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.
Just to add to number 9: No guests, not even guests who were alive in 1981, will ever play the 1981 "Genus" Edition Trivial Pursuit Mastergame you inherited from your mother-in-law because the other daughters-in-law didn't want it. You might as well donate it to Goodwill. You have already? Good.
Guests will play Battleship, checkers, chess, regular cards, and that weird "know your camping skills" set of flashcards you got for free at an outdoor show.
Love your list, @Christine615 ! I'm the same when it comes to being "at home" versus the sterile suite. Either is fine, but "at home" just feels better.
I am a huge fan of, and relish every bit of advice and suggestions posted by @Christine615 Thank you for sharing with the rest of us! If you're ever thinking of visiting Cape Cod please reach out, I'd be so flattered to host you!
@Christine615 You are so right and have covered most things, i believe in the old saying You have to spend money to make money, i have new beds and mattress's as some guests strip the bed before leaving, and some have told me they have taken photo of mattress label as had such good sleep and a good sleep is so important, one guest commented he liked to read at night so bought nice bedside lamps,
Have put large sheepskin rug on polished floors bought from Costco.
Quality linen and pillows a must and Costco towels are great.
I know most people use phones for time at night but still have digital clock radios by bedside.
Dont forget the fresh flowers and little chocolate on the bed.
Hi @Max144. Sadly we don’t have a Costco here, but Spotlight and online shopping work well. I only have a clock in the living area, so lights or a ticking noise doesn’t upset anyone. But I do have motion sensor lights at the entry to the living spaces and the toilet, for night use. Assists with some light and can protect against slip, trips and falls. If they aren’t wanted, they can be turned face down. I provide a child’s night light (a ladybug with star reflections on the walls and ceiling) for family groups to use if they so desire. It can be comforting for children in a different room to their own…..
My chocolate per person is in the fridge with a water bottle each.
For any chocolates on the bed would be very dangerous: they would be inclined to melt if the air cons aren’t on… lol..
We also use the space for ourselves and family and friends, so it has to feel like us…
I buy tea towels, bed linen and towels that I’d happily use. I leave items for use that I would want, including food condiments, what we supply upfront and board games, books etc.
After all, it is our downstairs space, that just happens to gets used by AIrbnb guests, between our use.
So with taking on some painting of late, (on the easel) I may even upgrade some art work in the space. But that will have to wait till I can visit a framer.
The wonderful tutoring artist who has graciously taken me on as a student in her online workshops, just happens to be my cousin, so for the last seven months, I’m in brilliantly talented and safe hands….
Great tips! I bake molasses cookies made with sorghum which was grown and processed by our down-the-mountain neighbor..they've been a big hit! Also decorate with my paintings and quilts, which gives our rustic cottage a homey feel.
@Christine615 great tips! I will add a few.
- Amazon is your friend for sets of pots and pans that are inexpensive and last. Some guests are very picky about the kitchen. I am not much of a cook, but have gotten a ton of utensils from Marshalls/TJ Maxx and sets of mixing bowls and cookware for Amazon. I cheaped out on a knife block early on and spent a bit more to replace it. Cutting boards, however, should be as inexpensive as possible as my nicer ones have tended to disappear.
- Spend wisely on furnishings. Mattresses and sofas are probably where we spent the most. Chairs, tables, shelves, etc are stylish but inexpensive.
-Easy clean floors are a GREAT investment. You will never regret having a floor you can wipe down and doesn't easily stain.
-Fresh flowers are lovely and make the space seem loved. You don't have to go nuts but buying a bouquet of something bright and pretty can really elevate a space for not a lot of money.
-Be careful with baked goods. Guests can get freaked out by things not in packaging or with ingredients they are allergic to. Ask guests about allergies/preferences if you are going to offer them a treat at check in. Same with wine-- we love it, not everyone does.
-Dust under furniture/wipe down baseboards between each guest. Even if you have cleaning services. It really helps.
-Have a friend stay before you start charging people. Go through the whole routine of cleaning and set up. Get honest feedback. Make a checklist of things to look at between each guest.
@Laura2592 Really great tips, i remember looking for an airbnb to stay in and one review was a complaint about dust on overhead fans and cobwebs on cornice so i make sure i clean these regularly,
the odd guest can be very fussy and picky.