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We decorated the space for our family's needs and tastes because we use it part time. We call our place "mother-in-law" approved. A number of people wrote in our guest book that it felt like being in a home instead of a rental space. Here's some tips:

 

1. Decorate to please yourself. I have booked sterile (but attractive) Airbnb's and they don't feel comfortable. Just feels like a Residence Inn or an Embassy Suites.  I much prefer the ones that feel like you can sink into a couch and be "at home" temporarily.

 

2.Don't scrimp on high quality items. They hold up better to abuse and use than low budget stuff. If it's particle board or MDF - you'll eventually be sorry. They break easily and are susceptible to moisture. Go for high quality fabrics and hardwood furniture frames when possible.

 

3. My secret weapon? Estate Sales from upper income homes/neighborhoods. Shop the ads and look at the photos. If you see something that fits your needs and it's in your budget buy on first day. Designers will be competing to get the best things for their clients. If not, see what is left on the last day of the sale (half-price day). Be first in line (In the U.S. you can put a marker down then go sit in your car).  If the house is packed sometimes things are marked down 75% on the last day since the remains will be sold for pennies on the dollar to liquidators.  Do not forget to poke around in the garage or basement for odds and ends you didn't know you needed until you saw it. Many times you can find things with the tags still on them.

 

4. Decorate - Put pictures on the wall. Or mirrors. Or clocks. Those things make it feel like a home.

 

5. Use IKEA or other stores for things that are less important (plates and silverware, for example). Although we found bone china by Mikasa at Costco on clearance for less than IKEA was charging for plastic dishes. We found a full set of Corelle dishes and bowls at a thrift store for $5 total.

 

6. IKEA has reasonably priced curtains. Use white sheers beneath them - they'll cast brighter light into a room.

 

7. Keep tinkering. As you find better things, donate what you have been using and trade up.

 

8. Sheets and towels from Costco have lasted for a long time. When they go on sale we buy multiple back-up sets and put the extras away in case of accidents on existing inventory.  We keep an iron and an ironing board on site because iron the pillow cases to look more crisp after they come out of the dryer. (we hang them in the closet for the next time they are needed.)

 

9. Games, books, DVD's are helpful. We took over games we liked to play but were not attached to (in case pieces were lost) and supplemented with others we found when thrifting. A number of families left notes about being able to play board games at the dining room table.

 

10. Whiteboard you can use to greet guests. We write the names and a welcome on the board. Sometimes people erase it and leave us a note of thanks when they check out.

 

11. Put a patterned rug inside the door to catch muddy boots and shoes.

 

12. Put security cameras on your front and back door. You'll thank me later.

33 Replies

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Huskisson, Australia
Level 10

@Max144 and @Christine615 don't forget light fittings, art or painting frames for dust for dust. When guests are lying in bed they look and see little things.

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

Level 2

I really like this advices! Zara home is too very good to buy some details for your apartment

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Anchor Point, AK
Level 2

Great advise all around.  I have covered most bases.  I have two brand new cabins, we spared no expense.  We covered the walls with art prints, and other art.  Mirrors, clocks.  Lighting everywhere.  For Alaska black out curtains are a must.  I put a small assorted box of chocolates on the bed.  Fruit on the table.  Lots of extra, spices, local coffee beans, creamers.  I love the snack basket idea @Christine615.  I will incorporate that.  I provide laundry soap and softener.  A few popular board games, and plenty of books of the history or information about our local area and state.  Keep the great advise coming.  I am learning.

 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Port St. Lucie, FL
Level 2

I'm new to hosting and have a question.  What do most of you use for shower curtains?  Do you use a clear liner that is cleaned by housekeeping or just the fabric curtain that is then washed between guests?

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Bongaree, Australia
Level 10

Try and change to sliding glass if above bath tub or install glass door or if possible nothing just leave it open like new hotels and house builds are doing so less cleaning and safer, if all else fails go for the clear as guests can see thats its clean as same as i use white sheets and towels which take a lot of cleaning to keep pristine but its what guests expect and appreciated to know a place is spotless, i myself use dark sheets and towels as so much easier but for guests i am always striving to give them the very best experience i can.   

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Sandwich, MA
Level 10

 @Elizabeth224,

I use a clear shower curtain liner and a white shower curtain. I throw away the clear liner after each season. The white curtain is washable.

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Huskisson, Australia
Level 10

@Elizabeth2242 I have shower curtains and wash them with hot water and with nappysan or similar product. They are washed after guests check out and have 3 sets, 1 up, 1 in wash and 1 spare. It is part of my bathroom cleaning process.

