Airbnb is just a decade old, and it's grown to over 6 million listings worldwide and a value of $38 billion. What is this global phenomenon? Airbnb is an online platform that allows ordinary people to turn their homes or extra properties into short-term rentals. As a traveler, whether you have an upcoming business trip or want to take a vacation, Airbnb is full of listings to consider as an alternative to booking a hotel.
Some travelers are attracted to Airbnb because it tends to offer options that are far more affordable than commercial hotels. Or, for the same price as a small hotel room, you may be able to rent out an entire apartment or house. Other travelers are drawn to Airbnb for the unique properties they can find. While hotel rooms tend to be pretty standard, Airbnb rentals are full of variety. You may get to stay in a Victorian mansion, a luxury treehouse or a rustic cabin.
With so many benefits, it's no wonder that Airbnb is continuing to grow and thrive. It's also no wonder that people in cities across the U.S. are considering becoming an Airbnb host themselves. Some people may even quit their job and become a full-time host with multiple properties. Whether you're a seasoned Airbnb host or you're planning to become one, this post is for you. We're going to look at how Airbnb works, what benefits you can enjoy by being a host and, finally, how you can revamp a space to make it more appealing to travelers — without breaking the bank.
Renovations on a Budget
At this point, you may be thinking about how you can take full advantage of airbnb. Whether you want to host a single room or multiple properties, one thing is sure — those properties need to draw in guests. If travelers aren't interested in your rental, then you won't make any money or enjoy any of the other benefits we discussed.
So, how can you turn a drab bedroom or an outdated house into a rental that will wow potential guests and encourage them to click that booking button right away? The good news is that you don't need to spend thousands of dollars on expensive renovations to make your rental space sparkle. We're going to look at several ways of renovating a house on a budget so you can be confident in your Airbnb listing.
1. Put in New Flooring
Throughout every room in your home, flooring plays a huge role in the overall look. If you have old linoleum or stained carpeting, updating your flooring may be a necessity. Most guests today tend to prefer hardwood floors to carpet. Of course, hardwoods can be quite expensive to install. However, some homeowners have valuable original hardwood floors hiding underneath their outdated carpet.
If this is true for your home, then consider getting rid of your carpet and refinishing those hardwoods. This project involves a lot of sanding and then finishing off with a sealant. You can also stain your floors if you want them to be a certain color. Refinishing hardwoods can be work-intensive, but it's not an expensive project, and you may be able to finish it in a weekend.
If you need to install new flooring, there are a lot of great flooring options that won't break the bank. You can always focus on the spaces your guest will use and only redo the flooring in those rooms to save money. Consider finding wood laminate flooring on sale or going for something more unique that's still affordable, like a polished concrete floor.
2. Create More Storage Space
When guests come to visit, they'll want some storage space. If you're renting out a room with limited storage, adding some extra storage space for guests can help make guests' stays even better. Try to add storage that matches the overall feel of the space. For a modern look, install chic and simple floating shelves. For a more classic look, you may want to try creating some built-ins.
Even something as simple as some hooks on the wall, a shoe rack by the door or some free closet space can make a big difference for guests. Airbnb recommends you have at least eight empty hangers for guests to hang up their clothes. No matter what you do, upgrading the storage in your home can be a really inexpensive project, and you may be able to finish in a single afternoon.
3. Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets
Especially if you plan to rent out your home for longer stays, your kitchen may be a determining factor for guests. After all, one of the advantages of an Airbnb over a typical hotel for guests is that they have access to a kitchen. But what if your kitchen looks outdated and needs a facelift? Kitchen remodels are famous for the return on investment (ROI) that homeowners can expect from them. However, you may be surprised to know that minor kitchen remodels have a much higher ROI than major ones.
This means you can update your kitchen and see great results without emptying your savings account. One great way to do this is to paint your existing cabinets and replace the hardware if necessary. If you have a little extra to spend, consider replacing a couple of your cabinet doors with glass doors. Another great way to upgrade cabinets is by adding crown moulding to the top for a sophisticated finishing touch.
4. Put in a Coffee Nook
Even if you're not a coffee drinker, there's a good chance your next guest is. Whether they're on business or on vacation, your guest will likely spend most days out, but your rental will be their home base at the beginning and end of every day. Giving them a special area to start their day or relax at the end of it with a cup of coffee is a nice touch.
Even if your kitchen is small, you can dedicate a corner to a coffee cart or corner shelf complete with a regular coffee maker, French press, a grinder and a container of fresh coffee beans. Add a small table with two chairs or stools, and your adorable coffee nook is complete. Make sure to highlight this area in pictures, and get ready for the coffee-lovers to pour in.
