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When it comes to setting up your Airbnb, you’re not just furnishing a space; you’re curating a unique experience for potential guests. However, the process of decorating can be both overwhelming and costly if you’re not careful.

While ensuring the space exudes warmth and comfort is a top priority, you don’t need to drain your budget to achieve it. No need to splurge on fancy items; there’s a savvy way to create a lasting impression and still make your guests happy.

With some research and planning, you can transform your Airbnb rental into a cozy home for guests while staying within your budget. Here are some practical tips on how to decorate an Airbnb on a tight budget.

modern living room

Things to Consider When Decorating Your Airbnb

Before decorating your Airbnb, there are several things to keep in mind. The overall goal is to make a great first impression by curating an attractive space that is functional and comfortable for your guests. That said, here are the things to keep in mind when furnishing your space:

Understand Your Audience

It is important to understand who you are trying to target and whom your Airbnb rental will attract. Think about your target Airbnb guests and the kind of atmosphere they are most interested in. For example, are you targeting families with small children, girl or guy groups, couples, business travelers etc?

All these different types of groups will have specific needs that you will need to consider when furnishing your space. 

Style and Design

Think about the design style you would like to create in your short term rental property and midterm rental.

Think about the theme? Are you going for a – rustic, modern, or farmhouse style?  

Consider the Space: Take into account the size and layout of your Airbnb.

Think about the Mood: Consider the mood you want to create in each room.

Color Scheme – Different colors evoke different emotions and emphasize the size of a room. For example, lighter shades can make smaller spaces appear larger, while dark colors can add depth and coziness to larger areas.

You can opt for a primary color for each room and complement it with accent wall or install wallpaper for added visual interest. Think about accent colors that can be incorporated through pillows, artwork, or small decor pieces.

Once you have a clear style and design direction in mind, it’s easier to start shopping for furniture and decor items that best fit. 

Decide on a Budget

You must decide on a budget for your furnishings. Determine your maximum upfront budget. This will help you decide on furniture, fixtures, and appliances you can afford.

Checklist for Decorating an Airbnb

kitchen in a cottage with hanging pots
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Start by creating an Airbnb host checklist of all the furniture, decor, accessories, supplies, and other items you may need to furnish each room on the property. 

The right pieces can add warmth and personality to the room, so carefully considering the new furniture you buy is important.  A sample checklist might include the following by room type:

  • Kitchen – Coffee maker (Coffee Pot or Keurig), Air fryer, toaster, pots and pans, cookware, knife set, and other kitchen utensils.
  • Bedroom – Mattress, bed frames, nightstands, lamps, sheets, pillows, blankets, etc. 
  • Living Room – Couch or Sofa, Chairs, coffee table, television, side tables, etc.
  • Bathroom – towels, soap dispenser, shower curtain, bath mats, etc. 
  • Dining RoomDining table, chairs, centerpiece, etc. 
  • Accessories – throw pillows, throw blankets, rugs, wall art, indoor plants and faux plants.
  • Suppliestowels, cleaning products, toilet paper, etc. 
  • Security – security system, smart lock, or lockbox

This is not an exhaustive list but a starting point when creating your checklist by room. When choosing the best furniture for Airbnb, try to pick durable and long-lasting items, as they will endure lots of wear and tear over multiple guests.  

Tips on How to Decorate Your Airbnb on a Budget

living room with curtain

Decorative elements can bring life and character to your Airbnb. Here are some ideas to add unique and stylish decor pieces:

Incorporate Wall Art: Hang artwork that suits the overall theme of your Airbnb. Consider abstract paintings, vintage posters, or even framed photographs of local attractions to add a personal touch.

Use Mirrors: Mirrors not only serve a functional purpose but also make a space appear larger and brighter. Incorporate mirrors in strategic locations to create the illusion of more space.

Add Plants and Greenery: Indoor plants are a great way to bring nature indoors and add a touch of freshness to your space. Consider low-maintenance plants such as succulents or snake plants that thrive in various conditions.

Utilize Statement Lighting Fixtures: Choose eye-catching light fixtures that serve as focal points in each room. This could be a chandelier, pendant lights, or a unique floor lamp that adds a touch of elegance to your space.

Statement Pieces: Incorporate one or two statement pieces that catch the eye and add a touch of personality to your space. This could be a unique armchair, a vintage dresser, or a bold piece of artwork.

Statement Areas – create areas within the home that can stand out by itself and be a focal point. An example would be a cozy reading nook area that your guests will appreciate.

Soft Textiles: Incorporate soft textiles such as plush rugs, cozy blankets, and comfortable throw pillows to add warmth and comfort to your space.

By carefully selecting decor pieces combined with thoughtful touches that complement your chosen theme, you can create a visually appealing and inviting atmosphere for your guests.

How to Find Furnishings and Airbnb Decor on a Budget

Shop Used Items Online

bedroomWith the popularity of Facebook Marketplace, Offerup, Craigslist, and Nextdoor, you would be surprised to find all types of treasures that people are trying to get rid of – some used and some brand-spanking new.

These platforms have everything from sofas to bedroom sets, dining tables, and dressers.  Shopping on these platforms can be a great way to find unique pieces that may add character to your space. 

Look for firesales happening in specific Facebook groups. With the growth of Airbnb hosts come market saturation and growth in competition; many people are jumping in and out of the Airbnb game, often selling off their furnishings to the quickest and highest bidder.

However, it’s important to remember that this way of shopping may require much flexibility, time, and patience. Nonetheless, it is still a great way to shop secondhand or used items from local sellers and find specific pieces you might need.

I have been lucky enough to find an entire bedroom, dining room set, and side tables for under $400 – both have only been used for less than a year. 

