Decorating guestrooms to reflect surrounding scenery?

My wife and I have been Airbnb hosts since June, when we converted our two-level home’s downstairs two bedrooms, TV lounge and full-bathroom into a rental space. The downstairs furniture (beds, dressers, sofas, coffee table, TV hutch, etc.) was left by the last homeowners, which is all top-quality.

We are in Northern California’s Sierra mountain region, with pine and redwood forests, bears, deer and wintertime snow skiing.

I recently viewed surrounding Airbnbs online. Most nearby rental cabins and private guestrooms have mountain-theme decorations and rugged-wood furnishings in their online photos: wooden bear statues, antique skis and snowshoes mounted on the walls, knotty-pine bedframes, throw blankets and rugs and sofa pillows with bear and pine tree images, framed wall photos of mountain landscapes, etc. See example photo below.

Our downstairs guest furniture features: one bedroom with a cozy-country look, one bedroom with a 1930s “Art Deco” black-and-white theme, and the TV lounge has a modern-Italian feel.

All arriving guests tell us how nice our guestrooms are. However, I wonder if guests want a more “mountain experience” when viewing our guestroom photos and deciding to stay in our mountain region?

It would cost at least $6,000 to change our three-room furniture and decorations to mimic a mountain theme. Plus, I would have to sell the existing downstairs furniture.

As an Airbnb host, do you furnish and decorate your guestrooms to reflect the nearby scenery: seaside, wine valley, desert plains, mountain area, farmlands, large metropolitan city, etc.?


My cabin in the mountains is decorated like a cabin… Much of what you described above. If I were at the beach I would likely decorate accordingly. That being said 6K is a lot to spend, maybe one room at a time as you collect stuff? I do not know if it would actually increase bookings if you did though.


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Not exactly. I have sort of a travel theme with emphasis on my town. There are two posters done by UTEP graphic design students and 4 photos of local scenes taken my a former student of mine. But I don’t go overboard with a southwestern or border theme. I have a decor that matches what I am trying to do. It’s a little unique but not anything award winning.

As for the cabin theme in the mountains, it’s okay but if everyone is doing it then I’d be disinclined to do it. I don’t like Airbnbs that look exactly alike. And too much wood, even in a cabin is too much. I definitely wouldn’t do a wholesale change that costs $6000. I personally would rather see a Pendleton or Hudson’s Bay point blanket in a half fold over a white duvet instead of a over a comforter that looks like Bed in a Bag from the Walmart in Caspar WY as pictured.


I think guests do like a theme or “twist” in the decor. I’ve got an “Our Nation’s Capital” plus a little bit of a Northern Virginia thing going in my suite. People like it.
However, if you’ve got the occupancy you want at the price you want at the star ratings you aspire to, you sure don’t need to cut into your profit margin by redecorating! (As an aside, I’m also listed on Homeaway, and it actually shows me what other properties my guests have looked at, which is helpful in terms of amenity and decor hints.)
If you want to thematicize the place a bit, could you instead do California-themed individual rooms at less cost? For example, make your country bedroom the “mountain cabin” with some minor decor additions (quilt, pillows, redwood prints on the walls, buy some old skis and hang them up, etc.); make your deco room an Old Hollywood theme (black and white prints of early stars of the silver screen, a miniature Hollywood sign you could make out of scrap wood), and make your modern Italian room California wine/agricultural themed or just tweak it to tilt toward California Modern style, the furniture style should be compatible.


Check out the National Park store for prints . Sometimes Sierra Trading Post online has super cheap canvas prints of natural attractions and destinations also.


While I think decorating according to the theme is nice the 6k is a steep price and I dont think it’s justified.
Id suggest do it in time and perhaps look for sales, bargains etc. for example instead if buying a brand new sofa, perhaps you can re-upholster, maybe even yourselves if you take a class… get stuff from ebay, stuff like that.

There are several local furniture stores that specialize in “mountain-theme” decorations and furniture, as they market to homeowners in our large mountain region. These specialized furnishings are expensive that have a “rustic cabin” look.

