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How to Decorate a Bedroom for an Airbnb (7 Steps)

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  • This article has been written and researched by Andrei Vasilief (a professional architect and interior designer) for maximum factual accuracy and to provide unique insights.

Decorating a bedroom for the purpose of renting via Airbnb requires a different approach to that of decorating a hotel room or even a private residence.

So how do you decorate a bedroom for an Airbnb?

To successfully decorate a bedroom for Airbnb renting: identify the ideal target audience and choose a personalized theme they will like; buy durable furniture that can easily be replaced; segment and furnish the room; then add carpets, lighting, and artwork.

In the rest of this article, I have used my professional experience as an architect and interior designer to expand on these points so that you have a full guide that walks you through the process of decorating your Airbnb bedroom/apartment from scratch.

I have included a worked example with visual mock-ups to give you a better idea of how to do this but you can choose your own theme and extrapolate the points that are relevant to your needs.

I have also included 5 Airbnb bedroom design ideas in the second half of this article – with a critique of each so that you have a better idea of what to do and what not to do.

Need a new mattress for your Airbnb bedroom? I recommend the Puffy Lux Hybrid because it suits a wide range of sleepers and has excellent pressure relief that your clients will love – click here to learn more in my personal review.

How to Decorate a Bedroom for an Airbnb in 7 Steps

There is a big difference between interior design for a private home, versus interior design for an Airbnb rental unit, whether it’s long or short term.

When we decorate a private residence, we look to balance the budget to get the maximum possible quality out of it.

This quality to price ratio along with the personality of the owner is generally the key to creating a successful home interior design.

This changes when we create spaces that have to be suitable for renting.

The process of designing a bedroom for an Airbnb is quite different from designing for a private individual.

For one, there are a lot more factors to consider, and the way we structure our budget is quite different.

There are also changes when we choose which furniture to use.

To better understand this, let’s go through it step by step:

1: Identify Your Target Audience

Before you commence decorating your bedroom for the purpose of being an Airbnb, the first crucial step is to identify your ideal customer because you will be decorating the room so that it appeals to them specifically.

To do this, start by identifying the location of your property and the amount you are going to charge.

The Target Audience Will Differ Depending on the Property Location

If your location is downtown in a major metropolitan area, such as London or Los Angeles, then it will have a different target audience than if it were on the beach in Miami or in the mountains.

The goal here is to identify who comes into the area and for what purpose.

It’s important to note that tourism is also not the only reason; business travel or temporary relocation are also major driving factors in the way the unit will be rented.

Look at what activities are in your area and what is the main draw of the location, and this will give you a clear picture of who you are renting to.

For example, if your Airbnb is located in Silicon Valley then a huge draw is the tech-start up culture so you would be best targeting entrepreneurs and business folks.

Adjust the Cost to Suit Your Ideal Customer

Next is the amount you want to charge and it depends on both where the unit is located and who your target audience is.

Depending on the location and travel type you can choose a price per night.

For example, locations targeted towards business travelers can charge more than basic leisure travel.

Following the same logic, units located in more expensive locations will be more expensive than units located in more affordable locations.

An Airbnb in Frankfurt will target business travelers, but an Airbnb in Berlin will have to be able to target both business and leisure travelers; as well as tap into short-term rental categories – such as remote workers or digital nomads.

Example: Targeting Business Travelers and Short Term Rentals

Airbnb Bedroom
This Large Room is Suitable for Business and Short Term Rentals

Let’s start with the location and work from there.

Let’s assume that this unit is a small apartment in a larger home, located in a central metropolitan area, where both leisure and business travel is viable.

We have a series of generous windows, complemented by a black frame and a wooden parquet floor.

Right from the start, we can see that this is a large room, which also has access to a personal kitchen and bathroom.

This means that this unit is suitable for short-term rental as well, so we need to decide who the target client is here.

Because of the size of the unit, we will target business travelers and short-term rentals, as they would benefit from the size of the room, rather than the ones that travel for leisure.

2: Choose a Concept Theme For Your Target Audience

Now that you have a target audience and an idea about what you can charge, you need to create an interior design concept – otherwise known as the ‘theme’ of the room.

This is quite important for a few reasons:

  • The days when AirBnB was just a simple app to rent out the spare bedroom you had are long gone and competition is more fierce.
  • A clean, nice apartment can charge a decent price, but a clean, great-looking one can charge even more.
  • The audience that uses Airbnb is far larger today than it was a few years ago and we can say the same for its renters.
  • Staying ahead of the competition is key and the simplest way to do this is to create a concept and stick with it.
  • It can make you stand out and give your unit identity, and so we can start to have the basic building blocks of a brand – this can be very valuable.

Adapt the Concept to Your Budget

Your budget is not infinite, so you must see how it can adapt to the concept you wish to implement.

