I am way into decorating/restoring old houses/renovating spaces. My tendency is to go higher-end than I really need to and my more pragmatic husband brings me back to earth. We debate this all the time with concern to our Airbnb's decor-- he wants super solid and functional for as cheap as we can get it, I want something cute or stylish that functions well enough and don't mind paying a little extra. Luckily I am a good antique and thrift store shopper so we have a nice compromise. My big score was the vintage 9 ft Harrod's leather sofa that I got for $800. Its basically bulletproof, comfy and so easy to wipe down as well as being good looking and fitting the space.
Not pictured in our images is a gorgeous velvet wing chair I bought for beside the fire. THE SAME WEEKEND I put it in, a guest broke the leg during an acrobatic romantic escapade. It now sits in the corner with a note at check-in not to move it. Lesson learned on that fail. I also want a rustic chandelier instead of a ceiling fan in the living room but so far the husband is winning that debate on the grounds of the utility bill.
What are your rules on decor? Does form follow function? Do you ever splurge on certain things just because they will look good in your space or does practicality take precedence? Have you ever bought anything for decor that guests immediately destroyed or ended up being super impractical? Share your rules, tips, philosophy and fails on Airbnb decor!
@Laura2592 I'm sure your theme was created specifically for @Huma0 )))
I have a very simple and modest apartment, for most addicted designers this is a terrible simplicity of IKEA (ha, I'm a fan of it and I'm not afraid to admit it), but I absolutely adore high-quality details. Therefore, in my modest apartment that still needs renovation in some places, there are such nuances as a set of table cutlery set Zwilling, Le Creuset mugs, Villeroy and Boch glasses, Italian coffee maker Bialetti (the color of champagne I asked my friend to bring from Italy), etc.
From the point of view of the business approach, this is complete stupidity, and I understand it, you need to buy dishes taking into account that they break, spoons and forks are sometimes thrown in the trash. But, people are emotions when we talk about rest, so all these "little things" work. )
Travelers need simplicity and convenience.
Those, who are on vacation, will value the extras, that they do not have at home.
Trying to cover both needs is a very common mistake. You can't. You can't make a place simple and luxury at once.
I definitely think everyone has a different definition of luxury. Our space is very rustic and hand-built. It would be silly to try and make it into a 5 star modernist paradise. To some extent, your space lays the groundwork for what will work in how it wants to be dressed up. I enjoy decorating, love old houses, so I am never happier than when I am trying to pick out furnishings or paint colors for one of my spaces. I can go a little overboard. In something that you let out to strangers, its probably not a good business idea to spend more on breakables than you might. Just curious about how others approach styling their spaces. Where does the pragmatic meet the pretty? How much effort do you put into it? What has worked and what hasn't?
@Laura2592 Pragmatism and beauty meet when you and your husband do business together )))) My husband always told me, Oh, you really are an idiot to buy THIS! they (guests) will ruin everything, steal it, it doesn't make sense, you need to earn money, and not be on the clouds...)
Laura always retain your design flair but, where guests are concerned keep it functional.
Once as part of an estate I was handed down a triple knotted Turkish silk rug which had been purchased by an uncle when they visited Kusadasi (pronounced Coostasi) in Turkey.
I believe you never actually get to own a Turkish silk rug! The certificate of authenticity that goes with this rug says that 99 years after the date of purchase the ownership of the rug reverts back to the Turkish state as an antiquity! That could be just a bit of sales 'hoopla' I don't know!
I didn't have a suitable place to put the rug in the house and feeling that it might go mouldy rolled up and stored out of the way here, I put in on the floor of the listing cottage.
One guest gave me a 3 star for cleanliness! She said the rug "looked old and shabby and should be replaced"!!!
So that's exactly what I did. I hot footed it down to Ikea an purchased some $99 bit of cheap nonsense....and I haven't had a single complaint about it since!
The ironic thing was, that 'old and shabby' rug was worth more than the late model vehicle they arrived here in!
What I am saying Laura, guests don't care, make it quirky, homely, interesting.....but keep it cheap and functional!
I know @Huma0 won't agree with me!!
