Styling of your Airbnb

How do you approach the design and styling of your Airbnb?

I’ve been staying in a lot of Airbnb’s lately and found that many of them seem to take the Ikea route, complete with empty photo frames. I find them fairly un-inspired, and very similar to all the others Airbnb’s out there.

Airbnb properties that stand out ie. Treehouses etc, get lots of PR. What if you could do this with the styling of your property?

If there was an affordable way to style your Airbnb without much effort, in a unique way that stood out in your Airbnb listing, do you think you’d explore the option? Or do you see styling as not very important?

Curious to get your thoughts :slight_smile:

This question assumes the property is used solely for Airbnb. Mine is my vacation and retirement home and it is designed to please me with few concessions to any style other than what I want and what I think is true to the house. Fortunately, guests like it.

That said, the proliferation of non-host occupied properties means many Airbnb’s feel like corporate housing. It’s sad. We’ve lost what made the Airbnb experience difference - that you were in someone’s real home.

As for what style should you use, I say you have to know your demographic. The vast majority of my guests are Brooklyn young people and they seem to be almost to a man, in some kind of design related business. As a general rule they like mid-century design with antiques and vintage touches. Older people from other parts of the country are not quite as interested in that, or care. My Brooklyn people care. But then again, the Catskills - Brooklyn hipster pipeline is strong and shows no sign of slowing.

Personally, I am with them. I don’t want anonymous. I want character. If I wanted anonymous, I would stay at a Holiday Inn.


@CatskillsGrrl - I agree. Our rental is a bit quirky (mid century modern) and furnished the way we like it to be. It’s not for everyone, of course, but guests have a good opportunity to check photographs and stay at a place that suits them and their style. Most places I see reflect the hosts’ personalities which is part of what Airbnb is all about, surely?

As for the Ikea thing, I’m sure that for a lot of hosts who are recently renting, then Ikea is the cheapest option - some guests will like it, others won’t.

What surprises me is: [quote=“Becfaye, post:1, topic:5463”]
I’ve been staying in a lot of Airbnb’s lately and found that many of them seem to take the Ikea route

So why choose them in the first place if the decor is so important? If she’s an interior designer it would be great to get tips & tricks but I don’t think many people would be interested in paying for a service.

I may be wrong :slight_smile:

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i think it can be interesting.
For example giving tips in a webcam tour

A lot of folks who ABB have a back ground in design of some sort. The platform was first embraced by folks who have digital, design web-based careers to begin with, like I do. And the market I am in includes TONS of second homes from New York City people, most of which have a design flare and some disposable cash to put towards it.

I do think that in markets where this is important people would be willing to pay a small fee for some advice. I’ve thought of it - I see rentals I think I could help.

I do have some ikea items because they naturally where the best solution for a tiny studio, but my quirky place is themed as a elegant beach cottage. and the guest seem to like it. the outside is a work in progress and I am in the midsts of making it theme 1960’s florida home because of our very 1960’s old pool. I also styled it the way that I would want the place to look like if I want to visit somewhere close to the florida keys but not that much of the Kitch.

My guest room started out as bland and functional and I’ve made it more into a travel themed room. Every single thing in that room is something I like. I have photos of local sites, African masks, some prayer flags. It’s not Holiday Inn but it’s not the funkiest place either. I’m not too concerned with “design” aesthetics. I don’t think my guests care because it’s not that kind of place, it’s a road trip pit stop.


I have to admit. I will be going down the IKEA route. I like some of their beds and furniture. But artwork and things I go to The Range, they often change their stock.


Two other affordable sources are World Market and CB2. They compete with IKEA in that price range.

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Personally I like a mixture of Ikea, antiques, design classics, modern things, flea market and art (20% Ikea 80% the other stuff). At my guest room it is the other way round. So I don’t have to matter if something breaks.

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I personally don’t like IKEA.


I will admit I am thinking of styling lately as I am thinking of buying and renovating units. I have loved some of the styles I have seen on ABB and shown them to my wife and asked her if she could do the same to fix up the units once I am done. She just laughed and said that would be easy.

I started my room (a self contained studio flat) using basic leftovers and gradually added tropical and Hawaii touches. I decoupaged a vintage 80s surfboard with vintage 80s Hawaii surf magazine photos. I painted a vintage rattan mirror sunflower yellow and then painted a vintage chair (quite valuable) with the same color. My accent color is yellow with a black and red base. I’ve put poetry by Don Blanding, my favorite poet laureate, in frames on the walls. I bought a souvenir ukulele and hung it on the wall. It’s got furniture from local discount retailers because we don’t have IKEA here. Its decor is very much hobbled together from what I could find in closets and at discount stores. I make sure to state that if they are fussy and fancy this won’t be a fit! Elegant it ain’t.

I’m proud of the surfboard. I think it looks waaaaaay cool. (Yes, one guest actually asked if he could ride it.) I would most guests like the decor of studio, but some have slagged it off as “tired” and dumpy, probably because no granite or stainless steel, and honestly that hurts, because it is still my personal home.


THAT IS AWESOME!! Great job!

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More on this topic - I’m tearing out a wood-paneled room with a horror of a drop ceiling - it’s not insulated, the paneling is damaged, and but tearing it out I can move the door to the bedroom, then add a wall and entry door making the space ‘entire unit’ - yay me!

I’m not building in a closet so will need a wardrobe - Ikea will have to do.

My question is - for @Barthelemy and other designers - what is the new color? I’m assuming gray is going to be passe very soon? I do want a neutral color but not just white. I don’t have a lot of time or money for flea markets, thrifts stores, or remaking things, so it most likely will be a bit bland. . Seems like the parents hunker down in this room and the kids get the larger room. So I want to appeal to the parents and give it a romantic feel.

Any help appreciated!!

Hello @dcmooney,

Hehe if I knew what’s the next “new neutral” was, I would be rich just selling the trend forecast :slight_smile:

While I like rich, dark colours in bedrooms for my own homes, I think white is appropriate for hotels and vacation rentals. It looks good on photos, appeals to a wide range of people, and is easy to clean and to touch up.

Between curtains, linens (we have not talked about blankets, duvet covers and throws for a while :smile:), nightstands, lamps, pendant and mirror, there are lots of useful accessories to make a bedroom visually interesting even with white walls. Bedrooms at my listing are all white will black accents, they have nothing “wow” or unique but guests love the decor, which in the end is the most important.

If you remind me the link to your listing and tell me which items you want to keep I can make a quick selection of items from mainstream stores to give you ideas.

Wow. That disappeared before my eyes! Spooky.

I know your listing Nancy and I’d love to see some of this rich blue.


Yeah, sorry! I didn’t like how the photos looked or even what I wrote. I think I’d better have some lunch and try again later!

I added some sheer curtains with fairy lights to the larger room that look fun in person but in the photo the lights look blue and it just doesn’t look nice. Since the smaller room, the one that’s being redone, is going to be given a romantic feel, I thought I’d put the curtain and lights over the bed; with the white walls I think the lights will look better than against the yellow.

Yellow is a a very tricky colour, these room pics would not have me booking. I painted the entire unit a very pale yellow. Easy to touch up. You might buy sample pots to test before you decide upon a colour. It could be the screen I’m using but the walls would jeep me awake.