As a rule of thumb here, the more complex the concept, the more money it requires to implement, and the more minimalist it is, the simpler it is to put into practice.

Start by creating a list of the necessary pieces, focusing on the most important ones first.

Then see how you can save money from the secondary pieces if necessary.

If you are prepared to do a bit of DIY, then you can upcycle old furniture to save money (such as painting your bed frame) or even building your own furniture (like building your own space-saving loft bed).

Remember that You are Not Creating a Hotel Room

Airbnbs are not hotels, there are key differences between them.

An Airbnb can resemble a boutique hotel room, but it should be something far more interesting than the standard room that you can find in any hotel.

Personal touches are highly useful, and instead of replicating what hotels do, you should focus on doing something that appeals to your ideal customer.

Standard residential interior design principles still apply.

Airbnbs are residences in the end, even if they are just for one night.

So any good residential design principle is still going to apply.

Keeping storage contained to a single unit, having clear zones for various purposes, and having a coherent space, are all very important.

Example: A Professional Concept

Dark Airbnb Professional Theme
A Darker Theme Creates a Professional Feel

There is already a dark pattern in the room, from the combination of the dark frame and parquet.

So we will go with a darker, more professional concept, rather than something light and airy.

3: Consider Furniture Durability and Replaceability

The furniture and items in your Airbnb bedroom must be durable to withstand frequent use and easily replaceable if they become damaged beyond repair.

Durability

When choosing furniture for your Airbnb it is important to keep in mind that beyond just looks, it needs to be durable.

Furniture in rental units generally suffers a lot of torture, so you need to be wise in your choices and go with something that isn’t fragile (such as frail wicker items) – choose solid wood furniture like cherry wood if you can afford it.

Replaceability

The furniture inside your Airbnb needs to be replaceable.

Even the most hard-wearing items will need replacing eventually, so go with solid pieces that you can find easily.

4: Segment the Room and Furnish

We want to create a calm space that is viable as an office and a living space for our target audience.

From this, we decide that we need three separate areas in the room:

  • A work area.
  • A sitting area.
  • A sleeping area.

4.1: Add a Bed and Wardrobe

Bed and Wardrobe for Airbnb Bedroom
Bed and Wardrobe for Airbnb Bedroom

We will start with the sleeping area first as the bed is quite a large unit that needs to fit well.

This will be composed of a bed and a storage unit, which in this case will be a wardrobe.

We fit these units at the end of the room, which is a more private corner of the unit.

We put the wardrobe next to the window, fitting the whole area between the window and wall and floor to ceiling.

Because we are also targeting short-term rentals, we want to have a large storage unit that can fit everything.

This is where we follow basic interior design principles and create a single storage unit for the whole room.

We decide to go with a double bed as that widens the pool of potential clients and it also looks more premium than a single bed (I recommend the Puffy Lux Hybrid mattress and frame for a softer, memory foam feel; and the DreamCloud Hybrid for a firmer and more bouncy feel).

We also go one step further and choose a wardrobe with wooden tones similar to the floor and a black frame, which fits in with the frame of the windows.

This gives the whole design a more premium vibe that stays in the concept.

Next, we add two bedside tables, keeping with the wooden tones already present in the room.

4.2: Implement a Wooden Divider to Create a Premium Look

Wooden Divider for Airbnb Bedroom
Wooden Divider for Airbnb Bedroom

Right now we have a functional sleeping area but we are starting to notice a problem.

Once we add both the living space and the work desk it will start to look like a large room with furniture.

While this is not exactly bad, it does detract from the whole idea of a business premium rental that we are going for.

This is where we decide to create a divider, to separate the two.

We have two options: a piece of furniture, or a built divider.

A piece of furniture is ok and does the job, but it’s not a premium solution – it looks cheap.

Because of this, we decide to go for a built divider.

We choose a series of wooden columns, placed between the sleeping area and the rest of the room.

We go for a tone similar to the floor, to keep the whole theme coherent.

You can even take this a step further by adding a lighting system that can be built-in.

But we are trying to keep the price to an acceptable level and so we will just go for the divider.

4.3: Create the Sitting Area

We can now move to create a sitting area.

This has four components:

Sofa

Sofa and Chair for Airbnb Bedroom
Sofa for Airbnb Bedroom

We choose a smaller sofa that can fit well and leave room for the other components.

We choose a dark blue material, that is complementary to the black window frame.

Chair

Small Chair for Airbnb Bedroom
Small Chair for Airbnb Bedroom

We go for a smaller chair – instead of an armchair – because it fits much better.

We also go for a chair that has the same wooden tonnes as the floor.

Coffee Table

Coffee tables work great as individual pieces because they are small and ubiquitous.

So, we choose something to break up the color palette we have kept until now.

