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Interior Design for your AirBNB listing?


Hi guys, I’m making a personal research on the interest of AirBNB hosts to use interior design services in order to make their listed properties to pop up in the crowd and gain more interest among clients and why not, increase the value of the listing.
So, I’m curious if you guys would consider working with an interior designer for your listing. And if yes, what would be your expectations and your requests? Would you consider working with a local interior designer that could manage the entire design project on site (ex: placing orders, shopping, on site supervision for renovations, hands on styling) or you would preffer somebody that works remotely if let’s say his/hers style fits you better and why not, the price would be lower, but that would mean that you or somebody else would have to handle the hands on part, you would be provided with plans, shopping lists, images, detailed instructions on how to make everything work, skype calls for questions or reviews.
Please feel free to comment and give your personal oppinion on the subject.


Making a living out of Airbnb can be hard enough, but everyone wants to nibble away at what profit you make. Fees, taxes, charge for this, that and something else. Even Airbnb want $149 for the pleasure of reviewing your listing to see if you fit into their Plus category.
To set up my houses I spent $50K and I don’t need someones help to tell me how to spend it!


I wouldn’t prefer either. I am quite happy designing my own concepts and sourcing materials - it’s one of the most pleasurable aspects of owning a home.

If you want clients who use Airbnb. You need to target those who are cash rich, time poor and who just see a property as an investment to make money.


Not on your life. Why waste my money, especially one someone who didn’t live right here.


Well, it depends, because sometimes working with an interior designer could even help you save some money because they might have some discounts from certain shops or they know where to shop for better prices and good value and looks, so in the end you could actually win. I don’t know why people tend to be so harsh on such services, after all it’s a business for everybody, for airbnb, it’s a business and it’s normal to charge you for it because they bring in clients, for you it’s a business and it’s perfectly normal to charge for the rental and other services you might offer, and so it is for an interior designer, his/hers services, if done right, would help put your property in a better light for your guests, would help gaining more interest and occupancy and for a better price, could help you get recommendations from your clients to their friends and families.


Some people are simply good at it and enjoy doing it by themselves, while others could use some help. It’s just the way we as individuals are built :slight_smile:
And yes, you’re probably right, the more obvious clients for such services would be people with big budgets and little time, but not only, as I said above, hiring an interior designer might actually help you with better deals that you would get as a regular customer so it’s just as good of an option to people with smaller budgets, because they could help make the best out of that budget.


Why would you necessarily see it as a waste of money?As I mentioned above it could actually help you save some money, or just make sure that your budget no matter how big or small is it’s directed in the important places that would actually help make a good impression for your listing. And also, it could help by avoiding costly mistakes that someone from the lack of experience might make. It’s just a matter of perspective, and in the end it pays off. Regarding the remote services, it’s a common practice nowadays and it seems to work pretty well, and I think that first of all is because it’s cheaper than the on site services, because the interior designer has the commodity of doing their job from their couch at home for example, or they just don’t add the costs of transportation to your property, they can make their own schedule and still provide great design concepts for your property, so for this, they will charge less that you would get charged by a person that would come on-site.


So what ball park would you charge to provide a design and sourcing service for a three bedroom house. Assume a Victorian house with kitchen, dining room and living room, where each room needs designing and sourcing.

How much would you be able to save a client in terms of discounts.

I am just trying to get an understanding of how your service could end up being cost neutral or minimal for those with small budgets?

And I am definitely right in cash rich, time poor being your target market for this type of service. (I am sure you know this from your other interior design clients).


I think you would be better off trying to work directly with Airbnb to become a contract designer for their Plus listings. No idea if Air would be interested in that.
If you’re flogging your business here and doing market research, you’ll get more enthusiastic participation if you offer a benefit (gift card, chance to win x hours of design service, etc.)


I think it is time to create that new section: “New members joining and within the hour trying to sell their services by pretending to 1. ask leading questions or 2. tell members that they are doing ‘research’ or 3. adding a link selling their services and pretending it is being added to ‘help the community’.”

Membership posts are accrued when:
Become argumentative when challenged or questioned
Become coy when asked about their true reason for joining.:laughing:


People don’t like paying for a service
Sorry to tell you, but you will be fighting an uphill battle. As I said in another topic: People are very willing to pay for products, but are not very willing to pay for a service. (See topic Furnishing Services .)

  • People don’t understand why it takes you 10, 20, 40+ … hours to source and chose a few nice products. “Why waste my money?”
  • They don’t respect your work: “I don’t need anyone tell me how to spend my money.” or in other words “The only thing you will do is spend money and not add anything else.”
  • They don’t value your work correctly “Why would I pay you for something I can do myself?”

