A small, neutral sofa like the Soma Fremont Square Arm,  is perfect for a short-term rental. Courtesy of  Pottery Barn

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Vacation rentals like Airbnb offer home-like experiences that travelers crave. The most popular rentals have all the comforts of home, only better. Rental hosts try to create the ultimate retreat that brings guests back over and over again (after leaving fabulous reviews, of course). If you’re a vacation rental guest wondering what goes into an in-demand rental, or an Airbnb host looking for ideas to elevate your guest experience, we have your Airbnb decorating ideas here.

5 Basic Features Every Guest Craves:

  • Great Wifi: Today’s guests are often working while traveling, or at least looking to share photos of their trip. Slow internet can have a major impact on your reviews.
  • Comfy Beds: No matter how beautiful or trendy your Airbnb may be, an uncomfortable bed can quickly ruin the experience for your guests, and they will write about it online.
  • Info on How Things Work: The best hosts have put together a list of little quirks the house might have, like hot and cold water handles reversed in the bathroom. Having these details available also cuts down on panicked guest calls late at night. But don’t go overboard — a common complaint is finding notes everywhere, making guests feel like they may do something wrong at any moment.
  • Hangers and Closet Space: Guests who stay more than a night will want to hang clothes up, even if it’s in an armoire or on a rack.
  • Coffee: Even if your rental doesn’t have a kitchen, most travelers would like, or need, to have their coffee before venturing out for the day. A single-cup coffee maker is a nice touch.

Decorating a short-term rental is about more than just making your guests happy. Your online photos are a crucial part of your success as a host. When you’re starting with a new rental, or just adding fresh decor, your rental photos should be a consideration. Try thinking like a homeowner who stages their home for sale; your space will need that same level of attention to detail to attract new guests online. Here are our favorite decorating tips created especially for an Airbnb or short term rental.

Decorating Your Airbnb Living Room

A sleeper sofa like CB2’s Tandom Sleeper adds extra sleeping space in a stylish way. Courtesy of  CB2

Your Airbnb rental may have a dedicated living room or could be a studio with a seating area. Guests like to have a space where they can visit or watch TV without a hotel-bed vibe. A comfortable sofa is essential. Get it in a size as large as you can comfortably accommodate in the sitting area. If you’re only able to fit a love seat, an accent chair or ottoman can round out the seating. If your rental home sleeps more than one person, there should be enough seating for each person, even if that means a bench or dining chair pulled into the room.

Neutral colors are the best choice for sofas and other large furniture, especially in colors like brown and dark gray because they handle the wear and tear better than lighter colors. Your accent chairs and ottomans are where you can add color and pattern to give your space style and character.

Accent pillows and throw blankets are a design essential for vacation rentals. These are the decor items that not only express your home’s style, but add comfort for guests. 

Airbnb Decorating Ideas for the Kitchen & Dining Areas

Pretty and colorful easy-care dinnerware, like the Ingrassia 16 Piece Melamine Dinnerware Set,  is a no-hassle choice for short-term rental dining. Courtesy of Joss & Main

You probably already know that the best Airbnb rental kitchen is stocked with essential cooking utensils appropriate for the type of facilities it offers, but choosing dinnerware is also important. Your choice of dinnerware can echo your color scheme and support your decorating theme. Kitchen accessories, like utensil holders and linens, matched to your dinnerware create a pulled-together look that guests remember.

Focus on Your Bedrooms – Because Your Guests Will

Colorful accent colors light up the Borchert Reversible Comforter Set. Courtesy of Wayfair

One of the smartest things you can do as an Airbnb rental owner is spend at least one night in your rental so you can experience it as your guests will. This is how you’ll know if the beds are comfortable, if your bedding is adequate for weather conditions and how everything works for a guest in your home. You could own the cutest Airbnb rental, but if your guests don’t get a good night’s sleep, it won’t matter.

Decorating your Airbnb sleeping spaces with complete bedding sets is easy and affordable. You can customize these pre-matched sets with extra accessories like pillows and throws. If you’re decorating more than one bedroom, buying two bedding sets in the same color scheme but different patterns lets you mix and match linens and accessories between the two rooms for a custom style.

Bathroom Essentials for Any Short Term Rental

The Brundage Single Shower Curtain’s neutral chevron pattern gives a small bathroom a larger look. Courtesy of Wayfair

Before you buy towels for your Airbnb rental, it’s a great idea to try them yourself at home. If you wouldn’t want to use them every day at home, you can assume neither would your guests. Soft and absorbent towels are must-haves for repeat rental guests. Plan to buy at least two sets of towels in your accent colors, matching your bed linens.

Bring the Indoors Outside With Decorated Outdoor Spaces

Set a colorful outdoor eating space with the Abbott Round Dining Table, to give guests more space to enjoy. Courtesy of Pottery Barn

Your Airbnb decorating ideas shouldn’t end at the front door. If your vacation rental has outdoor space available to your guests, you’ll want to focus attention out there, too. In a small Airbnb rental, a comfortable outdoor area can give your guests additional space for relaxing.

When you think of your outdoor areas as an extra room and bring your style and color scheme outside, you can make your rental feel larger to guests. Adding an exterior dining area can really maximize your rental space, especially if there’s no room for one indoors. Colorful Adirondack chairs, outdoor pillows, rugs and fun tables can easily turn a patio into an outdoor living room. Look for low maintenance accessories that can be stored easily in bad weather.

If you’re thinking about listing your home on Airbnb, get started here.