So you’ve decided to invest in an airbnb property and are ready to dive in! Getting started with Airbnb hosting can be a thrilling journey. One key aspect that can truly make your property stand out from the crowd is the way it’s furnished. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to furnish your Airbnb listing and give it that irresistible charm that guests will love.
1. Understand Your Audience
Understanding your audience is arguably one of the most critical aspects of hosting on Airbnb, and it can significantly influence the way you furnish and present your listing.
Identify Your Ideal Guest
Think about the type of guests who would likely be attracted to your property and the area where it’s located. Are you in a city’s bustling business district? Then, you might attract business travelers. Are you near family attractions or in a quiet, suburban neighborhood? Families might be your main demographic. Perhaps you’re hosting a beachfront property or a cozy cabin in the woods? Vacationing couples or groups of friends could be your primary audience.
Understanding your ideal guest’s needs and expectations will help you tailor your Airbnb listing to meet (and exceed) them.
Consider Their Needs
Once you’ve identified your target audience, consider their needs and expectations:
- Business Travelers: They generally require a reliable internet connection, a comfortable workspace, and proximity to public transportation or the city center. Quiet surroundings for restful sleep can be another important aspect.
- Families: If families with children are your primary audience, you need to ensure that your property is child-friendly. This can involve having cribs, high-chairs, and safety gates available. A well-equipped kitchen and plenty of indoor and outdoor space for children to play can also be attractive to family groups.
- Couples: For couples on a romantic getaway, the ambiance will be important. Consider comfortable king or queen beds, luxurious touches like a hot tub or a fire pit, and a well-equipped kitchen for cozy meals in.
- Groups of Friends: If your property caters to groups, ensure you have enough sleeping arrangements, a spacious lounge area, and possibly amenities like a BBQ or games.
Research Your Competition
Look at other successful Airbnb listings in your area that cater to the same demographic. What amenities do they offer? How have they furnished and described their property? Learning from your competition can provide valuable insights.
Ask for Feedback
Finally, once you’ve had a few guests, ask them for feedback. Was there anything they felt was missing? Any suggestions for improvement? Their first-hand experience can be invaluable for refining your offerings.
2. Choose a Theme or Style
Picking a theme or style for your Airbnb can help create a cohesive look and feel, making your listing more appealing and memorable to potential guests. Here’s a deeper look into how you can achieve this:
Define Your Style
The style you choose should align with your property type and location. For example, a beach house might lend itself to a coastal or nautical theme, while a cabin in the woods could adopt a rustic or woodland theme. A city apartment could be chic and contemporary, while a countryside cottage might suit a vintage or shabby-chic style.
Research Interior Design Styles
Take some time to research different interior design styles to find what resonates with you and your property. Are you a fan of minimalist design with its clean lines and neutral color palettes? Or maybe you love the warmth and coziness of the farmhouse style? This article from Home Stratosphere provides an overview of 14 different interior design styles to get you started.
Create a Mood Board
A mood board can help you visualize your chosen style and make sure all elements work well together. It can include anything from color schemes, furniture styles, textures, patterns, and accessories. Pinterest is a great tool for creating digital mood boards.
Consistency is Key
Ensure your chosen theme or style is consistent throughout the property. This doesn’t mean every room should look identical, but the general aesthetic should flow from one room to the next. For example, if you’re going for a modern industrial look, you might use elements like exposed brick, metal accents, and sleek, simple furniture consistently across your space.
While style is important, remember that functionality is key in a rental property. Ensure the furniture is comfortable and that the layout is user-friendly. The most beautiful space can receive poor reviews if guests aren’t comfortable or can’t find what they need.
Add Personal Touches
Injecting your personal style or local flavor can make your Airbnb unique. Local artwork, photographs of nearby landmarks, or furnishings made by local artisans can add character and charm, giving guests a more immersive travel experience.
Change with the Seasons
Consider having different decor elements for different seasons, especially if your property is located in an area with distinct seasons. For example, lighter linens and fresh flowers can brighten up the space in spring and summer, while warm throws and candles can make your property feel cozy in the fall and winter.
