Suggestions for podcasts that focus on design and setup of a whole house STR

I have found a bunch of podcasts about STR. While generally enjoyable, they seem to be focused on people who want to build a large portfolio of properties. When I do find one that mentions design, it turns out to be a podcast about how interior designers or stagers can develop a business catering to owners of STR.
I’d really love to find a podcast that is all about designing the space. King beds vs queens, do I do a sectional or a regular sofa, is a theater room a good investment? That kind of thing. I did read through the blog of 1chicretreat(their blog about creating a romantic bedroom was eye opening LOL)and absolutely loved it, but would love more!
Any suggestions or ideas for podcasts or even other blogs would be appreciated.


There are a few You Tube videos. Here’s a link for one of them:

The woman with this site used to post here regularly years ago, @Evelyn

Most of the sites you mention, which I checked out, have almost nothing about design, and promote the all-too-common false idea that Airbnb is easy money.
Also, Evolve has a terrible reputation among both hosts and guests.

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I’m always happy to promote Evolve in the hopes that my competition will sign up with them. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


I think a lot of design ideas, while it might be nice to have websites that specifically address design as applies to strs, can also be found on sites like Pinterest, or by googling the design suggestions you are interested in, for instance, “design for small bedrooms” or “attractive storage solutions”.

And some of it is just practical, if you think about it. Take king vs queen-size beds. It depends on where you host and the space itself. American couples seem to appreciate king-size beds, so if you host in the US, that would be a consideration. Whereas in the UK, and Europe, I think, people are accustomed to smaller beds, in fact, what they call Queen in the UK is the size of what is called a Double in the US and Canada. So if a UK host gets lots of American guests, they might consider a large bed, but if their guests tend to mostly be from the UK and the rest of Europe, it might not be anything that would increase bookings.
And if putting in a king size bed means there’s no space for bedside tables on both sides of the bed, or it leaves little room to move around, or it blocks a closet door from opening fully (I’ve seen all those design faux-pas in listing photos), then a Queen bed would make more sense.

And I find a lot of design recommendations for strs recommend things as if it’s some universal law or truth, rather than a preference. Like they’ll say, “Only use white sheets and towels, as white linens can be bleached and guests perceive colored linens to be not clean”. Whereas many hosts use colored linens and towels and it has never been an issue, nor have any guests ever expressed any doubt as to whether they are clean.


If I made a podcast on furnishing STR’s, it would include making everything as kid-proof as possible, whether or not you accept children. Especially if you are in a location that gets mostly people on vacation. After a few drinks, adults act like kids - spilling drinks or dropping food, bumping into things, knocking things over - you get the picture.

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Agreed. I’m always surprised when hosts lament how the guests stained their very expensive dining room table by not using coasters, or that an antique stained glass lamp was broken, or the dog urinated on the huge oriental carpet that will cost hundreds of dollars to get professionally cleaned. While it’s possible to destroy anything through neglect or carelessness, a rental should be as bulletproof as possible, and not have anything in it that you’d be devastated to have ruined, or that costs a huge amount to repair or replace.

Ease of cleaning is also a major factor. Upholstered furniture without washable slipcovers, and carpets are easily stained, granite and other types of countertops can get marks that can’t be removed and are expensive to repair or replace, flat front cabinets are easier to clean than cabinet doors with detailing, heavy furniture that can’t be easily moved to clean behind and under isn’t a great idea, etc.

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A podcast on how to design and furnish an STR would have to be a very long series.

When designing and planning anything (website, kitchen refurbishment, marketing materials, new home, magazine, anything) it’s important to realise that almost every situation is different.

That’s why professional designers spend many hours in preparation before they put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

Every place will have different requirements and its important for the designer to know every aspect of what the client requires. This often takes longer than the design process itself.

A quick example - a four bedroom house near a ski resort that accepts children and dogs where the average stay is two weeks will need design parameters that are at odds with those required for a one-bedroom romantic hideaway in an adult-only complex where guests stay for long weekends.