5. Freshen Up the Walls
It's amazing the difference a fresh coat of paint can make in your home. Painting is a great way to freshen up a space and make everything pop for a relatively low price. To keep it as affordable as possible, watch for a paint rebate promotion from major paint brands or home improvement stores. If you're overwhelmed by the question of what color would look best on your walls, remember that you can't go wrong with white. "Greige," a combination of gray and beige, is also a great neutral that is trending right now.
If you're not sure how much paint you need, Better Homes & Gardens offers the following formula — add the widths of all walls you plan to paint, then multiply that number by the height of your walls and divide the resulting number by 350, which is the square footage one gallon of paint will typically cover. This will tell you how many gallons of paint you need.
6. Create an Accent Wall
An accent wall is a wall that features a pop of color or texture that stands out from the other walls in your home. If you're going to choose one wall to be an accent wall, go with the wall behind your guest's bed for a fun focal point.
Here are a few budget-friendly ways you can create an accent wall:
- Paint: Choose a bold color like navy, orange or bright green and paint your accent wall this color. Do some research to see what colors are trending right now. You may also want to pull out a color that pops up in some of the decor in the room.
- Decal: A wall decal can turn any plain wall into a work of art. Decals come in rolls or sheets and are made to simply peel and stick, so they're an exceptionally easy and relatively inexpensive way to dress up a wall.
- Wallpaper: Wallpaper may seem like a thing of the past, but an accent wall with a modern design wallpaper on it can look extremely chic. Wallpaper with a more traditional design is a great choice if your home has a more rustic or antique feel.
- Wood: Covering a wall in wood planking creates a beautiful look that looks right at home in any space, from ultramodern or industrial to a shabby-chic farmhouse. Before you head over to a hardware store for lumber, look for any free or inexpensive used wood you can reclaim.
7. Update the Bathroom Tile
A picture of a beautiful, updated bathroom will instantly give guests visions of being able to bathe and get ready in a luxurious, relaxing atmosphere. Unfortunately, if your bathroom walls are covered in tile from decades ago, then it's nearly impossible to make it look modern. By replacing that pink or floral-print tile, you can turn your dated bathroom into a more contemporary and upscale room that guests will love.
To remove the old tiles, use a utility knife to score the grout around tiles, and then use a chisel and hammer to pop off the tiles. Once the old tiles are removed, you have several different options to consider. For example, you can sand the walls and paint them, you can purchase new tiles to replace the old ones, or you can go an even easier route with laminate that looks like tile. Whatever you choose, the chances are that it will be a big improvement on those dated tiles.
8. Add Interesting Lighting
Nothing brightens up the feel of your home like lighting. If your home feels dark, look for places to add lamps or light fixtures in the wall or ceiling. For any existing light fixtures you have, consider whether they're helping or hurting the appearance of a room. Even if they seem to be fairly neutral, by replacing your existing light fixtures with new ones, you can create uniqueness and interest in the plainest of rooms.
Pay special attention to the lighting in the kitchen and dining areas. Ultramodern and upscale light fixtures can look stunning, but they can also be extremely costly in some cases. To save, skip the middle man and buy directly from the manufacturer. You can also look for antique lighting fixtures at your local flea market and upcycle them for a truly unique piece. A great way to spruce up existing light fixtures is by adding a ceiling medallion around them. These moulded medallions comes in a variety of designs are sure to introduce some elegance into a space.
9. Update the Decor
If a more serious renovation sounds daunting, remember that you can add a great new look to a room simply by updating the decor. Bring the look of a room together by choosing a theme or particular style to stick to. Whether you want to go minimalist, traditional or bohemian, you can add a few key pieces to the room to make it more inviting and look more polished.
A new bedding set, new wall hangings, new curtains or an accent piece are all great additions to your Airbnb. New decor will make your room feel clean and put-together. If you have leftover pieces of crown moulding from a previous project, you can use them to frame out a beautiful DIY wall mirror, which will also make the room feel bigger. Whatever decor you add, just remember not to clutter up the space so guests have plenty of room to set their own belongings. When potential guests see a beautifully decorated room in the listings in your area, they may be drawn to yours instead of others.
10. Install Crown Moulding
An excellent way to dress up a space is to add crown moulding. Polyurethane DIY crown moulding is the perfect architectural detail to make any room look more complete and more high-end. Some people may shy away from this project because they think it's too expensive or too difficult for a DIY project. If you choose a crown moulding kit from Focal Point Products, then you'll be pleasantly surprised by how inexpensive and easy this renovation project is.
