Thinking about prepping your house for a home share or making extra money with a rental on Airbnb? It’s wild to think how quickly it became possible to rent out extra rooms or space properties for home exchange - and since COVID hit, home shares have become more popular than ever!
With the rise in work-from-home opportunities resulting from COVID, many people in metropolitan areas are looking to relocate somewhere a little quieter. Rather than selling, especially with the current real estate market in a massive flux, they're making the most out of their home by offering rentals for people looking for a safe way to travel or who need to make a trip for work.
With hundreds of homes hitting the short term rental market, the challenge becomes - how to make your home stand out and get booked? There’s three key elements to creating a successful rental listing - aesthetics, amenities, and cleanliness! Making sure you hit all three of those will ensure you get the best reviews, securing more bookings, and helping you get a steady stream of income from your rental home!
It all started in 2007, when two young roommates living in San Francisco started looking for a way to make a few bucks to help pay their rent. These young opportunists had the idea to offer visitors a place to sleep and breakfast in the morning without staying at a traditional hotel or B&B – who knew renting out air mattresses in an apartment would turn into a $31 billion company?
It didn’t take long for the home-sharing idea to become an exciting alternative to hotels and a great side-gig for many homeowners. In today’s world, renting out a spare bedroom, an in-law unit, or your entire home for nights, weeks, or even months with Airbnb or other home share websites such as Vrbo, Tripping.com or Vaystays is a great way to make some extra money using your existing asset!
However, given the popularity and potential of today’s platforms, setting up a place for rental is more than just writing up a clever listing and adding eye-catching photos. “If you search in D.C., you get over 1,000 properties”, says Natascha Folens, an interior designer in Washington D.C., who specializes in Airbnb rentals in Virginia. In other words, the competition is bigger than you might think! You need to go the extra mile for your guests, so how will you stand out?
We’re going to look at some of the most successful Airbnb listings to learn from their methods of attracting guests - and good reviews - as well as some of the most cost effective ways to prep your home for paying guests and renters.
“Contemporary Uptown Phoenix Home” – a high-ranked Airbnb home located in Phoenix, Arizona, with a functionally designed and chic kitchen. Having a space to cook at home is a must for a successful home share, especially at the moment when many visitors are looking for a place they can safely prepare their own food and avoid restaurants. This kitchen is on trend with a butcher block counter island and white porcelain subway tile wall - the bonus is that it’s such an easy design to clean after guests check out!
Becoming a host and attracting potential guests really comes down to good reviews– and the secret to getting them is making sure your home offers guests an unforgettable travel experience! There’s a lot of work that goes into creating a unique guest experience, above and beyond going over a checklist of items that guests expect in your space. However, getting your property ready for home share doesn’t have to be a costly process or require an interior designer to refinish from top to bottom! With some extra energy you put into creative thinking, you can become a master Airbnb host and start boosting your earnings!
In this post, we will reveal all the best tips to help spruce up your home-to-rental design with all the functions in mind!
Find Your Rental Home’s Theme
Think about the places you’ve stayed in the past and what made them memorable – it was probably more than the great wi-fi, comfy beds, or clean sheets that impressed you, right?
A few years ago, you might have been able to get away with standard décor, but today you’re competing with the hotels, luxury brands, and thousands of other hosts in the same area. It’s not about luxury or expensive furniture, it’s all about finding your target audience so that you can tailor your décor to their desires and needs in the most unique way possible.
Are you targeting business travelers? Then a more minimalist approach might be a good option. Make sure they have access to work areas, a stocked kitchen, and a comfortable bed. Check out our post on creating a home office for some ways to maximize your rental for a working traveler!
If you think your space would be the perfect rental place for a romantic getaway, create an area with cozy décor that sets the mood for romance - champagne and other celebratory amenities for the honeymooners are a must! Emphasize luxury and comfort - and check out some other ideas to set the scene for a romantic getaway!
If your place is located in the mountains, guests who book a stay at your place are probably looking for a rustic log cabin experience! They’re looking to explore the natural beauty around them during the day and cuddle up in front of the fireplace by night. Make sure you have an outdoor fire pit for s’mores, local treats, and info on how best to visit the great outdoors!
From the easy-going style furniture to beach-themed accessories, using design elements to support a beach bungalow atmosphere for vacationers is a great idea for a beachfront apartment!
You can complete this look with a chic coastal bathroom design that doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg - adding Diamond Aqua Glass Pebble Mosaic Tile backsplash to create a beachy bathroom goes a long way to creating the perfect ambiance.
Easy to Care For Floors on a Budget
Whether you’re renting out a room or the entire home, one of the most important things to prep before inviting guests should be focusing on getting the floors right. You have no way of controlling what type of food will spill on your carpets or how hard suitcases will be dragged across your floor, for example. Unfortunately, people may not flock to rent your space anymore once a few guests leave reviews about how dirty or unkempt your floors appear – sad but true!
The first items of business should be replacing any carpeted areas with a different flooring - this will avoid guests tracking mud over your entryway carpet or making your living room floor look stained and unpleasant. Hardwood floors will pose another challenge – you’ll need frequent maintenance to avoid them looking scratched and dull unless you ask your guests not to wear their high-heeled stilettos or heavy-duty snow boots dripping with melted snow!
