Did you know that leveling up your design is one of the simplest steps you can take to increase your Airbnb revenue? According to one study, hosts who invested in upgrading their interiors found that it brought a 20% or more boost in bookings. Here are a few easy and budget-friendly tips on how to add a punch of personality to your home.
Brother and sister Superhosts Sophie and Saba know how to inject some joy into a space. Together, they’ve merged her whimsical, imaginative design sensibilities with his contemporary, sleek style to transform their 1920s shotgun home into an Instagram-worthy dreamspace that stays booked throughout the year. Here, they share favorite DIY tips on how to level up your interior—and attract even more eyeballs to your listing.
Sophie and Saba’s Tips to Spruce Up Your Space
#HAPPYHOUSEDREAMS COME TRUE
Sophie: Whenever I’d travel to cities like Palm Springs and San Francisco, I would always find myself drawn to really colorful houses. Four years ago, I created the hashtag #HappyHouseDreams on Instagram and started documenting the exteriors I’d find. That started my love of happy houses and the dream to own my own someday.
Saba: Sophie was away on vacation when I came across the perfect place in Cabbagetown. She had been in the market for a year and had made a few offers that didn’t pan out. When I saw this place, I knew it was the one.
Sophie: He knows my design aesthetic to the core—so he called me and I put in an offer sight unseen. When I walked in, I immediately saw the vision. I started conceptualizing what the paint could look like and what small tweaks I could make to brighten the exterior to make it my dream. I wanted to bring in the quirkiness that I love with a mid-century vintage feel that was lived-in and cozy. And I wanted to bring people joy.
Saba: When it comes to your space, we encourage people to try to do something different. Guests on Airbnb want a unique experience that they can’t get at a hotel or anywhere else.
Sophie: People are looking to immerse themselves in interesting spaces, new environments, and add a little cheer into their lives—so if you can upgrade your interior in simple ways, you can attract more guests and keep them coming back.
Saba: Here are a few of our favorite tips for how to “happy” your home.
01. Decorate for the guests you want
Saba: We recommend thinking about your audience— why they’re visiting and what kind of accommodations or amenities they would like.
Sophie: Think through what your audience is looking for, whether it’s a girl’s getaway or a romantic vacation. I think my house is super girly, but I made sure to find ways to widen its appeal. As a host, it’s important to understand that you need to reach multiple types of people.
02. Colorbomb a room
Sophie: We. Love. Color. Bright ones, obviously. We’re drawn to the many ways it can elicit an emotion and improve your mood. If I’m walking in a dull neighborhood and I see a pop of color from a wall, or spray paint with a happy message, it immediately lifts my spirits. So if you’re feeling like your home is a bit drab or needs some cheering up, colorbomb it!
Saba: Diving into color can be intimidating at first, but it’s well worth it to experiment. Here’s a simple way to play:
Sophie: For me, I used pink and yellow and built everything around those colors. Stay open-minded and flexible with how it evolves. It’s like an ongoing puzzle to find the right mix that feels right. The chairs you wanted to use in the living room may end up in the bedroom, for example. I think what people appreciate about our space is that it’s colorful, but not too overwhelming.
03. Get organized
Saba: If you’re looking to update your design, but don’t know where to start, we suggest creating a mood board on Pinterest. Mood boards are a great way to get organized, discover new ideas, and keep your inspiration all together. When you can look at a visual reference holistically, it makes it easier to make decisions on what your space needs.
Sophie: For me, being organized made it a little bit less intimidating because I already know before I commit to a light fixture or a leather sofa that I understand what it looks like in the greater scheme of things—as opposed to buying a piece and hoping that it will just all come together.
Saba: It can be stressful to decorate a whole house at once, so focus on each room and then think of it holistically so that it feels cohesive.
04.Create a gallery wall
Saba: One of the key pieces that everyone loves is this gallery wall of portraits that we created.
Sophie: I was planning to live here by myself but I didn’t want it to feel like I was alone—so the portraits make it feel like I’m having a dinner party. It’s a simple and inexpensive way to make a bold statement. Here’s how to create your own gallery wall:
05. Make an Instagram-worthy corner
Sophie: Another way to attract visitors and guests to your listing is to make your space extra Instagram-worthy. Think cute decor, bright colors, scene-stealing elements—anything that could be great for a photo opp.
Saba: People love to share their experiences online and it’s an opportunity to expose your home to a wider audience. Come up with a hashtag so people will do the work of sharing the listing for you. Everyone loves eye candy!
Sophie: We created this house to really bring joy to other people. I feel the happy vibes when I walk in and hope other people feel the same way.
Saba: We hope these tips help you create your own #HappyHouseDreams.
Sophie + Saba
Check out the full #howtohost series here.
What a beautiful peaceful relaxing looking home you have.
Did you retain the wallpaper for added insulation and paint over it?
Are the tiles in the kitchen from the original home built in the 1920's?
Have you looked up the history of the people who once lived in your home before you to add depth to your Profile and continue on their stories of life, love and laughter to?
They must be smiling from above.
All the best from Remuera, Auckland where some of us do our best to help ensure we retain Heritage Homes in New Zealand.
Hi @Helen427 ! So glad you like our home! Historic homes have a special place in my heart - in fact, the neighborhood has strict guidelines as its in a historic district which protects the look and feel of every house!
We painted the bedroom walls and then added wallpaper. This one is an easy peel and stick so application was fairly simple 🙂 And the kitchen tiles are new, we added them during our renovation! We were going for a feel that made it appear historic and part of the home's original character, so I'm happy you thought it could be original tile!
As far as the history, we are still learning! We know a few stories and are hoping to learn more about the home's past owners. It's what makes it so special! 🙂 So stay tuned there..!
All the best! Xo
Really beautiful. I'm working on getting more personality and style into my listings, while retaining the flexibility of the space. Its a work in progress, but fun!
Hi @Solveig0! Thanks so much for your sweet comment, I am glad you like our home! Keep us posted on your work, it's a fun project that I hope you really enjoy! And I hope these tips help you out with adding more flair and personality 🙂 Enjoy!
You have a really beautiful design instinct of your own. How did you find working through the "Plus" system? Do you have any issues with lack of control over your photos and listing description?
It seems like PLUS focuses on well-designed homes, but the owner's vision is diminished by giving editorial control to Airbnb's designers. We've seen lots of posts from hosts who were frustrated with photos that didn't capture the best elements of their homes, suggested or required changes made by Air designers, and a cumbersome process where owners don't have authority to change verbiage on their listing. What has your experience been?
I prefer simple, down to the Earth design. I would probably never stay in a place like this. But our feelings are subjective. Nobody is the same. While your pink may attract some people, it could distract others (like me, for example).
If you use different color scheme in another house, it would appeal to diverse groups of people and maybe increasing your cash flow.