As others have said, there are a few minor aspects that all STRs will have in common such as -easy-to-clean surfaces, no valuable objects, sufficient seating, adequate lighting and so on. But by and large, a personal approach is needed for each individual circumstance.


Sometimes what you originally considered as far as furnishing when starting out turns out to be a good or bad idea that you didn’t anticipate.

My guest bedroom is small. When I first decided to start hosting, I debated putting in a double bed, thinking I could charge a bit more, as I could host couples. But that would have left no space for a bedside table on both sides of the bed, and as there is a window there, mounting a shelf and lamps on the wall wasn’t an option.

So I went with a single bed, only hosting one guest at a time, and never regretted it, as I found I love hosting solo travelers. None have ever damaged anything, they tend to be self-sufficent and not too fussy.

You see a lot of new listings where the host has tried to cram in too many beds and guests, and often end up reducing the guest count later, as large groups can make a huge mess, listings with high guest counts often get “sneak-ins”, and there is far more potential for damage and partiers.


Thanks all for the help! I actually used to work in interior design, but it was for someone who did very high end family residences. So while I know nerdy things , like minimum clearances for toilets, I need help with designing for rotating groups. Example, I’m going to need to replace all of the furniture in my great room. I need seating for 6-8 adults. A nice leather sofa would probably be easy to keep clean, but do people think it’s a desirable place to sit? I have a room in the basement that will be an extra gathering space, is it worthwhile to make it a dedicated theater room, or just a second living space? I do not apply to the heads in beds saying, at least for my place. Having worked in interior design, I want the spaces to look like gracious, inviting bedrooms, not barracks. King beds will easily fit in each of the bedrooms with room for nightstands, so for ease of keeping multiple sets of king bedding then I’ll go with that. I am still torn about the white sheets thing. I am allergic to bleach and can smell it a mile off. Plus my place is a log cabin in the mountains so cozy and moody colors will be the vibe. But that’s a decision for later.

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I just did that for my TV room in our place (higher-end home in the Caribbean near the beach). We sleep six so I have a good-sized sectional (seats five easily with one in the corner) and two chairs. I had them covered with Crypton fabric (practically indestructible - straight bleach doesn’t hurt it) and the covers unzip so they can be washed if needed. I wasn’t able to stage for this picture and I’m working on new lamps/pictures but here is what it looks like:


I’ve been in so many top rated Airbnbs that don’t have things that many here consider “essential.” A table on each side of the bed is one. Plugs accessible on each side is another. Blackout shades, reading lights, sufficient towel bars, the list is endless. That doesn’t mean I don’t think they are desirable, they are. But they aren’t necessary to have a top rated place. And don’t get me started on the absolutely terrible lighting so many Airbnb’s have.

Exactly because every Airbnb is different. I don’t have any drawers for guests to unpack any of their things into for example. When you only have one or two night stays you don’t need that.

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I recently stayed for a week in a place on the beach. We paid around $1000 a night for a 4 bedroom/3bath. Location was great, but I was literally taking notes the whole week. None of the bathrooms had anywhere for shampoo and soap in the showers. Seriously had to just put everything on the floor to the shower. So annoyed every time I took a shower. The bedroom I was in had a comfy bed but no dresser. I literally had to just leave my suitcase on a bench all week. It’s not like there wasn’t a big spot for a dresser. The nightstands were little round tables with tiny round lamps. Barely big enough to sit my cellphone on. No tv in any of the bedrooms(I was aware of that part, but it would have been nice when I wanted to escape away from the family for a bit). The tv in the main room was a 32 inch hung way too high. We got stuck inside with toddlers for 3 days straight so a nice tv set up would have been nice. The kitchen was ok, but no coffee maker except a really old Keurig (yuk). So we ended up taking turns going for coffee every morning.
I actually have a local guy building my nightstands. They are actually going to be wall mounted with built in charger outlets and light switches. Wall mounted sconces above means more space to set a book, a bottle of water, etc.