Going with floor tiles that are durable and easy to care for will help you save a lot of time and money down the road– you can forget about treating carpet stains or hardwood maintenance which put your good reviews at risk. Rip up the carpets and replace them with durable and easy-to-maintain porcelain floor tiles, in any color, size, or style you like!
From the traditional wood-look in classic hardwood format like our Rovere Gris to more dynamic floor designs with Melange Blue Porcelain Tile to a sophisticated stone appearance with Varana Blanco, porcelain tile options can fit any color and design scheme in your living rooms, bedrooms, entryways, kitchens or bathrooms. They’re easy to keep clean and offer a scratch-resistant surface, meaning that you’ll have to put less effort into keeping them looking fresh between guests! Porcelain tiles will create a beautiful and clean home on a budget if you’re looking for the best bang for your buck in your rental!
A Welcome to Remember
Whether it’s travel for pleasure or business, guests that prefer booking a home-rental are looking for a cozy and memorable feel. Creating an inviting and impressive place to stay starts with the place that your guests first walk into: the entryway! They say you only get one chance to make a first impression, and that feeling will stay with guests no matter how thoroughly you’ve cleaned or how cute the bedroom might be.
Just because your home doesn’t have a grand foyer doesn’t mean you can’t create a welcoming entryway for your guests. “Paint your door in an unexpected color”, says Home Staging Expert Meridith Baer, founder of the world’s #1 home staging company, Meridith Baer Home. “It sends the message that your home is well cared for. “This will definitely make your home stand out among the others”.
Showcasing classic décor details with an unexpected floor using elegant marble tile such as Roman Diamond Carrara White Waterjet Mosaic with Silver Lines is another memorable way to greet your guests.
If you plan on designing a custom foyer and investing in your space, new tile flooring can boost the look with a stylish first impression! Marble floor tiles will guarantee an inviting grand foyer in a classic, elegant taste while porcelain tiles are more suited to modern, contemporary or minimalistic looks on a budget with less maintenance.
Add a final touch by hanging mirrors to enhance natural light and make your entryway look more spacious. A hook for coats is also a thoughtful touch – this will suggest to guests you care about the details. Finally, a nice doormat will go a long way for a more homey look! You can even create an unforgettable entryway with a customized tile rug - no risk of it being stolen, and guests will be sure to share a ‘selfeet’ portrait that will create buzz about your place!
A Kitchen to Enjoy
We all know that one of the perks of renting an Airbnb is the idea of being able to save money on expensive meals by cooking at home - something you can’t get from a hotel stay! These days there’s the added benefit of being able to cook at home and stay away from restaurants or other busy areas where patrons might not be masked. If you allow guests to have full access to your kitchen, create a beautiful and functional design that will help you stand out among the sea of listings in your area and show your thoughtfulness as a host!
If your kitchen looks outdated and needs a facelift, one of the easiest updates you can do is to paint your existing cabinets, replace hardware, and add a fresh new backsplash! Adding a pop of blue color on the kitchen island and white backsplash tiles is a very tried-and-true way to spice up a kitchen. If you want to keep things simple, just add a new peel-and-stick backsplash tile with some pattern, such as hexagons to add some interest!
2.5” Carrara Hexagon Peel and Stick Tile is a quick and easy update for a rental house kitchen that needs an instant update!
To show that you care about the details, pick dinnerware that echoes your color scheme and supports your kitchen’s overall decorating theme. Utensil holders and kitchen towels matched to your dinnerware will also create a pulled-together look that guests will remember!
A final touch would be thinking about children's utensils, as most people who want to rent a place with a kitchen tend to be families. Ensure that you have wine and beer glasses too, so that guests can sit back and relax just like they do at their home.
A Cup of Character
Sipping a cup of coffee is a big part of the morning routine, especially for exhausted guests who need to take a break and relax! Even if your kitchen is small, dedicating a corner to a coffee bar, or adding a bar cart or a corner shelf to create a coffee section will help make your listing appeal to potential guests and bring character to your interior design that will impress.
A regular coffee maker is a standard appliance in a hotel, but you can go further than the hotel- experience with a French press or Espresso maker and by placing a welcome basket that includes chocolates and coffee options for your guests to try! Don’t forget to have creamer, sugar or even a honey alternative to show how thoughtful you are.
If you don’t have extra cabinets or countertop space, create a coffee bar section in the corner of your kitchen or living area by painting an old vintage dresser, adding a wood or stone top and open shelving with some stylish tile in the background– White Matte Ceramic Subway Wall Tile is an affordable way to style your walls and create a clean coffee-bar look that will match any design scheme.
Need ideas for an extra touch? Depending on the length of your guests’ stay, you can include cereals, cakes, or even a bottle of wine in this cute corner too!
A Bathroom that Shines
Proper cleaning and sanitation has always been a must for a satisfied hotel guest - and these days it is more important than ever. Guests in your Airbnb or home share will be on the lookout for cleaned areas, so making your bathroom easier to properly sanitize is going to make your life easier and their reviews better. Lighter colors in a bathroom provide an easy way to quickly spot any dirt and wipe it clean with ease, at the same time representing purity and cleanliness in the space.
