The Quill Blog

How to Make Your Vacation Rental Beautifully Minimal Without Being Stark

Aug 01, 2022

(above image: West End Whisk Away Nashville listing on Airbnb. Photograph by: Bryan Ladd Photograpy

Decorating a Short Term Rental is a tricky art.

You want to add character and interest to your space with cool decor, but you don't want your guests to feel overcrowded by superfluous stuff

I've found the key is striking the balance between too much, and not enough. You certainly don't want your home to feel as cold and sterile as a refrigerator box. But you also don't want people to feel surrounded by 'other people's things'.  Because that feels weird as a guest. 

Let's talk about some ways to achieve this balance. 


1. Large statement Art(above image: West End Whisk Away Nashville listing on Airbnb. Photograph by: Bryan Ladd Photograpy


Anna of West End Whisk Away, Nashville has created a charming haven in this historic rental home. Her decor in the dining room demonstrates perfectly what oversized art can...

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The BEST OF IKEA for your Short Term Rental

Jun 21, 2022

I once stayed at an Airbnb in Canada that was very clearly stocked and furnished with 100% Ikea everything. From the dishes to the duvet covers to the sofa. All of it. It wasn't great. It wasn't horrible, but it was not great. It lacked soul, for one thing. 

Let me first clarify, I love Ikea. I love the experience of visiting the stores and seeing the vignettes all set up in their staged glory. I love buying their art supplies for my kids. They've got some incredible storage solutions, and I'm even a fan of their kitchens for the right application. 

But do I think a Short Term Rental should be 100% Ikea? Definitely not. And if you're here reading this, I probably don't need to explain why. To boil it down, it will not differentiate you or your rental. In a market flooded with Ikea everything, you can be better

That said, there are some excellent Ikea furniture and decor items that you should totally consider folding...

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Selecting the Right Throw Pillows

Mar 30, 2022

(above image via: Studio McGee)

If you've been following me for a while, you may have heard me say to "always start with a plan, not throw pillows." At some point, though, you should definitely think about throw pillows. Why?! Because they're the fun handbags of the interior design world. 

If you're overwhelmed with where to find unique throw pillows for your rental, or how to pair them together well, this post is for you! 

Where to start

Throw pillows are a great way to add extra pops of color into a room. If you're wanting to mix multiple patterns and textures for a designer look, here's a simple breakdown of how to do that. 

(above image: Studio McGee)

Step 1: Start with a patterned pillow. Find a pattern you love that speaks to you and works with your existing color palette. Use this as the foundation to build from then... 

Step 2: ...add other patterns or textured solids and play around with what works. 

This may go without saying, but you...

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The 5 Plants Your Airbnb Needs Right now THAT YOU WON'T KILL

Mar 01, 2022

If you've been paying any attention to the design scene lately, you'll notice that plants are everywhere.

They literally bring life to a room, and can make an otherwise flat design feel complete and photo ready. Plants will make your temporary rental stand apart from your hotel competitors because: 

Hotels don't have plants!

As you're designing your Airbnb, you don't want to skip over adding some green buddies to your space!

However, I can understand your hesitation, especially if you yourself aren't going to be visiting the property regularly to care for them. Luckily, I've put together this easy guide for you to follow to make the process less stressful!

I also gathered up some of the best faux plant options on the market right now, so keep reading!

Step 1: Which Plants to Buy

Obviously, I'll suggest plants that are hardy and hard to kill. It's important, however, to recognize two things. 

  1. It's okay to kill a plant, and then buy a new...
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Contemporary Cottage Living Room - Shop the Look

Feb 01, 2022

I've had several people ask me how to shop the items in this Living Room, so I thought I would create a quick new blog post and share the shop-able links. 

Quite a few of the main items we used in this room design have gone out of stock, so I re-worked the vision board with new, similar products available for purchase. (Always keep an eye on those shipping times if you're in a hurry. They can change rapidly now-a-days.) 

Here is the original board I created when doing the design: 


And here is the board with current shop-able items: 


In the above room, we used a vintage gold chest, vintage mid-century side board under the tv, and also a vintage black end table to the right of the sofa. I would of course, as always, encourage you to fold in some vintage and 2nd hand items if you can, but also here is a full shop-the-look board below! 