With a few simple steps, you'll have beautiful crown moulding in your Airbnb room or house. Even if you've never done a home renovation project before, our crown moulding kits are so simple to use that anyone can do it. Our patented Quick Clips™ mounting system means you don't have to worry about finding studs or filling nail holes, and our Moulding Mates™ corner and connecting pieces cover joins in one snap without the need to miter, contour or caulk, unless you prefer to.
There are a variety of designs to choose from, so you can find one that fits the style of your home perfectly. We even have licensed designs such as the Governor's Palace line from the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. If you end up with any left over moulding pieces, use them for other creative projects, like some of the ones we've mentioned in this post.
How Airbnb Works
You know what Airbnb is, but how does it work exactly? Here's a basic Airbnb host checklist for beginners who may not know much about the process:
- Do your research: First, you'll want to do some research to see whether you live in an area where Airbnb guests want to travel. On Airbnb's website, you can put in your city and basic information about your rental, and you'll get an automatic estimate of how much you could make each month.
- Figure out the logistics: If you don't own your home, you'll also want to make sure you understand whether your landlord or mortgage broker will allow you to host and whether you need to purchase more insurance to cover possible damages from guests. Airbnb offers some protection for liability and damages, but you may also need more insurance of your own.
- Pick your space: Determine whether you want to list a spare bedroom, a suite in your home, a guest house, your whole house or apartment or an extra property you own. Any space, big or small, can be an Airbnb rental. Just make sure it's at least big enough for a bed and basic amenities. You may also want to renovate or at least redecorate your rental so it's at its best for new guests.
- List your space: Putting your house on Airbnb starts with creating a free listing on their website. You'll want to include high-quality photos of the rental space, list all the amenities included and provide information about your pricing, scheduling, cancellation policy and house rules.
- Connect with guests: Once your listing goes live, travelers who are interested in your listing will be able to contact you with questions or request a booking. You'll have the final say in allowing guests to confirm their booking at your rental.
- Get paid: When your guests pay for their rental, 3 percent will go to Airbnb. This relatively low, flat-rate fee is how the rental platform makes their money. The other 97 percent of the booking cost will be money in your pocket.
- Become a Superhost: If your guests enjoy their stay, they may leave you a great review. The more positive reviews you get, the more you'll build your reputation as a great host. If at least half of your guests from the past year rate their experience, you have an average rating of 4.8 or higher and you meet some other benchmarks for excellent hosting, you'll become a Superhost and earn special rewards.
Benefits of Putting Your House on Airbnb
At this point, you probably already have a good idea of why you may want to list your house, apartment or spare room on Airbnb. If you're still on the fence, here are a few specific benefits to consider:
- Extra money: financial gain is the most obvious benefit of becoming an Airbnb host. The average host makes about $7,200 a year. Imagine the difference an extra $600 could make in your budget each month. If you're only listing one property, then you can continue to work your regular job, and the income from your rental is just extra money in your pocket. If you're already getting by comfortably now, that money could go straight into a savings account or college fund for your kids.
- More leisure: Extra money doesn't just mean financial security — it also means being able to spend more time with the people you love and finally go on that trip or splurge on that activity you've always dreamed about. Some people can't take time off of work or go on a vacation because they can't afford it. Rather than letting your finances hold you back, you want them to allow you to enjoy the life you've always wanted. Extra income from Airbnb could make the difference you need to enjoy that leisure time, guilt- and debt-free.
- Personal connections: Airbnb is certainly not a social media or online dating site by any means, so don't list your home just so you can meet people. That said, getting to form connections with people from all over the country or even the globe is a really neat bonus of being an Airbnb host. Some guests may prefer total privacy, but for the social guests who are staying in your home, getting to converse about your lives can be a truly enriching experience.
- Business experience: If you're interested in the hospitality business as a whole, you can learn a lot through hosting on Airbnb. Through research and trial and error, you'll find ways to improve your listing and improve the experience for your guests. If you want to eventually become a full-time property manager or work in some capacity in the hospitality industry, starting out small with Airbnb can be a great introduction. For some hosts, they may find that hosting short-term rentals is their life's calling.
See How Focal Point Products Can Elevate Your Rental Space
If you're a current or soon-to-be Airbnb host, it's critical that you get your rental space looking as good as it can. Start out with the projects we highlighted in our post, and see what an amazing difference they can make. As your rental takes off and more money comes in, consider putting part of those profits toward additional renovations that will draw in more guests and increase the value of your home.
Here at Focal Point Products, we're especially passionate about the difference beautiful crown moulding can make. If you're interested in adding crown moulding to your Airbnb, view our crown moulding kits here!