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Corning, NY
Level 10

Thank you;  I'm in the setting-up process and had not thought through the shower curtain cleaning process. Helpful!

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Aseri, Estonia
Level 3

I purchased a disinfectant lamp that kills germs and viruses.

I have a curtain.

Later, when I can make money, I'll put on a steam bath with a shower. But, I don't like plastic at all. Moreover, my house is considered an Eco house. googl translation

Great-granddaughter of Princess Olga

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Mott, ND
Level 4

Yes yes yes …. These are all things I do as well, each room in my Airbnb has a theme, there is a

Hunting room with 2 Queen beds 1 with deer flannel sheets and deer throw pillows and 1 with moose sheets amd moose throw pillows. And Deer and Antelope skull art on the walls and canvas pictures of Pheasants, Big Horn Sheep and a Grizzly bear )I am a taxidermist and professional photographer so all art work and decorations are my own creations) 
Bedroom 2 is a fishing theme with a Queen bed and with fishing sheets and comforter and throw pillows, nautical decorations amd even Nautical books including Moby Dick all in hardback, and even a Boat bookshelf with nautical NikNaks

 

Bedroom  3 is the Bison Bunkroom with a Bunkbed twin on top Full on bottom all with American Bison throw pillows and matching sheets AND. I even found Stuffed animal Bisons and have one on each bed. As well as cabana portraits of Bison that I took pictures here at Theodore Roosevelt National Park. (An hour up the road) 

 

I also went to Hobby Lobby and found a United States cork board (had to make Alaska and Hawaii) and a sign above saying we are excited to hear about your adventures please leave your mark where you are from and a note about your stay. I as well have a white board in the living/dinning room that has a week calendar showing them when they check in and when they check out along with other guests check in amd check out for the week. On the cork board part is a printed out list of rules and on the other whiteboard side a personal hand written note on white board welcoming them to their home away from home listings  their names and the WiFi password. And a basket of goodies (microwave popcorn, chips and bottles water) with a note address to them welcoming them once a again. 

yes I have a hideaway compartment under the bench seat labeled “there is fun fir the kids under the bench” and when you lift the seat there are board games, kids books, and card games for kids. I do not have crayons and colorist books cause that’s just asking a 5 yr old to decorate your walls LOL but I also have a collection of kids DVDs movies as well. There is a “junk drawer” for adults with phone books, pads of paper, pens, regular deck of cards and pinochle cards. 
mom the dinning room table is a collection of tourist magazines for North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana… you can find these free at rest stops and even an Atlas. 

Hostess of Hunters Dream B and B

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Aseri, Estonia
Level 3

Wonderful!

 

Great-granddaughter of Princess Olga

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Hobart, Australia
Level 2

Hi everyone!

We are new to hosting. We have just renovated a property and it’s 95% awesome. We need to get the bathroom painted…. Though I’m wondering if we can commence hosting if the bathroom isn’t yet painted and upgraded? It’s usable with both a shower and toilet and washing machine…. It’s just very dated and looks less appealing than I’d like it to. What are your thoughts please? 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Bongaree, Australia
Level 10

Hi @Fiona674 would be good if you at least painted the walls with Semi or Gloss paint to cheer it up and easier to clean, maybe just replace the grout between the tiles, but have stayed in dated houses with great reviews and the number one thing i find is cleanliness, remember the saying cleanliness is next to godliness and most guests dont seem to mind as long as everything is clean and i try to under promise and over deliver so guests have the best stay possible and they will over look minor faults.

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Brevard, NC
Level 10

@Fiona674 The bathroom is the ugly duckling of my rental, so I get where you are coming from! I took a look at your listing and it is gorgeous!! and right on the beach. I would personally book it no matter what the bathroom looked like. I do agree with @Max144 that cleanliness is critical (paint if you have time--it helps with the perception of "cleanliness") and that you should "under promise and over deliver." Therefore, I think you should include photos of the bathroom in your listing--I did not see any when I checked--so that guests get an idea of what to expect. Tell them it is a work in progress! That (in conjunction with your current written description) will help later with reviews. You could even let them know (once they get there) that you are about to remodel that room and want to get their recommendations on changes. People love when you ask their advice :). 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Milton, Canada
Level 2

@Jennifer1773 A brilliant way to turn a negative into a positive is with your "ask the guests" idea. Love it.
Thank you for such great ideas.

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