The Quill Blog

How to Make your Short Term Rental Like a Hotel...But Better

Feb 19, 2020

It's safe to say that you're aiming for success with your short term rental business. In this increasingly competitive marketplace, it's so super important to differentiate yourself from the competition. 

While of course I'll argue that design is one of the best ways to make your rental stand out from the crowd to grab not only more but better bookings, there are other things to consider besides just design. 

Turns out your competition is not only other Short Term Rental properties, but also all of the reliable hotels in and around your area. 

This article from Fast Company proves that although the vacation rental business is growing, there is still a large majority of people who prefer to stay in hotels when they travel. 

(above image: The Refinery Boutique Hotel)  

What Hotels Do Well (that you should do too)

Your goal should be to make your rental like a hotel in as many ways as you can, but then also make it...

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The Ultimate Cleaning Checklist for Your Airbnb (with a Covid-19 update)

Jan 22, 2020

Update on June 10, 2020: Please follow the below link for recommendations from the CDC through Airbnb for the best Covid-19 cleaning guidelines.

Things have changed a great deal, and now of course many many more surfaces need to be cleaned regularly with disinfectant. We fully and whole heartedly suggest you follow guidelines from the experts during this time. 

Airbnb's Current Advanced Cleaning Protocol

Now, if you wish, you can feel free to read my more anecdotal ramblings on the topic of cleaning for your Airbnb below. 

Okay, so this is not a design related post, but I do feel it's important enough for me to spend some time diving into this topic.

Let's talk about Cleaning!!

My husband has always preferred to stay in Airbnb's when we travel, and as a result we've stayed in LOTS of them all over the United States and in various countries around the world. (Italy, Australia, Canada, and so on.) 

Most of the time, they've felt clean. There was one...

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Best Beds for your Airbnb

Jan 21, 2020

(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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An Easy No Fail 3-Step Plan for your Airbnb Window Treatments

Jan 15, 2020

Window treatments can really go either direction for making a room feel complete and refined or chintzy and cheap. You obviously don't want your rental to look cheap. You want it to look polished, put together, cool, and guest ready. That's why you're here reading this blog, right? Right.  

I've considered posting a round up of the best 20 blinds and curtain panels, but I think maybe let's not complicate the issue. Best to cut to the chase sometimes, and you've got lots of decisions ahead for completing the decor in your rental.  

3 EASY(ish) Steps to Layer the Right Window Treatments in Your Airbnb:

  1. Hard Blinds
  2. Curtain Rod
  3. Curtain Panels

I say easy-ish steps because doing window treatments yourself isn't really easy. It's going to take some work. However, to help cut down on the time and effort you put into this process, let's narrow down the time you spend selecting the products to buy with a short list of no-fail options...

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Mid Century Bungalow Living Room - Get The Look! (Plus My Design Process)

Jan 12, 2020

Decorating an Airbnb (or other short term rental property) is a slightly different art than decorating a personal home where clients live. As an interior designer who's been at it for 15 years, doing both commercial and residential design, I find Airbnb design is THE MOST fun kind of project for lots of reasons.

Whether you're designing an Airbnb that you own, or doing it for someone else, hold onto your hats and let's get this party started.

I mean, don't get me wrong, this process isn't easy. There's SO MUCH to do, and SO MUCH to purchase. And time is money. You may be tempted to just start stuffing generic-not-so-bad Ikea/Target crap in the whole place to call it done, open it up, and start getting some return on that investment. 

But I really encourage you to take a breath, step back, and focus on the design of your Airbnb at the outset. The key to your success in this endeavor is standing apart. It's advantageous for you to think about how your...

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How to Choose the Right Rug for your Short Term Rental

Jan 08, 2020

(above image: Design by Emily Henderson

If you've got hard floors in your vacation rental, you're going to need some rugs. 

A rug is a room's foundation, setting the tone for the entire space. It can add color, tie in accent colors, or be a neutral force that allows other colors to pop. It adds texture and warmth underfoot, making a house feel more inviting and comfortable for your guests.  

