How to Furnish Your Apartment for Airbnb

I’ve furnished 7 Airbnb rentals, and all of them have had excellent comments from my guests.

My short formula to furnish your Airbnb rental is:

Choose simple elegant furniture. Remember you are catering to a wide range of tastes. Leave the essentials for what the guests needs. Guests hate clutter. Make the decorating fresh and simple. White is often the best choice. Ensure everything is deep-cleaned, this way it’s easy to keep clean. Choose hard wearing furniture. You will have a lot of different users, so don’t buy the most expensive, buy the most solid and well designed. Kitchen utensils, however, will get scratched, so they need to be easily replaced. I replace my pots and pans every 3 months. Choose a bed that will not fall apart – beds get used a lot!

Let’s go into more detail about what I’ve done, and how I’ve kept the price low, but the quality fantastic!

Living Area

The living area will require the following:

  • Table and Chairs
  • Sofa & Armchair
  • TV
  • Waste Paper Bins
  • Coffee Table

Table & Chairs

Remember the key here is hardwearing because you’ll (hopefully) get a lot of traffic (guests). It does not have to be the best looking or most expensive table in the world because it’s easy to add a table cloth, table runner, or candles etc, to make it look nice.

Make sure the chairs are sturdy. They have to cater to guests who weigh 150 kilos! because you will get them. Before you buy, read the reviews carefully. Darker coloured chairs are also good, for two reasons: 1: stains or blemishes will be less obvious, and 2: they may complement a room which is otherwise light and airy.

Sofa & Armchairs

The key here again is use. You must buy something that is able to cope with a lot of traffic but be easy to keep nice.

Avoid: faux leather – many sofas and chairs use this material, and although it looks nice to start with and feels like leather, bits tend to start falling off it after a few years of use and you’ll end up having to replace the whole thing.

Avoid: Real leather. It’s much too expensive, is harder to keep clean, very hard to repair, and unless you can find something nice second hand, again, this will burst your budget.

Do: Consider sofas with washable covers. (Ikea does an excellent range.)

Why? Because children will leave colouring pencils on them (you’d be crazy not to allow children, families can be your biggest market – they are mine), and people will invariably put their feet up on them. You, therefore, need to be able to whip off the covers and put on a new set quickly.

This is what I use:

TV

Do not spend a fortune on televisions. Nice TVs are not expensive these days. Your guests will not care if you don’t have the latest 4k bending TV. They will usually be there to visit relatives, stay for business, or on a short break, or whatever….. They’re not there to go to the cinema. You can buy a nice ‘smart TV’ for under £200 / $250, and that’s all you need.

Key Points:

  • Make sure the TV is not too big. If the television is too big it will dominate the room.
  • Avoid putting the TV on the wall unless you are really short of space. In my opinion, this looks vulgar. But that’s just my opinion 🙂 The one exception to this is in bedrooms, where space will tend to be at a premium.
  • Do check on every visit that the TV actually works. Areials get pulled out and TVs unplugged. Your next guests will not be impressed if this is the case.

Bedrooms

I have learned a lot about what guests want in bedrooms over the years. Here are the key things your short-term-rental must have:

  • A solid bed. Again, no need to go crazy on price, but the bed must stay together (especially if people are having “fun” on it!). Things to watch for are the feet of the bed. If these are plastic or come off easily, you have a problem. The best thing to do is to avoid a bed with feet altogether.
  • Avoid beds that seem too lite. If a bed is lite, it’s probably not that hardwaring.
  • Consider buying a bed which has in-built storage. This will be a big help for storing your laundry, and curiously it seems to be the one place guests don’t have a look in.
  • A full-length mirror. You must have this for ladies who are preparing to go to an event. In addition, you must have a power socket for a hair dryer near to the mirror.
  • A hairdryer. This is a must. Roll the cable up neatly and position visibly on a bed-side table.
  • If you have space, consider a TV in the bedroom, after all, if you’re market comeptes with hotels, they all have TVs in the bedrooms.

Bathrooms

The key thing, really about bathrooms is that they are clean. If your bathroom needs a bit of love and care consider these “easy wins”:

  • A new mirror (some have built-in LED lights which look cool).
  • A New toilet seat. Extremely easy to fix, and you can buy one for £20
  • Mastic! One of the most unsightly things in bathrooms is dirty, mouldy, blackened or simply old mastic. Conversely one of the easiest ways to make a bathroom look nice is to repair the mastic. Here’s a video that will help you do this:
  • If you bath is old and has chips or stains, you can resurface it for less than $100.

I recommend the kit he uses in this video, which can be purchased here.

  • Decorating your bathroom. This sounds simple but this is something people often forget to do. Your bathroom will have plenty of spaces which are not tiled, so it’s a good idea to make sure these are well decorated looking clean and nice.
  • Small details like nice bath mats, A shelf for people’s toiletries, and nicely folded toilet paper will help your bathrooms look that much more professional.
  • Finally, Another easy win: If your tiles are looking old it is easy to regrout them. Essentially all you need is a grout remover, and then to follow any online video to show you how to apply new grout. I would recommend buying grout which is ready mixed. This will make your life much easier. Another useful tip to make your bathroom look a little bit more modern is to consider using a different coloured grout, for example, white tiles with grey grout look really nice.
  • If your grout is in good condition, You can also consider a grout pencil which will add new colour to the grout, And these can easily be bought online.

Here’s a video which will help you apply new grout.

Kitchen

People often make the mistake of thinking they need to completely replace the kitchen when preparing an apartment for a short term rental. This is not the case, and what you actually need to do is to simply make sure things work, and make sure things are presented nicely. Here are my key points:

  • Make sure you have a full set of cooking utensils, pots and pans, plates, cups and saucers, and glasses etc. (Glasses often get smashed, just keep replacing them with cheap, but nice sets).
  • As I said elsewhere on this blog, don’t spend a fortune on pots and pans because these will be scraped and scratched, and it’s much better to buy cheap pots and pans and replace them regularly. Guests would much rather have pots and pans in great condition than expensive pots and pans which look awful.
  • Check that your dishwasher and fridge freezer work. Ensure that your fridge freezer is sparkling clean.
  • Considered painting an old kitchen. This is much easier to do the new might think. Please see the pictures below one of my apartments kitchens before and after painting.

Related Questions

Where can I get inspiration for decorating my property?

  • Pinterest has thousands of ideas for interior design. Well worth checking out.
  • Look on Booking.com, Airbnb etc and other websites for inspiration of how others decorate their property, but also stick to your own taste don’t try and be something that you’re not!

I’m on a tight budget, what can I do?

  • There are many websites where you can acquire other people’s unwanted furniture for free or next to nothing. Freecycle or Gumtree are two examples.
  • Look in charity or antique shops. An antique coffee table, for example, can not only compliment a freshly decorated space but make it look extremely classy!
  • Learn how to do the painting and decorating yourself. Every property needs to be painted at least every two years, and if you acquire this as a skill you will have yourself a ton of money!
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