To create a bathroom for your guests that is practical, clean, and stylish at all times - tiles are the most hygienic materials to spruce up the floors, walls, and showers and turn a bathroom into an upscale space that your guests will love!
Glossy Silver Hexagon Glass Mosaic Tile adds a soothing atmosphere to bathroom decor with a soft metallic finish that is both easy to clean and gives a clean feeling on any surface!
Elevate your bathroom design by updating shower walls with coastal style glass tiles for a beach bungalow inspired home that is easy to clean; floors with hygienic porcelain tiles - Esagona Intarcio White will create modern farmhouse bathroom floors with a unique hexagon pattern, or use Ice White Linear Glass Mosaic Tile on bathroom walls to showcase a modern style in a silvery color tone that brings an extra clean appeal which your guests will favor.
As a final touch, don’t forget to give your guests plenty of space for their toiletries too! Triangle-shaped shelves work great for the corners if you have no countertop space for unpacking. A small bottle of hand lotion is also an appreciated addition, especially if you live somewhere dry and cold!
Cozy Living Spaces
If your guests are not able to feel comfortable and rest, there’s really nothing else you can do to offset that with décor! Having a welcoming place for guests to sleep is crucial to a good rating for your place. A quality mattress, pillows and bedding are the top items to invest in for a rental bedroom, but how do you take that experience above and beyond a 5-star luxury hotel?
The main goal in hosting is to ensure that your home doesn’t look like a hotel room! Neutral colors are the best choice for large furniture, especially in colors like brown and dark gray because they handle wear and tear better than lighter colors. Accent pillows and throw blankets are a design essential for vacation rentals, and a great chance to personalize, add texture and color to express your home’s unique style.
This bedroom embraces the bohemian atmosphere of Joshua Tree to create a 'treehouse' atmosphere. It's thoughtfully designed with accents that give the space an extra pop of color, pattern and a lovely warmth and add to the Southern California meets Southwest flavor of the desert rental house. Don’t be afraid to show personality with some local art, objects, books, or even photos of streets from your city to add extra unique charm!
Remember that people love home rentals because they want to experience life through someone else’s eyes. Each region has its own unique style, so think about adding a bit more personality to your living room besides placing just a comfy couch and a nice sturdy dining table. Wall art, figurines, pottery, a touch of local history with some black and white photos are affordable ways for an upscale look. Include a homey feel with a bowl of seashells on the coffee table if your house is close to the beach, a woven fabric or wood to bring an authentic feel to a mountain cabin, and definitely a tiled fireplace to warm up winter destinations!
A tiled fireplace with Midnight Blue and Quartz Geode Glass Tile is a gorgeous feature in this cabin décor with mountain views that adds an instant warmth to make a cozy retreat, or adds to a nautical-style living room by adding navy blue colors to a tiled fireplace surround and playing off white shiplap walls and driftwood decor!
Looking to add an extra touch? Dim light switches sure do make a home feel warm and cozy! Add a dimmer switch into the living rooms and bedrooms, or decorate an empty section with fairy lights to make your home glow with warmth.
Open Air Living Room
Who said decorating ideas should end at the front door? When you have an outdoor space, make it an extra room and bring your style and color scheme outside so that your rental feels larger to guests. You can easily turn a small patio into an outdoor living room with durable and affordable materials to make it look fresh and inviting, or create a deck that is as welcoming as your interiors!
The most important aspect of your outdoor décor will be your flooring choice, because remember – time is money, and money is time. Your flooring has to be spotless, cleaned in the least amount of time, with little need for maintenance or replacement over the years. More importantly, outdoor floors must withstand all weather conditions while giving your patio a warm aesthetic to welcome guests. To bring coziness to an outdoor living area with the added bonus of durability, porcelain wood-look tile is a great option to beautify your place with the maximum return on your investment.
Vancouver Natural is a water-resistant wood-look porcelain tile that is a worry-free and appealing option for outdoor living spaces which can become an additional space for your guests to relax.
Complete the look of your patio or deck with a comfy seating area, rugs and pillows, or add a fun table, grill or dining set to maximize your property’s potential!
As a final touch, provide ambient lighting for your patio or deck, or brighten up your backyard- outdoor string lights is a budget-friendly way to add a wow-factor.
Ultimately, becoming a great Airbnb host comes down to one key factor: a great guest experience. “Every few months I like to spend a night at my rental properties,” says Scott Shatford, an Airbnb host who has earned over $100K on Airbnb each year since 2012. “I put myself in the shoes of the most demanding guests and experience the home just as they would.” Just like you wouldn’t serve a homemade meal you made without tasting it first, don’t assume your property is great before looking at it through your guests’ eyes. At the end of the day, make sure your guests come to a home away from home!
Have you ever tried renting your space with Airbnb? What do you think has the biggest impact on guest experiences? Check out some more renovation tips for rental investors in our post on how to save money while flipping a house! Comment below to share with us, we’d like to know!