Choosing a theme or style is not just about aesthetics, but also about creating a certain vibe or atmosphere that can enhance your guests’ overall experience. So take the time to think about what kind of experience you want to offer and how your style can help achieve that.
3. Essential Furnishings
When it comes to furnishing your Airbnb, there are some key items that are essential for ensuring your guests have a comfortable stay. Let’s break down these essential furnishings:
The bed is one of the most crucial pieces of furniture. Investing in a high-quality mattress can significantly improve your guests’ experience. Provide various pillow types and extra blankets to cater to different comfort preferences. A bedside table with a lamp is a must, and if space allows, consider a dresser or wardrobe for clothing storage. Here’s a guide to choosing the right mattress from Sleep Foundation.
Living Area Furnishings
In the living area, provide comfortable seating options like a sofa and armchairs. A coffee table is also essential – it’s where guests will likely place their drinks, books, laptops, etc. If space allows, consider adding extra seating like poufs or ottomans. A TV with access to streaming services can be a great addition for entertainment.
Even if your Airbnb is small, try to include a space where guests can sit down to eat. This might be a traditional dining table with chairs, a breakfast bar with stools, or even just a small bistro table for two.
Even if your kitchen is small or basic, it should have essential items like a microwave, refrigerator, stovetop, and oven or toaster oven. Provide sufficient cooking utensils, pots and pans, plates, cups, glasses, and cutlery for the number of guests your property accommodates. A coffee maker and kettle for hot drinks are also important.
In the bathroom, make sure there’s enough storage space for toiletries. A shower curtain or screen, a toilet roll holder, towel racks, and a good-sized mirror are also necessary.
In today’s digital age, many travelers require a workspace. This can be as simple as a small table or desk with a comfortable chair. A desk lamp and nearby electrical outlets for charging devices are also useful.
Good lighting is crucial in all areas of your property. This includes overhead lighting, task lighting (like desk lamps or reading lamps), and ambient lighting (like table lamps or wall sconces) to create a cozy atmosphere in the evenings.
Don’t forget about storage. Provide enough hangers in the closets, cabinets in the bathroom, and perhaps some storage space in the living area for guests’ items.
If your property includes an outdoor space, furnish it with some comfortable seating and a table. This can be as simple as a couple of Adirondack chairs or a full outdoor dining set, depending on the space available.
Remember, while style and theme are important, comfort is key. Your guests should feel at home in your Airbnb, and the furniture and fixtures you provide play a significant role in that. This Airbnb article gives an overview of amenities that guests appreciate the most.
4. Kitchen Equipment
A well-equipped kitchen is often a major selling point for Airbnb guests. Whether they’re families wanting to cook meals, business travelers needing a quick breakfast, or long-term guests planning to prepare their food, the kitchen’s functionality can significantly impact their stay. Let’s dive into what you might need:
Start with the basics: a stove and oven for cooking meals, a refrigerator for storing food, and a microwave for quick reheating. If possible, also consider a dishwasher – it could be a deciding factor for guests who prefer the convenience of quick cleanup.
Small appliances like a coffee maker and kettle are must-haves. Many people enjoy starting their day with a cup of coffee or tea, so these will be greatly appreciated. Additionally, a toaster or toaster oven can be helpful for quick, easy meals.
Cookware and Utensils
Supply a selection of pots and pans for different types of cooking, including a frying pan, a couple of saucepans, and a larger pot for soups or pasta. Also, provide basic cooking utensils like a spatula, ladle, tongs, and a good set of kitchen knives.
Dinnerware and Cutlery
Provide enough plates, bowls, glasses, mugs, and cutlery to accommodate the maximum number of guests your property can host, plus a few extra. It’s also a good idea to provide both a set of formal dinnerware for nice dinners and a set of everyday dinnerware for casual meals.
Additional Tools and Gadgets
Don’t forget about the smaller tools and gadgets that guests might need, such as a can opener, bottle opener, peeler, grater, measuring cups and spoons, a mixing bowl, baking sheet, and a corkscrew. If space and budget allow, you could also include a blender, a slow cooker, or even an Instant Pot, which can be especially useful for longer stays.
Equip the kitchen with basic cleaning supplies, including dish soap, dishwasher tablets (if you have a dishwasher), cleaning spray, sponges, and dishcloths or towels.
