Building a Guest House - Tips for STR readiness

Hello AirHosts!

I have been lurking here for quite a while, but this is my first post. We are about to break ground on a guest house in my backyard. It is intended primarily for personal guests, but of course when we don’t have friends or family here, we will have it available on AirBnb. Since I have the unusual advantage of building while knowing I will be using the space for short-term rentals, what are some things you wish you could build in to make hosting easier? For instance, I am planning on installing keypad door hardware for self check-in and making the bathroom as easy to clean as possible. Please tell me what you would include if you were building your rental space. Thank you!

My vote goes to wall-hung toilets. Reason: Everyone who has ever tried to clean behind a normal “standing” toilet will know why :grin:.

Here in Peru they unfortunately came at a steep premium, not to mention the quest to first of all find them here :roll_eyes: and all the hassle :roll_eyes::roll_eyes::weary: to get them correctly installed, but to me it’s been all totally worth it: No more days of crawling on hands and knees to get behind the toilet with all it’s dirty nooks and crannies :relaxed::blush::grin:.

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Smart outlets, lights and thermostat so you can regulate power without going into the rental while guests are there. Use LED lights and water saving fixtures. Make it as environmentally friendly as you can afford. Install a camera or cameras so you can see if they are trying to sneak in guests or party. I used brush nickel faucets because they hide scratches and mineral deposits. If you have “hard water” where you live that leave mineral deposits don’t use the dark oiled bronze fixtures. Don’t buy the most expensive materials because they will get worn, stained, scratched, broken, etc. Use tile with throw rugs not wood or wall to wall carpet for the floor. Make sure there is plenty of natural light from skylights or windows but a dark place to sleep. Hopefully the sleeping area is separate and not part of a studio. If so then get darkening shades for the plenty of windows and skip a skylight. Use a durable semi gloss paint because you’ll have to scrub it.

I remodeled two years ago, adding onto my house. I have a few regrets. I wish I’d added another $1000 for another 10 square feet. I wish I’d priced out a heated floor for the bathroom. I think that would be neat way to heat the bathroom. I don’t have a good place to put a small heater in mine. I’ve been told I need a more powerful exhaust fan in the bathroom. I have the bottom of the line one as well as a window but it still gets steamy in there. My shower is a walk in with no door. I could put a shower curtain and I might. Glass walls and doors look cool and make the bathroom look bigger but they are a pain to keep clean looking.


Even here they are at least double what a standard toilet costs. I wish my contractor had thought to give me that option considering how small my guest bathroom turned out to be. But it’s a great option for someone who needs to build a small bathroom.

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We have a stand-alone STR space about 18x20.

Tile floors with throw rugs throughout – MUCH easier and faster to clean than carpet.

Large enough space so that the Queen sized bed is not tucked in a corner – space to walk around three sides when cleaning and making the bed.

AC/Heater with lockable setting so guests can’t set it too high or too low.

I have a mini potty in my guest suite. Not sure what it is called officially but it’s definitely smaller than the bigger ones I have in my home.

I’ve just choked on a mouthful of tea! What’s a mini potty??? In UK English a potty is for infants being trained out of nappies/diapers, i.e “potty trained”. I won’t describe the visions this induced…


Thanks, everyone! Sounds like the consensus is easy to clean! I’m doing that in my own house, too :slight_smile:

Yes, hard floors with throw rugs for sure. Maybe even those FLOR squares that you can pull up individually. I wish I could do a wall-hung toilet but the price and the difficulty of repair is stopping me. I will get a skirted one, though - hopefully that will help somewhat.

The AC/heater with lockable settings - would those settings be on the thermostat? I don’t know much about HVAC or smart homes, but will certainly start doing my homework.

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I think that you should build it to YOUR needs first. What if tomorrow Airbnb will stop in your area or who knows what new law will apply? First, it should be the way you like it and want it to be.

Great advice!

I get a lot of compliments on how well designed and outfitted my Airbnb space is considering how small it is. The remodel/addition was done with my aging sister in mind. It looked like she was not going to be able to live independently in the near future and though she had a husband his health has not always been 100% either. I wouldn’t have spent $16,000 strictly on an Airbnb room. But in thinking about creating a second master suite that would suit my needs and my sister’s I did pretty well. My sister passed away just after it was completed and never got to see the finished product but she’s helped a lot of Airbnb guests have a nice stay.

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Lol. It’s a loo that seems to be much smaller than the norm. Anyone in construction know what I’m talking about?

Not here they don’t! Much guffawing all round next door…

K9, I’m sorry to hear about your sister. I am actually building this place with my parents in mind, so that is my first priority. But as long as we’re doing it, might as well make a little money when they’re at home in Michigan! And if I can make that any easier on myself, I will :slight_smile: Fortunately, most of the things that are conducive to AirBNB are also conducive to aging parents.

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The best sound insulation you can afford, unless you already live in a very quiet area. And even then, it’s a good idea. I admit to having a bit of a obsession about quietness, but I still think it’s something that everyone can appreciate. I believe this does add to the expense, but it definitely also adds value. At least, that would be a high priority for me. I’d also consider good thermal insulation important to keep down heating and cooling costs. And in a similar vein, if you area is prone to precipitation, give some thought to what kind of roofing you should use. Though this is something I know little about.

People often neglect basic infrastructure issues in favor of interior details, which I think is a mistake. Think top to bottom, imo.


Likewise, my unit was built when a family member was diagnosed with motor neuron disease. Doing Airbnb turned a sad part of the house into something useful for travelers, was interesting and fun to outfit for STR (I learned to lay tile! Put it behind my kitchenette), and I’ve met some nice people. That transformation was a major motivation, and I hope to get more people with disabilities and provide them with a comfortable place to stay. So the money was like a cool extra benefit. Now haha it seems essential in order for me to fund my travels and theater attendance!

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We have a smart Nest thermostat in our part of the house and I just love it - you can control it from your smart phone. Google it to see what its features are.

If you’re in the States, see if your energy provider offers a rebate for it. Here in So Cal SCE gave us $125 of the $225 cost.

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Whatever you do DO NOT get a “living finish” for your kitchen or bathroom hardware. Some examples of this would be oil rubbed bronze, polished nickel and the like. Stick with chrome or with those finishes that have a PVD coating. It’s all about the cleaning and what is indestructable…