1. Metal Curtain Rod | 2. Curtain Panels | 3. Floor Lamp | 4. ...
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Find The Best Ruggable Rug For Your Short Term Rental

Dec 16, 2021

I first learned about these washable rugs from Ruggable a couple of years ago. As a dog owner at the time and avid dog lover, I was immediately intrigued. 

But I'll be honest, I was skeptical. How could a flat weave rug that you can put inside of a washing machine actually look and feel nice enough to meet my rug standards? And does it actually wash and dry easily? 

Further investigation into this company, and a few years of incredible reviews from raving fans to sort through now, and I think this is actually an incredible design solution for a short term rental. 

Recently on an STR design webinar I hosted, someone asked what rug I would suggest for a vacation rental where lots of mud consistently gets tracked in due to location and clientele. (Apparently their guests did a lot of ATV riding and they were located in the woods.) Without hesitation I would suggest going with a Ruggable rug for any property like this where your rugs may be getting extra dirty. ...

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Sleeper Sofa Round Up - Best Sleeper Sofa's For Your Short Term Rental

Nov 10, 2021

I've been working on a short term rental design project in Portland Oregon, and have been on the hunt for sleeper sofas. (The spot I'm designing is a 1 bedroom, with a nice living area so we wanted a versatile sofa that could sleep one or two more people.) 

Since I've been on this hunt, I thought I would share my findings with a round up of some great looking sleeper sofa options with you. It's not been easy to find sofas in stock for immediate shipment, but some of these have fairly quick ship times.

Scroll on for some great sleeper sofa options broken down by retailer! 

1. $1899  |  2. $1699  |  3. $2499  |  4. $1999

If you're considering adding a sleeper sofa to your BNB, try not to be put off by the larger price tag that comes with them. Of course they cost more. There is a whole bed in there, and that means that you can charge a higher nightly rate for your rental on...

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Q & A with Cabin Dreamweaver Hosts in North Carolina

Sep 30, 2021

It began with the stalking of this gorgeous North Carolina mountain cabin's Instagram account, and it developed into an IG friendship with a fab and very funny design and renovation power couple. 

Loree Beth Harris, who goes by LB, and her husband Will own Both Minds Design, a thriving design firm in Nashville, Tennessee. They bought and renovated this cabin to share with the world as a short term rental, but also as a reprieve to rest and recharge as a family of 4 when they want to get out of Nashville and head to the mountains. 

If you want to hear them talk about their business and hosting a mountain vacation rental, head to this link to watch my IG Live interview with them. Did I mention they're super entertaining? You won't be dissapointed.


Before we Dive into the Q&A portion of this blog, here is a board to help you shop the look of their beautiful cabin which they've aptly named Cabin Dreamweaver. 

1.  | 2. | ...

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There's No Place Like Target

Sep 21, 2021

As a girl born and raised in Tennessee, I grew up going to Target. 

Having lived in England for the last 3 years, I appreciate this super store more than ever since it's is a rare occurrence that I get to step foot into an actual Target. 

There is no Target in England, and there is also nothing like it. In fact, I've traveled all over the world and I've never experienced any other store where you can buy cute new underwear, an awesome lamp, a new rad jean jacket and your laundry detergent all under one bright and cheery roof. 

So safe to say, I'm a fan. I like the whole experience of Target. Did you know Target has a smell? It's distinct and nostalgic for me. I could spend hours in there and every time we come home to the U.S. I always sneak away from my kids and family for a least one glorious date with my former friend - big giant red Target. 

I was walking through the Target closest to my parents house this summer...

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Best Beds for your Airbnb

May 20, 2021

(above image: design by Michelle Gage)

The bed of your Airbnb property is paramount to your overall success. People care deeply about the beds in a rental! The headboard/bed of your short term rental property will set the tone for the bedroom, and it's important to think through the mood you're after when you select this item. I will say for certain that although the look of the bed's headboard and frame is important it's NOT where I'd recommend you spend a lot of money.

There are plenty of good quality beds at excellent prices out there, and I've put loads of them in this post. 

Now, when you buy lower priced beds, this means you'll be assembling a flat-pack product yourself, or paying someone else to do it. So do consider that in your equation. If you can swing it, hire a handyman or flat-pack assembly company to come in one day and knock all this stuff out for you in one shot. OR if you're trying to save money on the front end, buy some booze and bribe...

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