While not a requirement, some hosts choose to stock a few pantry staples like salt, pepper, cooking oil, coffee, tea, and sugar. These little touches can make a big difference to guests, particularly upon arrival when they may not have had a chance to go grocery shopping yet.
Remember, the goal is to make sure your guests have everything they need to prepare and enjoy a meal comfortably. It can help to spend a night or two in your property (or have a friend or family member do so) to ensure nothing important is missing. Here’s a comprehensive list of kitchen essentials from Airbnb’s host resources.
5. Add Personal Touches
One of the best personal touches you can provide is a guidebook of local recommendations. This could include your favorite restaurants, coffee shops, parks, attractions, or even less-known local spots that tourists might not find on their own. Guests appreciate insider tips that allow them to experience the area like a local. Airbnb has a tool for creating digital guidebooks, or you could create a physical one to leave in your property.
Personalized Welcome Note
A handwritten welcome note can go a long way in making guests feel special. In your note, you can express your excitement about their stay, wish them a good trip, and remind them that you’re available if they need anything. Some hosts even leave a small welcome gift, like a local treat, a bottle of wine, or some fresh flowers.
Decor That Reflects the Local Area
Incorporate elements of the local culture or history into your decor. For example, you could hang up artwork by local artists, include books by local authors, or use decor items that are traditionally made in your area. This not only adds a personal touch but also helps guests feel more connected to their travel destination.
Guest Comfort Items
Think about what items could make your guests’ stay more comfortable. This might include things like a selection of teas and coffees, a basket of toiletries in the bathroom, or cozy throws on the sofa for chilly evenings. If your area is known for a particular weather element, like strong sun or frequent rain, consider providing items like sunscreen or umbrellas.
Attention to Detail
Sometimes, the smallest details can make the biggest difference. This could be as simple as providing high-quality linens and towels, offering a selection of pillows to suit different preferences, or ensuring your kitchen is stocked with a few basic cooking ingredients. These small considerations can make a big impression.
Create Unique Experiences
If possible, create unique experiences related to your property or area. If you’re in wine country, perhaps offer a wine tasting session. If you’re by the sea, maybe you could provide beach equipment. If your property has a fireplace, leaving marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate for s’mores could be a lovely touch.
Adding personal touches to your Airbnb can make guests feel more at home and create a memorable experience that sets your property apart. Here’s an article from Airbnb on creating a welcoming environment for your guests. Remember, hosting is not just about providing a space, but about creating a positive experience for your guests.
A dedicated workspace is becoming increasingly important to travelers, especially with the rise of remote work and digital nomads. Here are some tips on setting up a workspace in your Airbnb:
Dedicated Desk Area
A dedicated desk or table is crucial. It doesn’t have to be a large office desk; even a small table that can accommodate a laptop and a few essentials will do. Ensure it’s positioned in a well-lit area of the home, preferably near a window for natural light.
Invest in a comfortable chair. It doesn’t necessarily need to be an office chair, but it should offer good support for extended periods of sitting.
While natural light is ideal for working, additional lighting is also important. A desk lamp or a floor lamp nearby can ensure the workspace is well-lit, especially during evenings or on overcast days.
A reliable, high-speed internet connection is crucial for most remote work. Make sure your WiFi signal is strong in the workspace area. You might need to consider a WiFi extender if the workspace is far from your router.
Make sure there are enough power outlets near the workspace for charging laptops, phones, and other devices. If outlets are limited, consider providing a power strip.
If possible, locate the workspace in a quieter part of your property, away from high traffic areas or noise from the street. This will allow guests to work without too much disruption.
Stock the workspace with basic office supplies like pens, notepads, sticky notes, scissors, and a stapler. You could also provide a printer for guests who may need to print documents, though this is not necessary for all listings.
Bookshelf or Storage
If space allows, a bookshelf or a small storage unit can be useful for guests to store their work materials.
Consider adding a small plant or a piece of artwork to the workspace to make it more inviting. You could also leave a local guidebook or magazine for guests to peruse during their breaks.