Thrift Stores

thrift store signThrift Stores can have lots of unique finds and hidden gems. You’d be surprised what you can find at a thrift store online or in-store. Most thrift stores have a home decor section that sells art, bedroom and bathroom items, pottery, and furniture for cheap to furnish the entire home.

Although some thrift stores have larger aisles and selections than others, there’s no limitation on what you can find – it simply depends on what is available in your area.

I made a few trips to Goodwill and the Salvation Army, where I found vintage pieces, lamps, wall decor, glassware, books, baskets, music records, and much more. For even more deals, be sure to go on special discount days.

Garage Sales, Estate Sales and Flea Markets

You can find all sorts of gems at garage sales and estate sales. Add them to your list of places to find items to decorate your space.

Dollar Stores

The dollar store is a great place to find budget-friendly items. Dollar Tree and Dollar General are my preferred spots for getting kitchen accessories, dinnerware, silverware, dishes, and mugs.

I like buying these items at the dollar store because they tend to get lost or broken in my short-term rental space. I also picked up various art pieces, picture frames, storage cubes, vases, and other small decor items. And the best part is, it’s mostly $1.25 plus tax.

Shop Large Online Retailers

You can purchase a wide range of items from Amazon to Walmart and Ikea in one place. With many good deals and discounts online, it’s easy to find stylish yet cheap furniture and decor to give your rental space that perfect look.

The best part is that most offer free shipping so you don’t have to worry about getting the item into your home, especially large bulky ones. 

Additionally, you can easily compare retail prices and good reviews when shopping online to better understand this specific piece’s quality and durability.

Shop Clearance Sections

Don’t be afraid to shop the clearance aisles at your favorite department stores. Clearance sections can offer pieces that add personality and style to the space without breaking your budget! 

Declutter Personal Space 

living room area Declutter your personal space by sifting through your own belongings. There are often items in our personal space that you no longer need or use that could be a beautiful addition to your vacation rental. And as the saying goes – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

And the best part about this is that it’s free to declutter your space. I removed many unused items from my home, including old wall paintings, picture frames, accent chairs, pillows, side tables, curtains, and other small figurines. I even removed a small sofa bed and added it to my Airbnb property.

Opt for DIY Projects 

Get creative with DIY projects, as they can help personalize a space while staying within budget. Consider ways to add more character and curate unique finds from thrift stores or yard sales, refinishing and cleaning old furniture.

A little bit of elbow grease and spray paint can completely transform any piece of furniture. Maybe even consider building a blanket ladder with scrap wood in your garage or upcycling an old side table.  This can all save you lots of money.

Get a Professional

If you are feeling overwhelmed or don’t have enough time or know-how, hiring the services of a professional interior designer or a furnishing company is still a viable option. Look for companies providing comprehensive Airbnb furnishing services, as they will work with you one-on-one to curate pieces that fit your style and budget. 

These companies will furnish your space and tailor it to your guests’ needs rather than simply following your own personal aesthetic preferences.

They have the knowledge and skill to provide expert tips on everything from color selection to furniture layout so that your property looks professional, inviting, and stylish. These companies often offer wholesale furniture packages, allowing you to buy reasonably.

A popular company that does this is Minoan. The Minoan Experience allows you to purchase Airbnb furniture packages or pieces a la carte, creating your own comprehensive package. 

An alternative to Minoan is Showroom Wholesale. Showroom will help you get your listing up and running quickly. They work for you by creating a professional design and curating the furniture that fits your design and budget. In addition, Showroom often offers hosts free stuff, from bedding to towels and toiletries for their guests. 

Browse Other Listings

airbnb listing

Make sure you look at your competitors to see how they are furnishing their spaces and what guests say about them.

Take note of the features each successful rental utilizes, and try to incorporate similar styles and elements into your own space. Pay attention to the furniture, lighting, artwork, and accessories.

Other Airbnb hosting ideas you might like:

How much does it cost to Furnish an Airbnb?

Depending on the size of your space, you could spend between $2,500 – $50,000 on furniture and Airbnb decor to create the perfect Airbnb listing. This average cost can vary based on the property size, budget, desired style, and luxury level.

Generally, if your style is simpler, you will likely be on the lower end of the scale, and if it is a bit more luxurious, you will be more on the higher end of the scale. 

With the cost of furnishings, it’s also essential to consider the cost of labor to move pieces into your space. This should be a part of your overall budget when decorating your Airbnb on a budget.

Does the Airbnb have to be Furnished?

Absolutely. A major factor in having an Airbnb listing is ensuring it is furnished. Each Airbnb unit should include a bed, mattress, and seating area with chairs and couches. Other items may include a desk, dining tables, and kitchen supplies (pans, utensils, etc.).

Guests book an Airbnb rental home for a comfortable stay with certain amenities. Whether renting out a full house or just a room, you should ensure it’s stocked with the essentials and key amenities.

living room with blue couch

Furnishing a property for an Airbnb rental can be an exciting project. However, it requires careful consideration to ensure the home is comfortable for guests and offers the basic amenities they need.

When looking for furnishings for an Airbnb, remember to choose materials that are aesthetically pleasing, functional, and easy to maintain. Once it is all said and done, take quality photos to show off everything you’ve done.

Please comment below to let me know what you think of this article. Feel free also to follow me on my social media pages – Pinterest and Instagram or subscribe to my mailing list for other design inspiration, DIY projects, and home decor ideas.

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Tamara White is the creator and founder of The Thrifty Apartment, a home decor and DIY blog that focuses on affordable and budget-friendly home decorating ideas and projects. Tamara documents her home improvement journey, love of thrifting, tips for space optimization, and creating beautiful spaces.

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