TV

We add the TV to the sidewall.

When you have situations where you don’t have the luxury of placing the TV in a proper location, there are specialized wall mounts that can be used; giving you more options for placement.

This is a similar situation, where we don’t have an adequate location for placing the TV.

4.4: Add a Large Desk

Large Desk for Airbnb Bedroom
Large Desk for Airbnb Bedroom

Now that we have everything placed, it’s time to find a location for a desk.

We decide to position it next to the divider.

It’s snug, but it can work well.

Rental unit desks have to be of a decent size, without being too big.

It’s never a good idea to go for the smallest desk size as they can be quite uncomfortable to use.

So, we opt to size up.

The area is a bit snug but is quite functional and good-looking.

Again, the desk follows the same color palette as the rest of the design.

5: Add Carpets Selectively

Carpet Sections for Airbnb Bedroom Apartment
Carpet Sections for Airbnb Bedroom Apartment

With the areas in place, we now want to add some decor to finish it up.

We will start with carpets/rugs.

We add two sections of carpets, identical in texture but with different sizes.

This will further enhance the different spaces in the room, but it will make it look coherent.

We will go for a lighter color, to add a bit of variety and make sure the room looks well put together but not dull.

For the sleeping space, we place a large carpet that covers the floor under the bed.

This creates a comfortable feeling when getting out of the bed and having a soft surface, instead of the wooden parquet.

It also looks much better.

We do the same for the sitting area, adding a carpet that covers as much as possible.

This creates structure and definition within the room, something that is necessary given the size of the space.

6: Situate Lamps Throughout

Lamps for Airbnb Bedroom Apartment
Lamps for Airbnb Bedroom Apartment

We next move to add a few additional light sources, to accentuate certain areas and provide a nice atmosphere at night.

We add two lamps, one in the seating area (which will also serve the desk) and one in the sleeping area.

We go with a classic design, and materiality close the overall patterns in the design.

However, we choose a lighter wood than the ones already present.

This a great trick to create diversity, but at the same time staying within the bounds of our overarching concept.

This is something that can be applied to multiple other materials, such as paint or metal.

7: Place Decorative Artwork

Artwork for Airbnb Bedroom Apartment
Artwork for Airbnb Bedroom Apartment

Now that we have the majority of pieces placed, we want to add a few decorative pieces of artwork to the apartment to create character and interest.

We will opt to implement large pieces in key locations.

These are as follows: one above the sofa, one above the bed, and one placed centrally somewhere.

We want to use pieces that have the same color scheme, but that will also contrast with the current colors and textures.

This is to keep everything interesting and good-looking rather than monotonous.

We opt for 3 colorful retro urban landscapes, which are very colorful and work well with the overall vibe of the space.

Because this is an Airbnb in a metropolitan location, we want to remind the person who will use it of this.

But at the same time, we don’t want to create a hotel room feeling, and these images are the perfect personal touches that space needs.

All of them are perspective drawings and they all have the same color palette.

This is something to keep in mind when you are designing an Airbnb: personal touches are very important, as this is not a hotel room.

Airbnbs should feel personal and boutique, they should be an experience as much as a place to stay.

This is a core reason why people use Airbnb in the first place.

5 Airbnb Bedroom Design Ideas (Good and Bad)

Now that we have designed an Airbnb bedroom, let’s look at a few other examples so that we can see other ways of approaching this design type, as well as learn from them.

The examples that we will show here are not all going to be good, so we will point out what works, as well as what doesn’t work.

Flawed designs can teach you just as much, if not more, about proper design techniques than a good one.

1: Colonial (Fair – Needs More Personal Touches)

Colonial Airbnb Bedroom
Colonial Airbnb Bedroom (Image #1 Pixabay)

We start with a design in a more sunny area.

It follows basic colonial principles of interior design, keeping all the furniture in theme.

We have a large bed with an oversized headboard, which is fitting for a colonial-style interior.

A great touch is the use of the orange drapes, which are the same as the ones at the base of the bed, as well as the round pillow on the bed.

This is an excellent choice for tying everything together in a subtle manner.

On top of the bed, we have three images, with a floral theme.

So, we have a good concept implemented quite well.

Where this design fails though, is in the lack of personal touches.

The space feels very much like a hotel room, rather than an Airbnb.

This is a bit of a let down, as a few more personal touches would have been amply sufficient to take this design from ok to great.

2: Integrated (Fair – Color Scheme Needs to be Better)

Integrated Airbnb Bedroom
Integrated Airbnb Bedroom (Image #2 Pixabay)

Our next example is very interesting and has a lot of great lessons.

Right from the start, we notice that they have incorporated a sitting area, sleeping area, and working space, all within the same room.

Furthermore, because they didn’t have the space to fit all of them individually, they created a mixed seating/working area.