Remember, the goal is to create a workspace that not only meets your guests’ needs but also is a pleasant, productive place to work. This guide from Apartment Therapy offers some great tips on setting up a small home office. By providing a suitable workspace, you’ll attract a wider range of guests and meet the growing demand for work-friendly accommodations.
7. Outdoor Spaces
A well-curated outdoor space can greatly enhance your guests’ experience at your Airbnb property. This could be a backyard, a balcony, a patio, a deck, or even just a small outdoor nook. Here’s how you can make the most out of these spaces:
Seating is a must in any outdoor space. Depending on your area, this could be an outdoor sofa or lounge chairs, a dining set, a hammock, or just a couple of sturdy and comfortable chairs. The key is to provide a place where guests can sit back, relax, and enjoy the outdoors.
Shade and Weather Protection
Consider the local climate. If your area gets a lot of sun, an umbrella, a pergola, or a shade sail could provide necessary relief. If you’re in a cooler climate, outdoor heaters or a fire pit could make the space more comfortable.
Outdoor lighting not only ensures that the space can be used after the sun goes down, but it also adds a lot of ambiance. This could be in the form of string lights, solar-powered lanterns, or even just some candles.
If space allows, an outdoor dining area can be a great addition. This could be a full dining set, a picnic table, or a small bistro set. A BBQ grill could also be appreciated by guests who want to cook outdoors.
Keep the outdoor space well-maintained with neat landscaping. This might mean mowing the lawn, trimming hedges, or caring for flower beds. Even for smaller spaces like balconies, consider adding a few potted plants to bring in some greenery.
Depending on your property and the type of guests you’re catering to, consider offering outdoor games (like cornhole or badminton) or relaxation items like a hammock or a hot tub.
Ensure your outdoor space offers sufficient privacy. This could be through strategic placement of plants, privacy screens, or fencing.
Ensure the area is safe, with secure railings on balconies or decks, and non-slip surfaces if the area gets wet. If you have a pool, ensure it meets safety regulations.
Here’s an article from Airbnb that talks about outdoor amenities that guests appreciate the most. Whether your outdoor space is large or small, taking the time to make it comfortable, inviting, and functional can significantly enhance your guests’ experience.
8. High-Quality Photos
High-quality photos are arguably one of the most critical aspects of your Airbnb listing. They’re the first impression potential guests get of your space, and they play a significant role in their decision-making process. Here are some key points to consider:
Hire a Professional Photographer
If it’s within your budget, consider hiring a professional real estate or interior photographer. They’ll have the necessary equipment and expertise to highlight your space in the best possible way. Airbnb even has a program in some cities where they connect hosts with local professional photographers.
Use Natural Light
Natural light can make your space look bigger, brighter, and more inviting. The best time for photography is usually in the morning or late afternoon when the light is softer. Try to avoid using a flash, as it can create harsh shadows and distort colors.
Clean and Declutter
Make sure your space is spotless and clutter-free before you start shooting. This may seem obvious, but small details, like cords, personal items, or trash cans, can really stand out in a photo.
Highlight Key Areas
Ensure to capture all the important areas of your space — the bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen, living room, dining area, and any special amenities like a home office, outdoor space, or unique features.
Showcase Unique Features
If there’s anything that sets your space apart — a fantastic view, a beautiful piece of furniture, a cozy reading nook, a luxurious bathtub — make sure to highlight it in your photos.
Use Different Angles
Don’t just stick to one viewpoint. Experiment with different angles and perspectives to give potential guests a more accurate sense of the space.
Edit Your Photos
After you’ve taken your photos, some post-processing can help improve them. This could be as simple as adjusting the brightness, contrast, and saturation, or more advanced editing like removing distracting elements. Just be careful not to distort the reality of your space — you want the photos to accurately represent what guests can expect.
Remember, the aim of your photos is to showcase your property at its best, while providing an accurate representation of what guests can expect. Airbnb provides a helpful photography guide for hosts, with tips on how to take great photos of your space. By investing time and effort into your property’s photography, you can significantly enhance your listing’s appeal, potentially attracting more guests and enabling you to charge a higher rate.
Remember, the key to successful Airbnb hosting is creating a comfortable, functional, and appealing space that makes guests feel at home. Happy furnishing!