Beginner's guide to decorating your space.

Level 10
Sintra, Portugal

Beginner's guide to decorating your space.

I have less than a year of hosting experience and so far, I'm happy with the experience. I've been privileged to have amazing guests so far. As an architect and interior designer, I notice many mistakes in some properties, and I'd like to share my thoughts from my humble experience. I definitely don't want to compete with the vast experience of many years' hosts and super hosts here.


Let's call it a beginner's guide to decorating your space.


Firstly, besides being a host, you are creating art. The space you create for your guests is a creation. You want them to feel at home away from home.


Search for designs that appeal to you. There are many sites like Pinterest and even TikTok that can give you many ideas and styles to use.


Your Airbnb property is not your storage. Don't leave things you don't need and hope that your guest will like them. If you don't, they won't either. If you have spare furniture, old paintings, rugs, or outdated mirrors, don't use them in your property.


Don't leave personal stuff lying around. If the property is too cluttered with your things, the guest will feel like an intruder in someone else's life.


Don't leave clothes, personal photos, or overpacked bookshelves. Just a few books will do.


Do not leave valuable and sentimental objects in the house. They might get stolen or broken accidentally. If you have a genuine Picasso or an old painting of your grandmother, take it. Remember, your Airbnb property is not storage space.


Linen should be white, as white symbolizes cleanliness and is also the easiest to wash, even with strong stains. If you don't like white, go for one solid color, or if you insist, use super modern patterns. Don't use old linens and bed covers from relatives; they can appear old and dirty.


Find a place like a locked cabinet to store your cleaning equipment. Don't leave everything for the guest. Not because they will steal it, but again because it feels intrusive.


The benchmark is a hotel room; work up from there. A good Airbnb property is somewhere between a hotel room and your personal home, but not either of them!


Decoration.  Find posters that you like, frame them. It adds a lot of feeling. Don't use arbitrary posters and avoid cheap tourist paintings of flowers and oceans. Look for posters and decoration that provide an atmosphere of the local place or pictures that remind your guests of home.


Lighting fixtures: Your Airbnb property is not an office, and people don't want to think of their workspace when they are in your house. Don't use light fixtures that look like an office. The only place a table and an office chair are allowed is in a designated working space to give a special feel.


Smell is important; buy quality shampoo and soap. Indulge your guests. Perfume the house before they arrive. Leave scented candles for them to use.


Leave some games and cards. Sometimes the weather will be bad, and they will just sit and enjoy their temporary home. The moments of sitting together around the table playing cards and enjoying the time together will be cherished the most. Leave informative books and simple games.


Use heavy-duty materials for rugs. If it is too delicate, it will be ruined by wear over time. Get things that look good but you won't miss if they need to be replaced.


Pots, pans and kitchenware: Leave enough for the maximum number of guests in the house. Don't overpack the drawers, making it difficult for the guest to find things they need. Avoid clutter.


If you have questions or want to share your ideas, please do so.


Kind Regards,


2 Replies 2



Hello Guy -


Thanks for the great advice!    


I think this is spot on:  

"The benchmark is a hotel room; work up from there. A good Airbnb property is somewhere between a hotel room and your personal home, but not either of them!"





1. Color Palette: Consider a neutral color palette for walls and large furniture pieces. This allows guests to feel relaxed and not overwhelmed by bold colors, which may not be to everyone’s taste.

2. Functional Spaces: Ensure each area of your property has a clear purpose. A well-defined reading nook, dining area, or relaxation spot can greatly enhance the guest’s experience.

3. Local Touches: Incorporate elements that reflect the local culture or history. This could be through artwork, decorative items, or even a guidebook with local recommendations.

4. Smart Technology: Consider adding smart home features like keyless entry, smart thermostats, or streaming devices for entertainment. These modern conveniences can be a selling point for tech-savvy travelers.

5. Guest Amenities: Stock up on essential items like toiletries, basic cooking ingredients, and a first aid kit. It’s these little touches that can make a big difference in guest satisfaction.

6. Feedback System: Create a way for guests to leave feedback after their stay. This can be a physical guestbook or an online system. It shows that you value their opinions and are committed to continuous improvement.