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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.

44 Replies

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.

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
KCMO, MO
Level 10

@Fiona674Welcome. You can start where you are and keep updating. Adjust your price where you are, then raise the price as you continue to improve the space. But yes - I'm working on my apartment all the time and then update the photos when something has changed. I'm wanting to swap out the bathroom sink, but it functions for now (not enough counterspace) and people have enjoyed just having a relaxing place to stay.

The cool thing about the platform is you can update your listing at any time. Enjoy!

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Aseri, Estonia
Level 3

If you think that this is how it should be by design, then you can. Hang the painting on an unpainted wall, crisp white towels, foot mat, smelling products and cleanliness. This is fashionable now.

Great-granddaughter of Princess Olga

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
CABA, Argentina
Level 2

Hola a todos 🙂

Nuestro establecimiento se encuentra en Pucón - Chile.

Cuando recién comenzamos poníamos ropa de cama de color y la experiencia nos enseñó que, la mejor forma de mostrarle al turista la limpieza del lugar, es usando sábanas, cubrecamas y fundas de almohadones blancos.

Las toallas blancas y todo lo que sea necesario será blanco.

Hemos tenido muy buenos resultados al respecto.

También proveemos libros, juegos de mesa, juguetes de niños, tenemos un salón de juegos con "mete gol", ping pon, y un rincón para los que quieran jugar ajedrez, también hay un quincho para que la gente haga sus asados y en el parque hemos instalado juegos infantiles.

Aparte creamos un sector especial de jacuzzi con capacidad para 6 personas.

Les puedo decir que la gente se va muy contenta ya que, con la situación que se esta viviendo con la pandemia, muchas veces el cambio de fases del gobierno, encuentra a los turistas en otros lugares que no es su domicilio habitual pero si se quedan varados en nuestro establecimiento, tienen muchas actividades para no sentir el encierro.

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Milton, Canada
Level 2

@Magali6 
La ropa de cama tienar se blanco. Puedo ver se es limpio y esta es muy importante. Gracias por esta punto.
El lugar de usted tiene todo. Buena suerte con la casa.
Perdona mi si mi espanol no es bien. No escribar mucho.

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
San Antonio, TX
Level 2

As a new Host, does Airbnb allow us to put cameras inside the kitchen?

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
London, United Kingdom
Level 10

@Alma398 

 

I think it is better not to have internal cameras. I don't think many guests would like this and it may cause you problems down the line (it's the kind of thing some guests use to try to get refunds). External cameras are fine, but you must disclose them on your listing.

 

It's not a bad idea either to reiterate this to the guests in a message prior to their arrival as a lot of guests don't read everything on the listing or don't notice certain points. That way, they won't be surprised and also, it deters people from bringing unregistered guests or throwing parties. Of course, some unscrupulous guests will just cover the cameras with something, but if you are keeping an eye on them, at least you'll know if this happens.

Re: Getting your listing guest ready

in
Sandwich, MA
Level 10

@Alma398, If I may, I suggest you go to your listing page, click on

PREVIEW YOUR LISTING.

Scroll down to THINGS TO KNOW.

Look to the right, under the column titled HEALTH & SAFETY you will see SECURITY CAMERA/RECORDING DEVICE...click on the words SHOW MORE.

Follow those guidelines to avoid any mishaps.

Wishing you continued success!

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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