Bad moment
Other problem for designers, unlike e.a. real estate agents, you are coming in the moment that all money is only going out. In the case of AirBnB hosts: Some start BnB’ing from their own home already in search of extra income. Others just invested in a property to BnB, and maybe already have to worry about how to pay the mortgage.

AirBnB = uncertainty
There is a lot of uncertainty in AirBnB’ing so people are reluctant to invest a lot of money. Quite a few hosts on this forum have told stories of how they source things at very low cost (overstock, second hand, …) or even for free (e.a. mattresses). This is a service you will not be able to provide, because your time would cost too much.

Extra investment does not always equal extra income
If I recall well, people have commented on this forum that extra investments haven’t always resulted in extra income. This due to many reasons, but in any case it’s something YOU can’t control. Therefor it’s also uncertain if you indeed will add value.

Regional and other restrictions of your service
If you are located in Spain, what kind of products can you source for someone in e.a. Belgium, USA, Peru?
How can you provide a plan if you can’t go onsite to measure?

On another note
I’m convinced of the added value of designers :blush:, but I’m not the one to be convinced. You will have to decide how you will market your service and what kind of service you can and want to offer. For AirBnB hosts I would argue that most will not want to pay you an awful lot of money. As for this forum, hosts can already find a lot of free advice (also on design :wink:).


I’m with GutHend on this one.

I wasn’t sure if Airbnb would be a winner in my area so started on a shoestring budget. I sourced almost everything from family storage. The first twin beds I bought for $50/ea off Amazon. As much as I respect those with real design expertise, I couldn’t have afforded to forgo absolute necessities (towels, good linens) for their services.

I did read a lot of vacation rental design blogs (One Chic Retreat was my favorite). Perhaps you could see how that model works? I believe she generates some leads for full jobs from her blogs, but also offers mini-consultations (remotely) and likely gets a small cut from products she suggests on her site.


Here on Hawaii Island, only the richest of the rich or the relatively rich can afford designers for their vacation rentals. It’s a certain high end clientele renting a high end place. I’m not sure there would really be a market for this unless these were rentals in places like Kukio or Mauna Lani.

As someone here once mentioned, in order to avoid disappointment and damage, only outfit your rental places with industrial strength stuff. Not sure if custom couches, wall treatments or draperies would fit the bill for most ordinary Airbnb hosts such as ourselves.


This is a perfect answer. I would love a (free) designer, but I don’t have the budget to use one, and I would have to be guaranteed a return on investment to justify creating a budget.


Very good point about the wear and tear. That completely changes the parameters around the design.


The problem with the whole idea is that the people who care about having a good interior design are often the type of people who enjoy doing it themselves. Abd the people who care less about design are not really interested either. And I’m sorry but I think it is super dishonest to act like an interior designer is going to save you money by using special discounts. It’s just not true. Maybe they save you 20% on some unique designer piece through their connections, but their contacts are priced 30% higher than normal stores to start. So realistically you could get something similar for less by shopping on your own. Most people ( especially on a budget) know how to shop in the price range they can afford, and for many airbnbs I assume furnishings come from affordable big box stores. Designers are not getting discounts at Walmart, Amazon, Goodwill, Target, Home Goods, yard sales, furniture warehouses, etc. Abd the people who want a designer have already decided that the cost is worth it for the time and expertise, but don’t act like anyone is hiring a designer in order to save money.


well for me its a YES…i would hire one…and oops and im going too …i enjoy doing them them - 2 more coming - its a collaboration - fun to exchange ideas and its a pre-airbnb element which i enjoy - also to be honest i think a designed flat/house will make you stand out - when i stay on airbnb i go for something different/design/interesting - dont like standard rooms - worked with a designer a few times and really enjoyed it - there is money involved but you get it back - more rents on ur place - higher price range - but as we say - IN TASTE AND COLOUR - THERE ARE NO COMRADES )…maybe more soviet than now )…my problem with a general design company (there are some out there) is that they cant source their things in each country - it would have to be a national design service who knows what they can source - so for me its A YES PLEASE@!


is that your portfolio on your webpage?


I wish we could come, damn politics, now the consulate has been thrown out of St. P and the state dept has issued a travel advisory. Otherwise we would be looking into coming!!


Never! My favorite part of my business is starting a new unit. I have ripped a unit down to the floor joists and rebuilt it all by myself. I have my own designs, my own shopping lists, my own crew who works with me… I love it. I drink like 3 cups of coffee, put on Flock of Seagulls, and click on the purchase button on Amazon, on a $10k order, which ships directly to my unit, and then my wife and I spend about 4 hours putting it together. I love it!

It gives me an excuse to shop, to build things, to make things nicer and more beautiful. I’ve been remodeling since I was a kid with my dad, and I would never hire someone else. We do this as a service for our clients as well, and charge about $150/hr for the two of us.

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