I’m curious, was that place an Airbnb place? Did it have great reviews? If it did then it just supports my idea that you don’t need to have a well designed place to get 5 star reviews.

I now pack instant coffee on my trips as emergency back up.

I have a wall mounted table that folds up on one side of the bed and a night stand on the other side that works okay. I also have a air filter sitting on it. I also have wall mounted lights on each side. Your sound like they are going to be fantastic. Post pics when they are done please.

No way that is acceptable in a vacation rental. So many people say “we aren’t hotels.” But hotels sure know a lot more about what works design-wise than Airbnb hosts do.

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It was a VRBO listing. It has 4.7 star review. And was actually $1200 a night. I didn’t make the actual reservation so had no opportunity to leave a review. I would have given it 3 stars based on the fact that 95% of the things that really irked all of us are pretty easy fixes. Oh there were a few boards on the decks that were loose and curled up and created a pretty significant trip hazard. Oh, and I spent 20-30 minutes with a pair of kitchen scissors trimming a vine that ran all down the railing of the decks and down to the beach. The aesthetic of the vine wasn’t the issue, that fact that it had really sharp thorns right at toddler eye level was! We loved the location, it was in a great spot and we absolutely loved that aspect, but we are now looking for another place in the same area for spring break.


Same type of thing for me re cleaning with vinegar. I can’t stand the taste or smell of any kind of vinegar, so while I like to use natural products as much as possible, I’ll never use vinegar.

I have always used colored sheets- they go with my eclectic and colorful decor and not only have I never had any sort of complaint (and all 5* reviews), some guests have mentioned how great the bed was in their reviews. I’ve even put little patches on tiny holes in an otherwise perfectly good sheet, and had a guest say how cute that was.

Tiny bedside tables- that was some design trend back about 10-15 years ago. There was no space for anything but a small lamp. I have a hilarious newspaper article I cut out back then from the"Homes" section of the Vancouver Sun, where the writer went on about the absurdity of it. What humans don’t need space beside the bed for their book, their glasses, their jewelry, and a lamp? And the ones who don’t even provide bedside lamps? Does it never occur to them that even if guests don’t read in bed, maybe they have to get up and go to the bathroom in the middle of the night?

Or there’s a table, and a lamp, but it’s too low to read by.

And since I had my house built from scratch, the shower stalls not only have a shelf for shampoo, etc, they have small built-in benches at the perfect height for women to put their foot on to shave their legs. (Shower sex aid, too :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:) There’s no excuse for nowhere to put your shampoo and soap but on the shower floor- if you don’t want to get fancy, you can just buy one of those holders that hang over the shower head arm. They only cost a few bucks.


So it depends on who you want to attract. We get lots of weekends but then often weeks or months at a time, especially over the winter when our rates go down. Our longer term guests really appreciate all the kitchen stuff we provide while our weekend guests barely use the microwave! All appreciate that it is comfortable, super clean and has things that make visiting easy like little racks in the bedroom closet to put a suitcase on. Longer stays appreciate the dressers while short stays I would be surprised if they unpack beyond toiletries.


Evelyn was one of the first bloggers I ever read. She had some good content.

If a place accepts children, they should at least have a bunch of stuff to entertain kids. Washable markers and coloring books, games, puzzles, dolls, block sets, big Lego etc. A friend who hosts had a set where you build all these ramps and stuff and send marbles down the chute. It was something that had belonged to her son, who was by then a teenager. Guests told her that set entertained their kid for hours. (Although marbles would be a choking hazard for toddlers).

When my kids were young, I never had a TV at home, I really didn’t want them to be TV kids and I don’t watch TV myself. But if I were stuck indoors with toddlers for 3 days on vacation, whatever toys I’d brought along they’d probably get bored of, so having a toy box full of stuff that was new to them would be a parent-helper, for sure.