Advice for renting in law suite, with or without a living room

Hello, I am new to this and looking for any advice on setting up our space. Our home has an 1100 sq ft, 2 bedroom in-law area in the daylight basement, with kitchen, full bath, and laundry. The bedrooms are roughly the same size. There is a separate entrance to the area.

There is also a 400 sq ft rec room in the basement, which we’d like to keep for ourselves and our 2 young kids. The rec room is separated from the in-law area with a door.

We would like to rent out the in-law area, and I am considering whether to:

  1. Convert one bedroom into a sort of living room with a comfortable sleeper sofa, TV, etc., so that guests would have the option of the space being a 1 bedroom and a living room, or a 2 bedroom space.


  1. Not worrying about a couch, and putting a bed in each bedroom, with maybe a TV in one or both of the bedrooms.

Would either setup be more ideal? I realize I would have to be upfront with renters about the setup and having young kids in the house. Thanks for any help. I’m trying to plan ahead and make the most out of the rental.

Is there any way you can squeeze in a small love seat, TV and coffee table in any other space besides the bedrooms? Is there a foyer to the suite? Is the kitchen along just one wall? If so, how much space is there between the cabinets and the wall on the opposite side?

I personally like having a sofa to watch TV or read a book. However, I would be reluctant to lose a bedroom. It’s nice to have the second bedroom just in case you have a young family, there would be a bedroom for the kids.

I don’t like sofa beds because they’re so uncomfortable to sleep on. And a sofa bed can be easily be broken by kids jumping on the bed. The metal frames bend easily.

If the bedrooms are large enough, you can create a reading nook with a small round table and two wing chairs and a wall mounted TV.


What is your target market? Are you in tourist destination? Are you trying to attract families? If you want to have host families with kids could your rec room be used by such families? It sounds like you want to use it while you have guests but don’t be surprised if you find that you don’t. Whether you disclose it or not, as soon as you have guests complain about noise from the rec room you’ll be trying to keep your family out of there while guests are in the rental.

OTOH, if you have a door to keep them out of your part of the house, and a way to secure your things, the rec room could be a selling point. Maybe create a second listing with a higher price that includes access to the rec room.

What is your competition like? Is your neighborhood full of basement apartments with 2 bedrooms? Do they appear to busy? Maybe you could stand out by offering a living area.

Do you want 2 or 3 night minimum stays or are you willing to host one night road trippers?

Aside from the market, properly cleaning a 2nd bedroom is a lot easier that cleaning a living area in my opinion. Others might argue that a living area doesn’t have anything that has to be laundered. So consider how you would furnish each room and if you are cleaning it yourself or having a crew in.


I lean toward the living room option with a REALLY comfortable convertible bed. One of my relatives has a very comfortable chest bed. It looks like bureau but easily makes into a queen sized bed. Depending on the room then you could have other seating. I like this because it gives the option of leaving the bed set up for longer stays while still having that little extra space. I often travel with someone whose sleep schedule varies from mine and I appreciate another space for each of us to use while the other is sleeping. The most comfortable sofa bed I ever slept in actually had a built in air mattress but people kept wrecking the tubing folding and unfolding the sofa which proved expensive for the host. TV in each room is a good idea and you can find a second used one cheaply. Guests do like a table with a couple chairs in one of the rooms.

PS I just remembered a suite that I stayed at in Arizona and they had a murphy bed. That is a nicer option than a sofa bed. It was lovely. When closed it looked like cabinetry.

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Murphy beds are great. But if the host wants that room to be a convertible bedroom/living room, there would have to be room to fold out the Murphy bed with a sofa and whatever other furniture they have in there.

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Thank you!

We live in a neighborhood near a University and its associated hospitals. So we hope to host young professionals and families. Would prefer 2 night minimum stays. Our neighborhood is a mix of 1-2 bed cottages and 1 bed basement apartments. The overall occupancy rate for the neighborhood is 77% according to AirDNA, although it definitely varies.

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Thanks! Yes a Murphy Bed is something I am also considering.


If most of the spaces are only 1 bed then I’d probably try a two bedroom set up. I wouldn’t invest a lot to start because of inflation, recession, oversaturation of the market, new Airbnb emphasis on unique spaces instead of what they started with. The best way to learn is to jump in and start doing it.


Back when I rented my airbnb as either a 1 or 2 bedroom, in the second bedroom I used a daybed with a pop up trundle so guests could choose to have a 1 bedroom with a den or 2 bedrooms and the third room was a kitchenette.

I no longer say the second from can be either a bedroom or den because I like it better with just a couple vs 4 people but you could set it up like this and then ask the guests if you want it made up.


Got it. I like your idea though of opening up the rec space as a separate listing. Maybe we will consider that depending on how things go



If I understand you correctly, having the den option did not attract as many people looking for a 2 bedroom place (i.e. groups of 2 or 4 people)? Is that why you got rid of the den? Have you found that your occupancy suffers at all by having 2 bedrooms and a kitchenette, and no den/lounge space?

Super helpful and thanks again

Actually, no that was not the case. I definitely had more booking and more money (I charged after the 2nd guest) but I prefer less people in my space. Also, the den is above my bedroom so it’s quieter. Couples go out more where 3-4 might hangout more in the space.

I’ve been doing this since 2016 and after I closed for the pandemic and then re-opened without the 2nd bedroom and also block day before and after, I’m much happier running the STR and less burn-out.

My advise is to read through the forum. You will learn a lot. Mostly about what to expect from Airbnb (basically a booking platform and payment) and also the types of guests, etc. Good luck.


I think she’s saying the opposite- that room is now a den with no bedroom option. And she changed it because she prefers only hosting 2 people rather than 4, not because the 2 bedroom option wasn’t attracting guests. Many hosts have started out trying to sleep a certain number of people, but found that less is easier to deal with for many reasons. (less wear and tear, quieter guests, less laundry and cleaning to be done.

There is a tendency for new hosts to try to cram in more guests than a place can comfortably house. Like they will list a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom house for 7 guests, by having a sleeper sofa in the living room and putting an extra single bed in a bedroom along with the queen bed. Yet they only have a dining table and seating adequate for 4, as well as living room seating for 4.


An issue that comes to mind about having two bedrooms and no living room is that people traveling together will want to hang out with each other. And some groups of four may just hang out on a bed together, but some won’t want to or may even be physically uncomfortable (it would only take one bad knee).

A compromise may be 1 bedroom with the largest bed that will fit and one bedroom with a twin daybed and a TV, etc. That way you still get families, duos traveling together that don’t sleep in the same bed and even a couple + one, and they all could use the daybed room as a living room to socialize but you won’t end up with two adult couples who don’t where to hang out together.

Otherwise, if you have room for a table and 4 chairs in the kitchen, I’d go for the most comfortable set you can find.

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