Your Airbnb business can only survive if you attract customers. Whether or not prospective customers choose your property depends a great deal on the quality of your pictures as well as decorating choices.
The good news is that there are many things you can do to make your Airbnb property more attractive without blowing the bank, and good decorating decisions can help your property appear more premium.
(Which plays a major part within the larger ecosystem of marketing your Airbnb.)
To decorate your Airbnb to attract more customers, know your travelers (ex: where are they from and what are they looking for?), take great photos or hire a professional, and dedicate 60% of your decor to neutral colors. Tall mirrors and curtains can make it look more spacious and use branded decor.
Before you start redecorating your space, you need to think about your customers. When you know what they want, you can decorate with items they find both helpful and attractive. In this article, we will go over how to do just that, with information on:
- Knowing Your Customers
- Making sure your listing stands out with photography
- Using decorations wisely
- Making your space feel clean and spacious
- Using decorations for branding
Table of Contents
FREE Cheat Sheet Reveals Simple Interior Design Tips To Attract More Bookings
✅ Avoid the #1 Mistake most Airbnb hosts forget when furnishing their rental (see Do #4)
✅ Quickly verify ANY room in your Airbnb to see if it is compliant with important design principles
✅ Learn what drives guests CRAZY and makes them feel like interlopers (see Don’t #7)
1. Knowing Your Customers
Are you looking for business clients? Do you cater to tourists who have come to look at local landmarks or couples looking to spend some time together? Is your space ideal for families with children?
If you want to attract customers, you should know what sort of customers you want to attract, because it will determine the kind of decorating styles you focus on. Are your travelers looking for a rustic cabin experience, or are they in town to do business?
If you aren’t sure, tools like AirDNA can tell you the top cities your travelers are coming from, which will give you a big clue.
You don’t want decorations that might drive clients away. Before you begin redecorating, you should think about the guests you wish to attract. Instead of building your decorating plan around your tastes, think about theirs.
Your property should reflect your personality, not your personal life. Family photos make renters feel like they’re staying in somebody else’s house. You want them to feel like they’re in a guest house. You should decorate your Airbnb property with other peoples’ pictures, not your own. And treat religious and politically themed decorations with caution. You want your guests to feel happy, not offended.
Decorating Tips Based On Themes
Here are a few different types of decorating for the different traveler type:
- Business clients have a job to do. Charging stations, a printer, a coffee maker, and a robust wireless connection will be required. Make sure you keep the cords well-organized to avoid the appearance of clutter. A good-sized desk and a comfortable office chair will help them get their work done. Tasteful minimalist design will be best suited to their needs.
- Couples are looking for a romantic getaway. Pendant lamps and LED candles can help set the proper mood. Use soft gold and silver tones and lots of quilts and pillows, and make sure your bathroom is suited for the occasion. You might not be able to afford a jacuzzi just yet, but your guests will greatly appreciate a vase full of fresh flowers and a tray filled with scented soaps.
- Traveling families will appreciate decorations that keep their children entertained. A bookcase filled with old children’s books can be both pretty and functional. Families with infants and toddlers will be grateful for a changing table, and rooms painted with bright colors and murals. They (and you!) will be much happier with soft decorations than with fragile items.
- Tourists have come for recreation. Vintage pictures of regional landmarks, antique signs from area businesses, and posters promoting local artists will help get them in your hometown spirit. But as with everything else, a little discretion is in order. Many clients may come to town to watch your local team. Others might not enjoy wall-to-wall sports memorabilia. The former is likely to enjoy a sports team themed rental with shrines and art, while the latter would like a rental themed with what your area is known for, such as a beach or mountain theme.
2. Professional Photos Will Make Your Listings Stand Out
Did you know that, according to Airbnb, 85% of listings aren’t using professional photos? That’s a lot of blurry smartphone pictures! Did you also know that, according to an e-commerce survey, poor quality photos are the THIRD biggest reason why people don’t purchase online?
Remember, your Airbnb listing is competing with other listings, so you need something to make it stand out. In fact, people are more likely to look at your photos than they are to read your description. So when you finish decorating, make sure you get the best possible picture of your work.
If you’re going to use your smartphone, we recommend following some of our tips and choosing a time of day when you can open the curtains to shoot by natural light, as photos taken with a flash are less appealing to viewers if you don’t know how to use it.
Take several shots of your room, and then choose the best ones for your profile and social media.
3. Decorate Using The 60/30/10 Rule
Bright red satin pillows draw the viewer’s eye where more neutral tones fade into the background. A dull dresser can become interesting when you add a jade-green vase. So with decorations, a little can go a long way. Your Airbnb space should be memorable but not overwhelming to the senses.
When choosing colors, Valerie Malone of QuillDesign recommends a 60/30/10 rule. 60% of your decor should use light neutral colors; 30% should be in darker neutral colors; 10% should be in brighter “pops” of color. You should also try to stick to a few closely related tones rather than stuffing your room with a dozen clashing shades. A lighter color will stand out less, and be more soothing, than a darker one.
One big decoration is generally preferable to many small ones. A large painting on an otherwise bare wall is striking: many small images on that same wall can start looking cluttered. Cluttered areas look messy and also make a room appear smaller.
And most guests would rather stay in a big, clean room than a small, messy one.
4. Making Your Space Feel Clean and Spacious
Worn rugs and chipped paint make your property feel dirty. That battered loveseat may be comfortable, but without reupholstery, it will never be photogenic. Use matching bed sheets, bed pillows, and towels. And always make sure your property is spotless. No decorations will hide a dirty floor or overflowing trash can.
Your Airbnb property may be small in size, but it doesn’t have to look small. A large mirror can make a room look larger and brighter. A tall mirror can make your ceilings look higher. So can a sizable floor vase filled with twigs. Hanging curtains well above the windows will also make your room look and feel bigger then it actually is.
A well-lit room feels more spacious than a dimly lit one. Supplementing ceiling lights with floor and table lamps can help keep your guests from feeling cramped. “Work in layers in varying heights,” says Sean Breyer. “Ceiling lamps, table lamps, and floor lamps should give you the light that you need, especially when combined with natural lighting.”
This video from Airbnb Superhosts Sophie and Saba will give you lots of good ideas on how you can use decorations to make your property more attractive.
For a more in-depth resource on interior design, you’ll want to read the Interior Design Masterclass (Amazon).
5. Use Decorations for Branding
With a little bit of work, a decoration can become an integral part of your brand. A Victorian wall tapestry can be repurposed as the featured image on your social media accounts and as your business logo. So can an abstract lithograph, a teddy bear, or the bright blue pillows on your guest bed. Any signature piece on your property, no matter how small, can become a defining part of your business image.
Find the decoration which you would use to define your business. If you’re using a reproduction of someone else’s art, check to make sure that it’s out of copyright. (If you can find the image on Wikimedia Commons, you’re probably safe). Then put that decoration in the public eye.
Make your pillows the featured image on your social media accounts. Use the garden gnome statue in your front yard as your mascot. Whenever you get a chance, post images of your most striking decorations. Your rental can become famous as the Place with Bright Blue Pillows or The Garden Gnome’s Guest House.
Clever advertising and a solid social media presence can help you stand out amidst all the other properties.
Your decorating plan can grow with your business. A few quick and inexpensive changes can bring you more guests simply by making your space feel cleaner, bigger, and more inviting.
Wise color choices and signature pieces can help you to stand out in a very competitive market. As your decorating skills improve, you will find your guests sharing photos of your property with their friends. Decorating your property is a low-cost solution that can do great things for your rental income!
If you’re looking to take your short term rental seriously, check out our post on the must read books every host should read!