How To Style an Airbnb or VRBO

Home Staging is a valuable tool for digital platforms like VRBO and Airbnb as home-renting has catapulted to the mainstream.  Visitors can scroll through and book listings conveniently on their smartphone and recent Airbnb statistics show the average amount of time users spend in the app to be less than 12 minutes. 

This means that if you've got a listing on a home rental app, the better it looks, the more likely you are to maintain a steady flow of visitors.  

5 Tips for Staging and Styling an Airbnb by Jo Torrijos

I've been an Airbnb host for only about six months now, but I can already say it's quickly become one of the most fun and rewarding parts of my business! I love creating a welcoming, uniquely designed space for my guests. Some of my friends are also catching the Airbnb bug, and recently I helped my friend stage her newly listed Airbnb!


Located in the Winona Park neighborhood near Decatur Square [if you're not familiar with Atlanta and Decatur, Decatur Square has lots of fantastic restaurants and bars!], her carriage home feels really cozy and eclectic. As she pulled together the carriage home, I gave her some design advice along the way, and absolutely love how it turned out! 


For the photos taken for her Airbnb listing, I brought over some styling bits and pieces to give it the finishing touches. I'll go through some of my styling and staging tips for a great Airbnb space. Obviously these are all my personal opinions, but I've found these little touches have made an impact with my own Airbnb and now hers!


Tip 1: Incorporate at least one 'conversation piece'

A few months ago, Kate sent me a photo of this floral couch she found at a yard sale and wanted to know my thoughts.  Being the owner of a 'granny chic' mid century sofa, the answer was quite obvious.... I LOVED IT! I immediately saw the potential of using such a fun retro piece in her Airbnb and insisted she buy it right then and there. Her family was definitely skeptical about the choice, but I still feel confident she made the right decision!


If I think back to all my favorite hotels I've ever stayed in, it was always the unique touches that were memorable and made staying in that hotel feel special.  If you can find something a bit outside the box for your Airbnb, whether it's a sofa or a headboard, or a coffee table that makes for a great conversation piece, your listing will surely stand out from all the rest. 

Tip 2: If a space is lacking in architectural interest, bring in a bold paint!

Now that we had this fantastic sofa to work with, pulling together the color palette for the room was easy.  The space started in all beige: beige walls, beige carpet, and felt fairly one dimensional. By painting the wall that the sofa sits on a bold blue, your eyes are immediately drawn to this vignette and it makes for a really striking, beautiful sitting space.  


Since the tufted headboard she has is also beige, it made sense to also paint the wall behind it in the same contrasting accent color, so that the luxurious feeling headboard would stand out rather than just blend into the wall behind it.  

Tip 3: Keep the color story simple

Again, with the floral sofa being the grounding piece for the carriage home, all we had to do was pull colors from it for the rest of the space.  Kate found an oversized Orangina print for one wall in the same blue as her accent walls. The print also has hits of green and yellow, colors also found in the sofa.


When styling the space, I grabbed objects almost entirely in the green, blue and yellow family to keep things simple. That way, as your eye moves from each part of the room, the entire space feels cohesive. 


Tip 4: Add in a few local bits to the space

When in an Airbnb, I always like to see a couple nods to the area I'm staying in.  In the entry, we grouped a wood cut out of Georgia, along with a drawing Kate did of the courthouse in Decatur Square.


On the coffee table, there are a few copies of Atlanta Magazine, which is always filled with great recommendations for restaurants and places to visit in the Atlanta area. 


Tip 5: Add in some touches to make guests feel more at home

What sets an Airbnb apart from a traditional hotel setting is how they often feel like you're staying in a home away from home. Adding in little touches that you might not find in a hotel are always a nice way to set your space apart.


I love the oversized coffee table in the space, and with the carpeted floors, it feels like the perfect spot for everyone to play games! I placed a selection of games in a basket beneath the coffee table so guest might have the same idea. 


Kate also included a collection of DVDs in her media cabinet, which are perfect for a quiet night in while curled up in bed or on the sofa. 


Having fresh flowers in a space is also another lovely touch, whether it's just for the photos or for your guests when they visit.  For me, I can't always keep up with having fresh flowers, but having a nice succulent or a few cuttings from my eucalyptus tree is something I always try to keep in my own Airbnb.


I'm so happy with how her space has come together! From the colors to the eclectic decor and all the homey touches, I'd love to stay here. [if I didn't live so close by that is!] Even if you're not planning on becoming an Airbnb host, all my tips actually work quite nicely for any space you're in. Sometimes, even making your own home feel like a bit of a getaway can be really refreshing!


If you're interested in staying in the Decatur area, I highly recommend checking out her space on Airbnb! For more photos of the space, head here! If you're curious about my own Airbnb, I have a guest staying for a few weeks, but I'm planning on photographing the current look of the space once she checks out. In the meantime, here's my Airbnb listing!


Thank you for reading Jo's helpful article.  For a room-by-room Staging Punch List customized to the property you're selling (or renting), go here to Get Started. 


BONUS: Take a look at these Photography Tips for Listing Your home on Airbnb or the like by House of Valentina.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published