Here is one such furniture store near me:

I didn’t read anything in that post about thinking the change of decorations it would mean higher occupancy, higher price, or better guest ratings… so… the question I have to ask is whether you are (a) actually doing it for guests or (b) doing it for yourself and justifying it as something for guests. Nothing necessarily wrong with either, BTW. If you are not short on cash, then (b) means you redecorate your guest room and get a tax deduction for it. But, if you’re really in the (a) category, then you should be thinking about how the expense gets you higher occupancy, higher price, better ratings, etc.

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I think it would be nice to decorate and go for that mountain theme. Perhaps you can keep the furniture and just add throw pillows, quilts, etc with that mountain theme. Just little touches here and there without spending $6000. Maybe it might be best to hire a decorator that can blend what you already have with some new mountain theme things.

I would not want my place to look like everyone else’s. I am on an island on the east coast. Im surrounded by water, boats etc etc. My suite does not have all the nautical/ocean crap that many others do. Yes- I have sailboat artwork but it is by Van Gogh… my house is a beach bungalow style. A little bit country- but just comfortable and welcoming.20190329_051648


Don, I definitely would reflect your location in some way, but there are multiple ways to do that. Our place came furnished, but we did some painting of the furniture to make it more stylish, but it’s not cabiny and we are in the mountains. What we did do is to put up artwork (canvas pictures example below) that show scenes from around our place. And we have soap that is locally made, plus some other “local” touches that help connect our place to the region we are in.


I am influenced by the surroundings, in my case a historical port city. While I go for a local flavour I incorporate it through local art works, crafts and authors etc. Pride in one’s locality shines through without being too corny, kitch or cliched.
I don’t want it to be a museum however.
You don’t have to go the way of your neighbours to have a local feel.


I was curious, if my Airbnb webpage photos not showing “rustic mountain” furnishings would deter possible guests who want a “total mountain experience” during their stay here. Having excellent guestroom photos will attract more visitors, also based on the rental rate.

P.S.: Our last house was in a San Francisco Bay Area boating community. Too many neighborhood homes were decorated in a nautical-theme, for my taste.

Thanks everyone for your comments.

If you’re getting a lot of bookings now, why would you even think of spending more to redecorate a relatively new place? My place is nice, clean, and uncluttered. I believe in keeping it simple and easy to care for. I’ve stayed in overdecorated and cluttered AirBnBs, and all the kitschy junk just got in my way.

Our little townhouse is beside a Canal, so every now and then we decorate the Canal with the accessories most commonly seen in urban Canals in England - an abandoned shopping trolley, an old chair or a traffic cone.


Thanks for the links. Ordered them!

I live looking out over the sea and do indeed go for a sea theme in the colours, green-blue rather than Greek blue-white. I bought most of furniture and fittings on Ebay for about $2500 I reckon. Like yours, mine is a converted downstairs but the furniture left by the previous owners was “unique” to say the least. I recently bought this painting on Ebay for $450. Also some old Japanese wood block prints of the sea I already owned. Whether the sea theme makes a difference to guests experience I can not say but I get good reviews and plenty of bookings. I suspect the actual sea view is more important.


Don, for a hot minute I thought OMG he’s located near me, given what’s sold at the link and the name of the town. That store looks like many near me and the next little mountain town over (in Georgia) is Murphy! Just shows that style of furniture is ubiquitous.

Atlnative: I live in Murphys, California, which is 140 miles east of San Francisco.

I’m getting my place ready to list. I’m not too far from you and like you I find most of the listings in my area are very much theme decorated. All well and good, just not really my thing. My cabin is all wood everything. I chose to work with it but am not doing the bears and deer thing. Based on furniture and such that I already owned, my place is more along the lines of Highland lodge(as in Scotland not North Carolina). I think as long as what you have works together and isn’t vastly different to the style of the structure itself it’s fine. My few test guests I’ve hosted so far have commented that they liked the fact that my place was not the norm.