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.
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 do for a simple space. I also love her oversized white vase (shop similar here) with a few simple branches on the table. Brilliant!
There's not a lot in this room, and yet the space feels full of life. That's the goal!
Also check out this gorgeous large art piece below in a bedroom in her home.
Wallpaper is a perfect way to add lots of interest to a space without adding clutter. For a boring wall in a boring room it creates a statement and a nice focal point. And it photographs BEAUTIFULLY every time!
John and Sherry at Young House Love have a wealth of knowledge of affordable goods for your Airbnb since they've decorated a few of their own. If you haven't started following them yet, do so now! They have a tutorial if you're considering putting a peel and stick paper up yourself.
Also the espresso geometric paper below demonstrates an excellent way to add instant life to a boring powder room.
(above image: JDP Interiors.)
Go for simplicity. Less is totally 100% more in a rental. One way to make sure that the stuff you choose to decorate with doesn't end up feeling too overwhelming visually is by making sure to keep consistent with your selected color palette. Add tonal accessories like in the above photo where the designer has selected various shades of ivory, black, navy and wood tones.
If you break this above image of shelves down to a science, it includes some vertical pieces (the vases, some with greenery), a couple of pieces of leaning art keeping with the tight color palette, some horizontal items (books stacked with beads on top) and organic shaped objects (the circular objects and little wood vases.) All these things keep the eye moving around, yet overall these shelves evoke a calm feeling with plenty of room for a guest to add their own belongings during a stay. You can shop similar items to these in the board below...
Books are always a smart choice for shelves too, which goes without saying. Always nice to rainbow color coordinate your books if you have a lot in many varying colors. (Rainbow coordinate = Put in ROY G. BIV Order 🤓).
There is nothing, in my opinion, that brings a room to life quite like beloved old things. I am a vintage and antique lover, and this is my absolute favorite way to add character and a unique flair to any space.
Just about every photo in this blog has something 'old' in it somewhere. And there is just loads of good stuff everywhere you look. Try Facebook marketplace, a local vintage or craft fair in your area, or thrift stores. I especially love thrift stores for books if you've got empty bookshelves to fill!
Air purifying green friends belong in your Vacation Rental! They are the best decor because they add literal 'life' to your space.
Afraid of killing them? Check out this blog post for the easiest plants to keep alive with a very simple watering schedule.
Also start small by buying a couple of easy plants. Buy them from Ikea if you're near one, or a hardware store to ensure you can keep them alive. ZZ plants are nearly impossible to kill so start there to build your confidence!
Below is a picture of a very forgiving variegated pothos that I constantly neglect in my fairly dark north facing office.
And don't be afraid to fold in some faux plants. If you'd asked my opinion on this a few years back, I would have said no way. But faux plants have come a long way lately. And sometimes it's just the most practical choice for a rental, particularly if you're hosting from afar. Check out the below board to shop some of my favorite faux plants on the market right now.
Keeping a tight color palette will help your space to feel consistent and well designed. I am a big fan of a neutral palette, but don't be afraid to add a bold pop of color somewhere prominent like the accent chairs shown above. This bold pop photographs beautifully and is a perfect pair to the camel leather sofa and rich red rug.
If you're feeling overwhelmed with how to style and stage your rental, don't forget to start with the right Design Style! Have you taken our FREE Design Style Quiz yet for STRs?
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