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Money saving Airbnb bedroom decor ideas

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Ever since we moved into our home, six and a half years ago, we’ve had a dream to earn money from renting a room out on Airbnb or similar.

Originally we had planned to install a garden room with kitchenette and en-suite at the bottom of our garden, but my husband needed the space for his woodworking and handyman business, so we have now been busily converting our second reception room into a guest bedroom with ensuite instead!

Our Airbnb idea is finally going to become a reality and it’s a great feeling to have a room in place, ready to earn us an income if we so need.  The pandemic and lockdowns taught us that income is never secure whether employed or self-employed.  Sadly many small businesses had to close due to COVID-19.

Of course, in a pandemic with travel restrictions we cannot rent out an Airbnb room, but we are getting it ready for the future.  Also, with the room and bathroom ready, we can always opt to have a more permanent lodger instead if we really need the money and can’t rent on Airbnb for any reason like a lockdown.

Airbnb is an idea we have had for many years and we have stayed in several different types of Airbnb accommodation ourselves, as well as having experience of it within our family.  My brother-in-law converted half his home into a holiday let and had great success on Airbnb which has inspired us even more.

If you already have a spare room, then renting it out on Airbnb or other similar platforms is a great way to make extra cash each month.  It’s one way to use the sharing economy to recession proof your finances!

Taking our time and experiencing Airbnb through family members and in person has allowed us to really think about the best ways to decorate  and make our Airbnb room stand out.  We aim for the decor to be cost-effective in the long run, especially with a high turnover of guests.

Here are some great money saving tips when it comes to bedroom décor for an Airbnb bedroom.

Choose your upholstery wisely

Investing a little extra in higher quality, durable fabrics will stop the need to replace them so often.  It may make sense to choose wipe clean fabrics if your Airbnb is marketed to families.  Textile choice should be kept to those that are machine washable or easy to scrub and clean without causing damage. 

If you are upholstering the furniture yourself, it makes sense to choose contract fabrics. Contract grade upholstery is designed for commercial use to withstand high traffic and heavy use. They undergo high rub tests to ensure they are strong and resilient.

Choosing a fabric of contract grade will cost more, but it will last much longer, being more resistant to wear and tear.  These fabrics are usually stiffer and thicker than what you are used to in your home, but for good reason - they are hard-wearing and will stand the test of time.

There’s no reason you can’t use contract fabrics in your residence and they come with some great benefits such as being resistant to fade or even able to clean with bleach and other strong cleaning products.

Choose wooden furniture

Many people think of plastic or veneered furniture of being easy to maintain, but whilst they offer an easy wipe-clean surface, they are not actually that easy to repair when damaged.

Plastic furniture cannot generally be fixed once damaged.  A crack or split is sharp and the furniture will need to be disposed of and replaced.  Veneer furniture is also hard to repair once chipped or damaged.

High quality wooden furniture is a much better choice for longevity.  It can be sanded back and repaired much easier than other materials.  A light sand and fresh coat of stain can bring wooden furniture back to life and even make it look brand new.

Even if you want to change the appearance of the room in the future, wooden furniture can easily adapt to your new theme through different colour stains, varnishes and even with a lick of paint to totally transform the colour.

If you are furnishing your Airbnb bedroom from scratch and are on a budget then check out local furniture recycling projects and charity shops for more affordable wooden furniture.  You can also choose to support the environment and small businesses by choosing bespoke reclaimed wood furniture, made to size for your space.

Also, don’t choose furniture that is precious to you.  Avoid fragile items that can easily break.  You have no idea how heavy handed your guests will be and whether they will take good care of the furniture, so don’t choose anything that will cause upset if it becomes damaged.

Choose rigid, well made furniture. Look for sign signs of wobble or poor construction before you purchase.  The thicker the wood, often the better - the longer it should last and more times you can sand it back for repairs and rejuvenation.

Other things to consider

  • Steam cleaner: If your bedroom has a sofa or other upholstered furniture that is not machine washable, then a great investment is a steam cleaner so you can easily remove marks and stains to prolong the life of the furniture.  These cost around £150 and will help to keep your furniture looking brand new and prevent it from being ruined to the point of regular replacements.
  • Hard flooring: Carpet can quickly look old and worn and whilst you can invest in a residential carpet cleaner, a much easier option is to install hard flooring.  Hard flooring is wipe clean and you can still make a room cosy with the addition of rugs - just avoid delicate fabrics that are difficult to remove stains from and wash.
  • Functional items: It can be tempting to fill a room with beautiful pieces of décor, but do they serve a function?  Get into the mind of a guest and see which pieces are the best.  A side dresser open underneath may look wonderful in your own bedroom, but for a guest they may need drawers in which to unpack their clothes and belongings.  The furniture and décor you choose should be functional and practical. 
  • Minimal décor: Also, don’t clutter the room with knick-knacks and breakable ornaments - more things for you to dust and more chance something will break. Choose just a few key pieces of art, plants and ornaments in an accent colour and make them the focus of the room. Less is more, and cheaper too!
  • Door mats: Place door mats on both sides of any external doors and some sort of shoe mat inside an internal door if this is the only entrance, with shoe storage if there is room.  This will encourage guests to wipe their feet and remove their shoes, preventing shoe dirt and mud getting all over the floors.
  • Choose removable covers: When choosing your sofa and cushions, try to pick those with removable and washable covers.
  • Paint and decorate yourself: the best way to keep your Airbnb guest room looking fresh and new is to keep the paint work tiptop.  By doing this yourself every 1-2 years, and touching up spots when needed, will save a small fortune in hiring a professional painter and decorator.