You are right, I don't agree, well, not 100% anyway.
The thing is, I host in my own home and I want it to be beautiful and full of lovely and interesting things. If I had to pare it all back to a soulless, simply functional space, then I wouldn't want to host here at all.
Now of course I could keep the guest rooms cheap and cheerful, but then this might look glaringly obvious compared to the rest of the house and there would still be plenty of things guests could damage in communal areas. And the fact is that most of my guests book precisely because of the way the house is decorated and furnished. With so much competition in London, one needs to have something to stand out from the crowd and the décor is what stands out here.
However, I do agree with you that one should be cautious about filling a guest space with very expensive things. I would certainly not put a rug of such high value in a guest room, but if I did inherit it, I would not want to hide it away either so it would probably end up in the living room. At least there I could keep an eye on it and deal with spills asap.
It's also a myth that you have to spend a fortune to have beautiful, high quality furnishings. If I had spent what people assume I have spent on this house, I would have been bankrupt years ago. I very, very rarely (read never) pay full price for anything. Ebay was my best friend when furnishing this house and now I am a regular at Homesense/TK Maxx. Much of my furniture is vintage and bought for a song or even acquired for free, not priceless antiques (most guests don't know the difference TBH).
It can still upsetting though when a guest damages this kind of stuff as often they are not things that can be purchased again. I do find that most damages relate to stuff like door handles and light pulls rather than furnishings though. That's annoying, but not something to get upset about.
One does still have to think about practicality. Style should not come at the price of substance and a space needs to function properly, e.g. have sufficient storage, be comfortable etc. My kitchen is in a traditional, country style with hand painted cabinets (again, not as expensive as one might think) but it has all mod cons and after 11 years still looks almost new. The fancy crockery and cutlery are stored in dressers in the dining area and it is very rare for a guest to take any of it out. They use the day to day stuff in the kitchen cupboards and I wouldn't bat an eyelid if they broke an item from there.
If I was renting out a separate space where I was not living, it would certainly be very different from my home and have far, far less breakable and 'fancy' stuff, but I would still furnish it with character and care and have interesting details. This can still be done on the tightest of budgets. Even IKEA has some cute stuff!
@Huma0 yes, our space is our weekend getaway so it exists in the nebulous world of "should it be cute enough for us or just functional enough for guests?" Like you, I am always decorating, renovating and doing some home improvement project on my primary home. I don't put nearly as much $$ into my cottage but I would!
For example, I need a new dishwasher soon. Its working but its not working at 100% so we are budgeting for this. Instead of just replacing with regular stainless I want to do all new colored retro appliances and new counters. We are getting a range from Big Chill for our kitchen remodel in our primary house (in their more Victorian look line) but I think one of the below would be FANTASTIC In our space. I also want new countertops in a natural material (ours came with this house and are some kind of laminate.) Of course this is totally ridiculous cost-wise. It will not add to the guest experience in a way we could monetize. I could argue that it will add to MY experience, but that is falling on deaf ears. I feel this is a much bigger example of the fresh flowers we leave. Do guests mention them? No. Do they notice and does it somehow elevate the space a bit during their stay? I hope so.
There are two ways to look at it I guess:
1.) It is your weekend getaway, so decorate it how you want it and try to vet guests as best you can so that you get bookings from people who will respect the place as much as possible.
2.) This is primarily a guest space. Therefore, what you spend on the décor depends very much on the market you are trying to attract. There are plenty of spectacular looking whole home Airbnbs but they charge accordingly. Can you/do you want to attract a higher end client who pays enough to justify the outlay? If not, then I am afraid your husband might be right and you are better off decorating with charm, but without unnecessary and costly additions.
I'm probably minimalist in what I like, but I also believe in the buy cheap/buy twice concept. Meaning I don't want to buy twice. So that's a great quality mattress and decent (sparsely used) furniture.
Some love more colourful decoration with 'stuff' all around (I do, in other peoples' houses), but we've gone with what (we think) people need, and nothing more.
Covid has meant we've even stripped back some of the bits and bobs too, like no more coffee-table books/guides etc. The fewer things to clean the better.
Definitely more is less (over here, anyway).