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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.

62 Replies

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Christine615 

 

I love your list and think it's fantastic advice. Not sure there's much I can add.

 

A few suggestions:

 

I think the bed is probably the most important thing in terms of a guest's comfort, but also the aesthetics of it can make a huge difference as it's usually the largest item in the room.

 

1. All the bedrooms have beautiful beds. One of these is repro and was a bit pricey, but bought brand new at a huge discount on Ebay. The other two are vintage finds that were in excellent condition (one newly reupholstered). You want your guests to see the bed and WANT to sleep in it. However, I would add that upholstered bedss are maybe not the best option for an Airbnb. Mine have lasted okay, but I know it's going to be very expensive to have them reupholstered as that's crazy pricey here. I do always vacuum the upholstery whenever I clean the rooms, so I think that has helped keep it in good shape for longer.

 

2. I bought the thickest mattress toppers I could find and this has made a huge difference. Guests always tell me the beds are really comfortable, even though the mattresses are not actually particularly expensive. The mattress toppers were inexpensive but, as @Branka-and-Silvia0 pointed out to me, that is not the case everywhere!

 

3. I used to iron all the bedlinen, but this became too time consuming. So, now I iron the pillow cases, but make up the bed with the sheets and duvet/duvet cover and then iron it in situ before adding the extra bedspread or quilt. The photo below was taken when I still had a housemate living in that room, so the bedlinen was hers. Oh how I wish I'd taken the time to iron it before the photographer came round!

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4. I always have extra bedding in the cupboards, in case the guest wants an additional duvet or pillows.

 

5. Always clean under the bed in between stays. You want it dust free because some guests will maybe store their suitcases there, but also because you never know what the previous guest has left lurking under it.

 

 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Daylesford, Australia
Level 10

@Huma0 you will easily be able to recover bed upholstery yourself when the time comes. No worries. 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Sandra126 

 

Thank you! I think I would have a go at the one pictured above, but this one, no I don't think that's a job for first timers! Also, it's currently upholstered in silk, which I imagine would be tricker. I have noticed that the silk has started to wear away in places.

 

BTW, I normally make the bed up nicer than this. The photos were taken when I was starting out and still had long term tenants staying in the rooms so I had to improvise a bit on the stying.

 

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Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Hay Valley, Australia
Level 10

Great list, I think I’ve done all of those suggestions. We are very big on estate auctions too, and op shops (thrifting). We’ve had so many great finds, same for FB marketplace. Just peruse that often and see what pops up. 

we have a lot of roses growing on our property so I’m usually good for flowers but when I can’t get any I just cut green foliage. I keep secateurs in the car, in case I spot something good, and I have some secret locations of those lovely round silver dollar gum leaves that are super trendy right now. We live in the country so it’s not like I’m going into people’s yards! This might be more challenging for city dwellers but even when I lived in Sydney I was able to forage lots of lovely things to use at home. If you don’t feel artsy with leaves, just go to Pinterest for inspo and copy something. 


the other thing that’s good to do is every now and then stay in your Airbnb. Sleep in the bed, use the shower (and give it a deep clean). I found that when I cleaned I was looking at the taps and walls, but when you use the shower you often look the opposite way, and I notice a stain on the cornice that could have been there for months. Sit in the chairs, make a coffee etc. putting yourself in the guests shoes helps you make better decisions on what’s important. 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Tempe, AZ
Level 2

Thank you so much! These are great pieces of advices 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Greece
Level 6

@Christine615  great tips, I am thinking of putting cameras in. Are you using wired or wireless ones? Thank you in advance for your reply.

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
KCMO, MO
Level 10

@Eleni219  We use wireless cameras because we could put them up in minutes. I was able to monitor the listing even when I was overseas. We have one camera at the right height to see faces clearly, and one well above the door to prevent tampering

i live in the city so it’s also been a great deterrent for the rash of delivery package thefts. 🙂

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Kharkiv, Ukraine
Level 2

Hi, can you please share information, about airbnb booking, that help Ukrainian people, when someone who want to help book the apartment and not coming, it's the way to donate Ukrainian people money, which they really need. I have one apartment which someone can book, it's will help me a lot... 😣

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Лина80  Your listing is not available- the link doesn't work.

 

Also, you appear to have just put this listing up as a way of receiving money. I realize all Ukrainians need assistance right now, but we want to see that someone is a real, established host before booking, to make sure the money gets to the right people.

 

As I'm sure you are aware, there are many online scammers, and while you may be perfectly legitimate, no one can tell that with a listing that was just put up new. As you can understand, we need to be careful that we are actually sending money to Ukranian hosts.

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Kharkiv, Ukraine
Level 2

Of course, I absolutely understand!! My ad doesn't work because it's really new and airbnb is checking it. But to be honest, my account on airbnb has been since 2019 , before the war I was always a guest, and visited so many beautiful countries, and now I'm sitting in a bomb shelter and I hope that this day will not be the last . I completely agree with you, there are a lot of scammers, and you need to be very careful, but I just need help, because I don't have a job, and there is no one to help, and with this money earned from the apartment, I can buy food..

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Fort Myers Beach, FL
Level 2

Hello I’m new! How much do you guys think we should put away for taxes per booking? 

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Sayulita, Mexico
Level 10

@Sharon1453  This is not a question about what people "think". You need to find out exactly what taxes Airbnb is submitting on your behalf, what taxes you need to submit yourself, and how much extra you should be charging guests to cover those taxes. As taxes vary in different areas, this is a question for your accountant, not opinions.

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Valdosta, GA
Level 2

I live in North Florida and am going to be opening my first listing soon. Did you find out anything on this subject? I thought this was a great question. Thanks!

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Gauteng, South Africa
Level 1

Fantastic tips, thank you.  I am so nervous about decor.  I really want to get it right.  
My question:  Do you find that 2 x single beds together to make a King size worth the investment?  I am just thinking that if we have 2 people staying that are not a couple they have the option to separate the beds.  

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Bongaree, Australia
Level 10

@Ronel49 I find guests have no problem sleeping together, recently i had 3 girls sleep together in king size bed as no accommodation around plus the extra work involved in two lots of sheets etc. and also feel 2 beds may cheapen the experience for quests as nicer to sleep in quality bed. 

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