STR BEDROOM Design made easy

By Kylee Niederhauser

So you’ve purchased your first investment property, congrats! Now it’s time to think about furnishings. Or maybe you already have a short term rental property, but the furniture needs an upgrade. Whatever the reason, one thing is clear: the way you present your rental space can make a huge difference in its appeal to guests. First impressions matter, and the design of your rental can go a long way in making it successful. If you’re a host feeling overwhelmed with designing your short term rental, worry no more because we’re here to help.

Furnishing for a short-term rental can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few quick tips to keep in mind as you shop, followed by an extensive list of some of our favorite furniture and decor pieces for every room in your home. Pair this list with our Sample Inventory and our STR Set Up playlist on YouTube (don’t forget to subscribe!) and you’ll be setting up your STR like a seasoned pro in no time!

We’re actively working on expanding this list for other rooms. Leave us a comment if you’d like to weigh in on which one gets released next!

1. Define your target market

Envision your ideal guest – is it a business traveler or a family? Honeymooners or a bachelorette weekend? Knowing your target audience can help you choose the right furniture and space plan your rooms.

2. Materials matter

A short-term rental can see a lot of wear and tear, so it is vital to invest in durable and practical furniture that can withstand frequent use. Just remember – high price doesn’t always equate to high quality, and low price doesn’t always mean it will fall apart after a few guests. Read reviews, look at the materials details. Think more solid wood, less MDF. And understand that even pro’s have a hard time getting stains out of velvet upholstery.

3. Focus on comfort
Your guests are coming to you for a comfortable stay and furniture plays a big part in that. We love deep seated sofas that you can curl up in and relax. It can be tough to find the balance between comfort and not looking “big and clunky”, but it’s out there!

4. Keep it simple and consistent
When it comes to furnishing your rental property, consistency is key. This doesn’t mean you should go out and buy matching furniture sets, but the style should feel cohesive throughout the house.

5. It’s about a feeling, not a design style

Instead of boxing yourself into a design style, try to evoke a feeling instead. While design styles can provide inspiration and guidance, they should not limit your creativity or restrict the emotional atmosphere you want to convey. Instead, focus on the overall experience you want your guests to have. Do you want them to feel relaxed and cozy? Or perhaps invigorated and inspired? By understanding the emotions you wish to evoke, you can select furniture and decor that align with those sentiments. Remember, it’s the emotional connection that guests will remember and cherish, making their stay truly remarkable.

6. Have fun with the details

Instead of committing to overly-trendy furniture or major design elements, focus on smaller details that can be easily changed. Consider using trendy accessories like throw pillows, artwork, rugs, or curtains to add a fresh touch. By striking a balance between timeless elements and unique, “conversation starter” details, you can keep your rental space versatile and up-to-date while maintaining its overall design integrity.

Bedroom Furniture Pieces we love:

Wood Platform Beds – We love a good platform bed as they look less bulky than typical box spring required beds. Platform beds are often lower to the ground keep an eye on the bed height (combined with your mattress height) in relation to the nightstand you choose.

*click each photo below to view product

Upholstered Platform Beds

*click each photo below to view product

We also love to layer a throw blanket (or a thin rug – the ones shown below are rugs from Ikea) over the headboard of a simple, upholstered bed – these are some photos from a design project at one of our client’s mid-term rentals:

Try the look yourself with these options:

*click each photo below to view product

Decorative Pillows

This is an area where we now spend quite a bit more money than we did when we set up our first property. If your budget is tight, look at Target and World Market. I also love to look for small shops on Etsy for unique finds, but they do come with a higher price tag and you usually have to buy inserts separately.

Tip: When purchasing inserts, order 2″ larger in both length and width than your decorative cover for a more full look. Here are some we’ve ordered before: 22×22 | 24×24 | 26×26 | 14×36

*click each photo below to view featured product

For King beds I usually go one of three routes:

  1. One – a single, XL lumbar pillow (typically 14″x50″)
  2. Two – XL lumbar pillow (14″x50″) layered with a long lumbar pillow (14″x36″ in front)
  3. Three – two, 24″ square pillows layered with a long lumbar pillow (14″x36″ – 14″x50″)

For Queen beds I usually go one of three routes:

  1. One – a single, long lumbar pillow (typically 14″x36″ – 14″x43″)
  2. Two – two, 22″ square pillows layered with a lumbar pillow (12″x20″ – 14″x36″)
  3. Three – one 22″ square pillow and one 20″ square pillow layered with a lumbar pillow (12″x20″)

For Double beds I usually go one of two routes:

  1. One – a single, long lumbar pillow (typically 14″x36″)
  2. Two – two, 20″ square pillows layered with a lumbar pillow (12″x20″)

For Twin beds I usually go one of two routes:

  1. One – a single, lumbar pillow (typically 12″x20″)
  2. Two – one 18″-20″ square pillow

Target Pillows – current favorites

*click each photo below to view product

Etsy Pillows – many are available in multiple sizes

*inserts not included, click each photo below to view product

Etsy Pillows – lumbar

*inserts not included, click each photo below to view product

Etsy Pillows – long and xl lumbar

*inserts not included, click each photo below to view product

Etsy Pillow Combinations – coordinated pillow sets (that aren’t too “matchy”)

*inserts not included, click each photo below to view product

Nightstands & Bedside Tables

Nightstand Decor

We like to keep nightstand decor to a minimum – typically a lamp, charging port, small plant and a catch-all dish on one side, and a lamp, charging port, white noise machine and catch-all dish on the other side. Other small decorative items will likely just get moved around (don’t ask me why, but they do), so the less clutter the better.

Bedside Lamps – plug-in wall sconces

Plug-in wall sconces can elevate the look of your bedroom set-up without the need for electrical work. And since you won’t be taking up table-top space for a lamp, they’re also a great solution for small rooms that require small nightstands.

Plants

Consider filling that empty corner of the room with a large faux plant or two of varying heights clustered together. Unless you’re local, self-managing, and can commit to keeping a real plant alive, faux is the way to go.

Rugs

Unless the room is very small, we always like to add a rug to each bedroom of an STR. Here are a few of our favorites (we’ve ordered all but 2 from this list for ourselves or clients!). You’ll notice several washable rugs on this list as well – not because we regularly throw an 8×10 rug into a standard size washing machine (not a great idea) but because they spot clean very well. In a disaster-mess situation, we’ve taken them outside and hosed them down. That was after our kids spilled, not a guest. 🙂

Ceiling Lights

Replacing light fixtures is often one of the first things to get cut when you’re setting up an STR and trying to stick to budget, but updating lighting can absolutely transform a space. Ceiling fans are a popular choice for comfort, but nice ceiling lights make for better photos and better photos typically equate to more bookings. So unless the house doesn’t have central air conditioning, we’ve been opting for (subtle) statement lighting. If ceiling fans are a must, our general philosophy is that we like our ceiling lights to stand out and our ceiling fans to blend in.

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2 thoughts on “STR BEDROOM Design made easy

  1. Great article. Please add blind ideas. That is where we
    Struggle and they are soooo expensive. Thanks.

  2. Have you ever used a Murphy bed in your rentals. I am askiing because we have a two story “Party House” separate from our house. We use it several times a year for family gatherings. However, we have had people stay in it for a few days at a time & would like to turn it into an air b&b. We would want the bed to be out of the way when we use it for parties. There is not a separate bedroom. But is a full bathroom & kitchen area minus the stove, but has a dishwasher & refrigerator & sink.

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