This is a great solution.

Taking it a step further, the sofa and bed share the same material, bringing everything together.

Another nice touch is the table top in white – the same as the bed cover.

Even more so, the table legs and floor are in the same nuance.

This is then extended further to the tv commode, which is in a shade of wood similar to the floor and coffee table.

So far, so good, but there are two issues with this design.

Number one, same as before, very few personal touches.

While it doesn’t look like a hotel room, a few more touches here and there would have been great.

The pillows and wall art are a good starting point, but more is needed.

The second one, the curtain is very much an independent piece, not tied to anything in the design.

The color doesn’t fit, making it seem extra, rather than part of the whole.

A different color choice would have been great.

3: Green (Poor – Outdated)

Green Theme Airbnb Bedroom
Green Theme Airbnb Bedroom (Image #3 Pixabay)

Another not-so-great example.

While the use of green around the room, from the bed to the curtains is a good choice, there are many other issues with space.

To start, the bed is large, and it dominates the room.

It also feels outdated, being a bit of an old design.

The green curtains are very heavy, because of the pattern and close off the room a lot.

This, coupled with the bed, makes the space feel very cluttered and heavy.

Finally, we have the chair, which is in a light blue shade.

While it can feel close enough to green to work with, it feels quite out of place and further clutters the room.

4: Historic Floral (Fair – Too Cluttered)

Historic Floral Airbnb Bedroom
Historic Floral Airbnb Bedroom (Image #4 Pexels)

Our next example is in a historic building, as we can tell from the interior wall corniche.

We have a medium-sized bed which is ok and works with the classical theme.

Above the bed, we have colorful artwork, which is in theme with the classically inspired design and suits.

On the floor, we have a colorful carpet on a black marble floor.

This is a great touch, further enhanced by the link between the colors of the carpet and the artwork.

Three mirrors are added, which work to enhance the feeling of spaciousness in the room, something that is quite necessary.

As with the previous examples, there are some faults here as well.

Firstly, placing the TV asymmetrically between the mirrors is not a great look – as it feels it was done so in a rush.

Secondly, the pink wallpaper is very much out of place.

There is an attempt to bring it in, by using a small pink bedcover, but it doesn’t really work and still feels very much poorly positioned.

It’s advisable to steer clear of such colors for Airbnb as they can be very polarizing.

5: Bold American (Best Example – Detailed and Personal)

Bold American Airbnb Bedroom
Bold American Airbnb Bedroom (Image #5 Pexels)

Finally, we have a strong design concept that is very personal, as well as being bold and avoiding the hotel trap.

The theme here is lightly inspired by 70s and 80s American design trends.

We have an interesting bed, which is very colorful, placed on a geometric wallpaper background.

Right from the start, this is a very interesting choice and works quite well.

But when coupled with the lamps it becomes even more fascinating to look at.

Another excellent touch: the pillowcases are of similar color and texture as the wallpaper, tying the whole room together.

If I were to criticize, I would say that the left bedside table is much more interesting than the right one and that creates an imbalance.

But overall, this is a great example.

Conclusion: Focus on Your Ideal Customer

Airbnbs are here to stay and a core part of the new gig economy, brought forth by new platforms and ways of doing business.

But in recent years, this has moved very much forward from being a simple side gig opportunity to possibly becoming a proper income.

Because of this, if you are interested in going down this route, doing some research and accessing educational resources on the topic is very much worth the invested time and effort.

This article has condensed some of the key points for you, showing you some examples, as well as walking you through how a potential design might work to better prepare you for the challenge of creating your own Airbnb.

The key piece of advice that I can give you as a professional architect and interior designer is that of keeping your ideal customer at the forefront of your mind when decorating your Airbnb – it’s better to appeal greatly to a certain demographic than try to please everyone (which isn’t possible!)

As you have seen from the examples, there is still much room for improvement and the market is in a place where we are now starting to see real design game-changers appearing. 

Armed with the knowledge from this article, you are in a much better position to properly design your unit and bring something truly unique to your Airbnb.

Up next: learn how to make a bedroom look indie.


Image Attribution and Licencing

The following images are used with permission under the terms of Canva’s One Design Use License Agreement:

Main image: ‘Modern Bedroom Interior’ by Hung_Chung_Chih (Getty Images).

Image #1: ‘A Hotel Room’ by LLBartlett (Pixabay).

Image #2: ‘Modern Hotel Bedroom Interior’ by davidlee770924 (Pixabay).

Image #3: ‘Hotel Room Interior’ by bottlein (Pixabay).

Image #4: ‘Modern Hotel Room With Bed’ by MaxVakhtbovych (Pexels).

Image #5: ‘Comfortable Room With Huge Bed in Hotel by BM (Pexels).

All other images are custom made by Animo Regis and used with permission.

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