Furnishing, decorating, and giving those final touches to a short term rental are key to catching the eye of potential renters. People love stays that feel better than what they have at home. Offering amenities like a coffee bar, fully stocked kitchen, spa in bathroom, fast wifi, outdoor seating spaces with a fire pit, comfortable king size beds, comfortable sheets and bed clothes, along with extra pillows and blankets, movie room, among many other amenities will help you stand out. It’s just a matter of what is in your budget, and how much you are willing to spend. Remember, much of what you put into your rental, you will get out of it.
We are often asked where we purchased items in our rental. We used many sites like Amazon, Wayfair, Overstock, etc. We also love to go to estate sales around town. Estatesale.net is a great resource to search for sales in your area. A lot of estate companies are offering online auctions now instead of in house estate sales. You can search for a certain word on the site, or just search your area. If you search by a term (I often used “mid century”, or “rattan”), you can filter down to your area so you’re not searching all across the country.
Look on Pinterest.com to help you with ideas and to decide on a theme or style.
A bar cart creates an extra touch that our renters really love. I found mine at a vintage store with some flaws, so I was able to purchase for super cheap and then paint it myself! I used Rustoleum enamel spray paint. I try to shy away from glass anything because I don’t want to risk people breaking it and injuring themselves. If you do decide to put glass anywhere, be sure that it is tempered glass.
I wanted to create a cozy atmosphere without having to worry about actual fire. So, we used a tv stand with an electric fireplace/heater. It really does the trick. Bonus is that you can store games and what not for people to play with!
I would like to make the case for allowing pets. Yes, there is more hair to clean up, but I haven’t found the pets to have that much more shedding than the humans. lol. If you have a situation that would be good for pets, such as a fenced backyard, and maybe a love for dogs, you might be one of the only rentals in your area allowing pets. We don’t have a limit (within reason) and I don’t up charge for pets, so no surprise charges. I just charge a little more per night than everyone else in the area, and a $75 cleaning fee. (It’s only a 700 sq ft house). All of our guests have been great about cleaning up after their pets and taking care of the place. I have one washable rug, and would probably purchase another rug from ruggable.com if I decided to go that route.
When we have pets coming, I throw these covers over our faux leather couch and chair. They’ve worked great and we don’t have to worry about pets scratching the couch!
We provide comfortable beds, food and water bowls, kennels (I purchased from Goodwill and had my own. Also hit up local swaps for kennels), treats, doggie bags, and toys. I put it all away if people don’t have pets.
When guests show up with their pets, they are relieved and wowed that they don’t have to bring all of the extras. I don’t have any rules about pets getting on the furniture or beds, because really, they’re just going to do what they do at home. And it’s out of my control. I don’t stress about it!
Be careful not to provide dog toys that can be torn apart and swallowed easily. I wouldn’t recommend providing rawhides or anything a pup could choke on.
***Many dog treats contain peanut butter. I would be extra careful to not provide any common allergen treats–even if they are for dogs.
ADDING COLOR WITH DECOR
Pillows, rugs, artwork, and blankets are super important to create a feeling of warmth and coziness. I don’t have a rug in the living room because I allow pets and the cleanup is much easier on hardwoods than on a rug. But, if I were to have a rug, it would be something like the one below 🙂
Art work is super personal. I found most of mine from estate sales and second hand stores, or I made it. Adding a mirror to any room will create an illusion of space. We purchased our mirror from a mid century store.
Lots of people are working remotely. They expect super fast Wifi and a desk to do their work. Our house is very small, so we chose a compact desk/shelving system. If you have a bigger space, you can actually do several of these lined up and they look super cool! This chair is great in a small space because it is another comfortable place to sit, even if you’re not doing work at the desk. Don’t forget your USB Charging Ports. Other items you will need for a desk are a light, pen/pencil holder and maybe even a pad of paper with your logo on it! We also have a neighborhood guide, an Echo Dot (disclose these in your contract) and a bunch of National Geographic magazines.
Lighting can make or break a room. It sets the mood. I used the 3rd rattan chandelier in two rooms because it looked so good. The middle one we put in the bathroom. The first one we didn’t end up using, but I love it and will put it somewhere, sometime.
I can’t stand all of the waste that goes into the one time use plastic shampoo & conditioner bottles, so I purchased these aluminum pump bottles and large containers of paraben free shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. I would recommend purchasing a pump for each of the gallon size containers as well for ease of transfer into the aluminum bottles. I refill and sanitize between each guest. I purchased waterproof labels and put our logo on them from stickeryou.com. It was super easy, reasonable and they don’t have any minimums.
Be sure to have plenty of storage space and shelving. Not having enough space to set their bathroom items is one of people’s biggest complaints when staying at an airbnb.
