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Interior Design for Short Term Rentals

Updated: Jul 12, 2022

Interior Design for Short Term Rentals by Erica Reiner
Interior Design for Short Term Rentals by Erica Reiner

After being restricted from traveling for a year, some people have big-time wanderlust and that means the vacation rental industry is booming. Because of this, many people are eager to get in on the action and become short term rental owners. However, a shocking number of STR owners miss out on getting the biggest bang for their buck by skimping on interior design.

Check out these statistics provided by Beyond Pricing from their internal database, and originally shared on 1 Chic Retreat:

  • Investing in your STR's interior design can increase revenue by 20% or more. This revenue increase is the result of 2 steps:

  • Listing attractiveness: Great, click-magnet interior design results in more attractive photos, which results in more clicks and therefore more exposure via rental platform algorithms for the listing and better occupancy rates over your competitors.

  • Better reviews. Excellent, professional interior design creates a better psychological guest experience. This equates to better reviews, and when hosts go from an average of 4-star reviews to 4.5-star reviews, they're able to increase prices 20% over their comps. Need more proof? We’ve got the data to back it up: a peer-reviewed scientific study (1) shows that the top 20+ most commonly used words guests use when leaving besides cleanliness are all related to interior design (i.e. beautiful, decorate, charm, art, decor, style, etc.)

STRs and investment properties are businesses. No one told you this was a get-rich-quick scheme or an easy way to make quick cash, because it’s not! Managing and setting up STRs is a business, and businesses take investments and resources before you can see steady ROI over time. Do it right or your leaving 20% of your potential ROI on the table, and as a fellow business, we just can’t let you do that!

We’re sharing a few tips that will have you booked out for weeks and getting the best return on investment.

  1. Use Local Art As mentioned above, one of the main reasons guests book short term rentals is to feel like a local at their vacation home and to get a taste of the area. What better way to accomplish this than by including photos of nearby scenic views, the skyline of your city, unique or vintage maps of the area, or even pieces by local artists with a place-based feel. It’s a double win because you can also support small businesses in doing so. Mass-printed canvases from Target or World Market are just boring and basic. When you go to buy art, go with a plan. Scope out the space holistically, and buy pieces that fit the scale of the wall for each wall you want to dress.

  2. Use a combination of new furniture and antiques or pre-loved pieces. It seems like so many people’s first inclination when designing their short term rental is to just buy everything brand new from Ikea and call it good, resulting in a very generic-looking space with pieces that won’t last long. Finding a few antique pieces or pre-loved modern pieces in great condition from quality brands is a great way to add some much-needed character to your space and make for a very memorable look. It's also the easiest way to go green, keeping pieces out of the land fill and reducing demand for virgin resources for new pieces and reducing shipping CO2 from overseas.

  3. Go Big on Bedding There’s nothing your guests will appreciate more than falling onto a comfortable, soft bed made with fresh sheets and pillows. This means replacing the pillows often (GOTS Organic Certified of course!) to make sure they are always firm and clean. Also, spot-check your sheets when they come out of the dryer because if there’s an unsightly stain on the bed, you can be sure that a photo of it will end up in your guest’s review.

  4. Choose Your Color Palette Carefully The color of your space is probably the single biggest factor in your guests’ first impression so make sure to choose it carefully. Consider the location of your short term rental to help you decide—if it's in the woods, use greens, browns and natural elements, if it’s near the sea use blues, etc. Make sure not to include too much beige or brown as people tend to perceive that color negatively when it's overused. An easy way to add splashes of color is with throw pillows and small knick-knacks that you might find pre-loved from local thrift shops or flea markets. Now, don’t confuse a place-based color palette with a theme. For goodness sakes, if your unit is by the beach, the pale blue with dried starfish theme is dated, overdone and sad.

Feeling overwhelmed with implementing all of these steps? Holler at us to see how we can help at

1. Understanding the influence of “feeling at home” on healthcare travelers’ well-being: a comparison of Airbnb and hotel homescapes

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