: Instagram: @housenerd
20. Don’t over theme
A beach house doesn’t need starfish and coral in every room! Successful styling involves the subtle use of a few key props combined with the layering of colour and texture.
21. Add ambiance with lamps
The use of lighting and lamps in the bedroom and living room (maybe a floor lamp) can create a wonderful ambiance. It indicates that you’ve thought practically about how your rental property will look and the mood it will have in the evenings.
22. Framed artwork can never be underestimated
It will create an immediate impact of quality on each room. This is where you can work on your colour palette for each room based on the artwork. It shows guests that you take pride in your property and its overall interior design by your carefully selected choice of artwork.
23. Add a bedhead and an upsized doona to a bedroom
This will create an immediate luxurious appeal, giving an impression of luxury, generosity and overall comfort.
Image source: Instagram: @felicityvisualstyle
24. Accentuate with pillows and throws
A design essential when it comes to short-stay holiday rentals, these items not only express a theme or style but add comfort for guests and a cosy, homely touch that they expect from staying at Airbnb properties.
25. Bring the inside, out
For those who have an outdoor area, we suggest treating it as an extra room. By bringing your style and colour scheme outside, you can make your space feel larger and accommodate additional seating and dining spaces, especially if there’s limited room inside.
26. Style with floor rugs
If your place has hard floors, adding rugs can make the space feel much cosier and more like home. They also serve to bring together some additional styling to your overall theme and large rugs can make a room feel bigger and pull furniture together (as if they were all sitting on the same rug).
27. Create a more luxurious showering experience
Buying quality hand soap and shower gel that smells delicious, and investing in matching sets of fluffy towels, adds bathroom
(and hotel-grade) luxury for guests.
28. Mirror mirror on the wall
Mirrors make all rooms seem bigger, lighter, and more open. Ones with thick decorative frames can also offer a feature piece for the wall. It’s also recommended to have a full-length mirror somewhere in the property, for guests to be able to check appearances before stepping out.
29. Add a sofa bed
Not only can a sofa bed be helpful for space-efficiency but it can also enable more people to stay, if space allows. There’s a lot of uncomfortable options out there so be considerate when purchasing as you want those guests sleeping on the sofa bed to be just as comfortable as those in the bedroom. Foam toppers can be a great way to add additional cushioning too.
30. Use white bed sheeting
There’s a reason why hotels use white sheets and we use them in all the properties we manage too. White sheets look bright, clean and make beds look bigger. They can also be washed well without the fear of losing colour.
31. Offer luggage storage areas
A great addition for your travelling guest is to include a luggage rack or other furniture pieces that can double as luggage storage such as a long ottoman or low-level bookcase. Alternatively, offering plenty of hanging and drawer space means they can unpack and really live as if they’re in their own place.
32. Add a reading area
If you have space, put an upholstered bench or armchair and a side table in a corner of a room. This not only provides another area for guests to relax and read, or enjoy a cuppa but can actually make the smallest of rooms look and feel more spacious!
33. Ensure you provide extra pillows
Extra pillows are important not only for comfort but also for decorating your Airbnb. In order to create visual interest and give character to the rooms, add some additional pillows to the bedroom. It’s always good to offer a range of firm and soft pillows to give guests the added comfort they expect when on holidays.
And importantly, don’t forget Airbnb essentials like Wifi (be sure to make the details easy to find), spare towels and toilet paper, hairdryer, iron and ironing board, a bottle opener, plus enough cutlery, crockery, and glasses for the amount of guests staying (plus a few more!).
Decorating your Airbnb property and getting it holiday-rental ready, doesn’t have to be expensive, and can actually be a lot of fun. It just takes some careful planning and a bit of time. We suggest starting with a list of all the essentials you need, considering one room at a time to ensure you don’t miss a thing. And it’s also great to ask guests for feedback from you after their stay also to continually improve and update your space.
There’s plenty of inspiration out there on social channels, like Pinterest and Instagram to collate a library of visionary ideas. Once you have done your research and chosen your theme, you can then start to shop around for what you need to decorate your Airbnb. Be sure to prioritise based on the most important and larger items like comfortable bedding and lounges first then add your styling around those. Have fun with it yourself or you can always call on experts like those featured in this article to give you a helping hand. Good luck!