I always purchase white towels, sheets, and bedding. It’s easier to get stains out of. I mostly use OxiClean, but sometimes pull out the bleach for super tough stains.
This vanity is fantastic because it has storage, is easy to clean, and looks amazing. You will have to purchase a faucet as well. Faucets are something I wouldn’t skimp on. Having a leaky faucet is the worst. Especially at a rental!
I love mirrors with shelf to add more places to set items. We added towel racks too just to be sure there is plenty of places to put your stuff!
If you’re offering a spa experience, i.e., wine glass (be sure it’s plastic), tray, flowers, bath bombs, etc., be sure your bath bombs are dye free. Initially I didn’t offer bath bombs, but I had someone use one the other day and it dyed a pink ring around the newly refinished tub. I used bleach and it worked to get it out, but I’d like to avoid all of that in the future.
A full size iron and ironing board is a must in every rental.
These shower rings are great because it is super simple to remove the shower curtain. I use a washable fabric shower curtain since I remove it and wash between each stay.
If you have a small space, a stackable washer/dryer is super useful. Double check attachments and dimensions before ordering. I love to order my laundry and dishwasher pods from a place called dropps.com because they are eco friendly, reasonably priced, and ship automagically.
Creating a functional, usable, cozy, fun kitchen is a task. Depending on your space, you may want seating in your kitchen. As mentioned above, our house is super small, but oddly has a decent sized kitchen. It is the only space we have for a table in the house. Be sure your table fits as many people as you say your rental can sleep. So, if you sleep 5, you’ll need a table for 5. We continued the yellow theme throughout the house. Using one dominant color ads flow and cohesiveness to the space.
I tried to think of everything one would need in a kitchen. I love to cook and eat kind of a strange diet, so when we are away, it is important for me to have a usable kitchen.
People love the coffee bar we have set up. I include coffee, coffee grinder, espresso maker, press, tea kettle, frother, large mugs, syrups, creamers, sugar packets, hot chocolate and teas. I also like to provide some basics, like spices, salt, pepper, olive oil, and fast food packets. There is nothing worse than having to buy all of the basics when you’re on vacation to only have to leave them behind.
Always choose a king size bed if there is any way you can make it work. I thought I would have to do floating shelves on either side, but it turned out that we had enough space for little night stands. We won’t book a room if there isn’t a king size bed. I don’t think we’re alone. I’ve heard this before from many people. Be sure to get high thread count sheets. I like cotton, because they’re more breathable. Although, they wrinkle.
TIP: If you spray the sheets with water once they’re on your bed it and smooth with your hands it should take care of the wrinkles.
We love the foam mattress. It’s reasonably priced and quite comfortable. A nice thick mattress pad will add a plush feel. Be sure to purchase a mattress encasement (zips all the way around the mattress) to help prevent bed bugs. Do this for your pillows too. Add a mattress protector on top of the pad and the encasement. This will save lots of time when cleaning. I purchased two of everything in regards to the bed clothes. This way I can just go in, strip everything down, and have clean everything at the ready. I just take home the dirty items. I treat any stains right away. This is why I ask renters not to strip the beds. I like to be able to visualize any stains.
Have plenty of blankets on hand. An electric blanket is a nice addition if your rental is in a cold area. Pillows of various sizes and thicknesses are an extra added touch that people really appreciate. Be sure they are hypoallergenic, no down as many people are allergic to this. Same goes for your duvet.
One of the biggest complaints I’ve heard is no mirror in the bedroom. If you’re able to fit it, a full length mirror will be much appreciated. If you can’t fit it in the bedroom, something like the one below would look nice in a hallway or living room as well.
Black out curtains are really important. People like their privacy and sleeping in on vacation is a right!
Everyone sleeps differently. Some people need a sound machine–an echo can act as a sound machine as well. Some people I know travel with their fan so they can sleep. I provide all of these things because traveling with a fan is cumbersome. These touches will set you apart from other stays in your area.
Create a fun, beautiful outdoor area for people to relax. A place to eat outside is an extra fun added bonus. High end fire smokeless fire pit will be much appreciated.
We’ve considered adding a theater room in the little shed next to our house. We haven’t bitten the bullet yet on this, but these are all of the items I would purchase if we decided to go in that direction. We did purchase the tv below and the mounting system. We also really love the cord covers in the second row below. They keep everything tidy and hidden.
SECURITY & ELECTRONIC
These items can get quite spendy, but the ease of use with the Schlage Encode has been lifesaving. We love that we don’t have to be there to let renters in and we can change the code remotely for each individual stay. We also have control over the thermostat. We don’t bother with it much, but it is nice to have remote access just in case someone leaves it up high when they leave.
We have security cameras at all entrances. You must disclose these and having them inside is not allowed. We don’t pay much attention to them. They are there just in case we need them. It gives us peace of mind and may help in the future if something were to happen.