That's a pretty big job for one object, especially one that often comes with a big price tag. And because they will inevitably go under (sometimes dirty) shoes, you'll want to make smart, durable rug choices for your rental property. 

Let's discuss the smart way to buy rugs for your short term rental. 

(above image: Design by Rosa Beltran

Like I do for everything in life, let's break down rug buying into an easy list of categories to consider:

The 3 Attributes of Rugs

  1. Material

  2. Color & Pattern

  3. Size & Position

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Picking the Right Paint Colors for your AirBnB

Jan 03, 2020

Painting is expensive especially when you're having someone else do the work. Likely in your short term rental property, you're outsourcing the labor and therefore this is an investment that you want to get right! 

You're in the right place! Get ready for my best color advice.

Start with a Tight Color Palette

The First step in picking the right paint colors is to think about all of the colors you want to use in your space. A tight color palette with a small number of colors is the best way to go.

Why? It will make the design of your spaces look less chaotic and more intentional. The brain feels calmer when things around a room relate to one another because there is less to process.

Here are 3 go-to rules for planning a color palette

1. Follow the 60/30/10 Rule 

This rule says you use light colored neutrals for 60% of your space, the next 30% are for deeper toned neutrals, and the last 10% are your pops of color. 

Under this rule, you...

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How to "Field Measure" Your Space for Furniture

Dec 29, 2019

Before you buy any furniture or decor for your short term or vacation rental, it's a good idea to do some planning!

If you've read any of my blogs or taken my e-course on Airbnb Design, you'll know starting with a plan is the cornerstone for success in decorating and designing any space. 

Let's start at the beginning:

A floor plan is a scaled visual representation of a room or building with the view from above. A floor plan will help you understand the ideal layout and flow of your space, and what size furniture you need for each room. 

The first step in creating a floor plan is to collect some measurements of the area or areas you're hoping to draw. In the design industry, these are called "field measurements." You can do this one of two ways: 

  • By hand with pens and paper
  • Digitally with an app like MagicPlan

For the old school pen and paper method, see my below step-by-step guide. If you want to go the digital route, which would be faster,...

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5 Options for Filling the Blank Space Above your Sofa

Dec 04, 2019

Is the sofa in your Airbnb's living room in front of a big blank wall?  A blank wall always seems to grow and become more boring once the sofa is positioned in front, right? It can be overwhelming knowing what to do with this prominent blank canvas. 

However, there are a lot of different ways to bring that wall to life, and I'm here to help!

Let's break down the options and look at some beautiful examples done by some amazing designers. 

(1) The Gallery Wall

Gallery walls are always fun and can really allow your creativity to soar with the endless options for what to add.  Also, they can be less expensive than buying large pieces of real art, depending on your approach. However, I totally get that the term "endless options" is enough to send many of you into a tizzy of anxiety, and I get it. I am the exact same way without a well thought through plan.

How about a mini-tutorial?! Let's dive in:

(a) Think through your Color...

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Step by Step Guide for Planning and Hanging a Collage Wall

Oct 28, 2019

Okay, so you've decided to hang a wall collage on some part of your vast, empty drywall.

Now, what? 

I remember being in my 20's in my very first apartment, and deciding exactly that.

"I'm going to do a gallery wall above my sofa! It's going to be organic, and collected, and uniquely awesome."

Fast forward to 2 days later after a trip to the flea market with my Mom and I felt so frustrated and overwhelmed I quit the gallery wall and found some wooden and metal thing from Pier One to hang above my sofa instead. (Don't judge me. This was circa 2005.) 

Thank Goodness I'm no longer in my 20's and thank goodness I've finally nailed the formula for building the perfect wall collage in a home. Let's break this down with a tutorial! 

Steps to Hanging a Collage Wall

Step 1: Think about Size and Scale. 

Now that you know you want to do a collage wall, think about how much space on the wall you'd like the collage to cover. It's ideal if for the items...

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