Designing a luxury Airbnb

Tips for turning your cottage or rental property into a profitable investment.

Editor’s note: This story, which originally published in the April 2020 issue of Grand Rapids Magazine, was written before the COVID-19 pandemic. 

With West Michigan becoming one of the country’s favorite summer vacation spots, turning your cottage or other rental property into a luxurious Airbnb can be a smart and profitable investment. Grand Rapids-based interior designer Krista Price shares a few tips on how to turn your family’s cottage into a dream vacation rental.

Community spaces
The key to a successful Airbnb is to give your guests an experience. “Design matters more than you think, but experience is more important,” Price said. “The majority of people I host are larger groups. They are families who come for weddings who want to stay, cook and be together. The experience is to be with family.”

One of the ways you can bring family together is by creating multiple community spaces. The latest Airbnb that Price designed featured one community space on each floor. It is important for families to reconnect away from their private rooms.

Use comfortable seating such as day beds, couches and chairs. Providing couch covers can protect furniture and also add style to the room. If you are choosing hard flooring, find fluffy rugs to allow guests to sit on the floor. Stock the room with board games and fun activities in trendy wicker baskets or built-in wall shelves for a family-friendly experience.
Shop community space: Target, West Elm, IKEA

Guests love staying at Airbnbs that are Instagramable. You can achieve this through design and sticking to the hottest trends.

Guests love staying at Airbnbs that are Instagramable. You can achieve this through design and sticking to the hottest trends. The top trends are geometric and contemporary light fixtures, bohemian rugs, midcentury modern furniture and greenery such as macramé hanging plants.

It also is important to capture different personalities to accommodate each guest. Price said, “Some room types should include gender-neutral, feminine, masculine, kid-friendly room, and, of course, a luxurious master room with a walk-in shower.”

Another important part of getting the design right is convenience. Price said providing each bathroom with color-assigned towels and two laundry rooms for fast turnovers and easy clean-ups are a few helpful options.
Shop design: Vintage shops, Wayfair, World Market

Guests are choosing Airbnbs now more than ever because people love to feel at home when on vacation. The biggest review complaints usually are about uncomfortable beds and outdated amenities, such as the bathroom. As an Airbnb host, consider sleep and shower as your top investment priorities.

Along with comfort, make sure your guests have a variety of linen options and fluffy pillows. Consider a linen closet that allows guests to choose different sheets and pillows if they would rather have a certain material.
Shop comfort: Westbound Linens, Overstock, Amazon

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