Steal these celeb-worthy tips on getting your home ready for vacation rental guests

By Virginia K. Smith | June 1, 2017 - 1:45PM 

Whether you're inviting friends to stay in your apartment or vacation home while you're out of town, or just trying to make some extra cash by renting it out on Airbnb (for the latter, do so at your own legal risk), you'll likely want to take some extra steps to give your space a somewhat luxurious hotel-like feel. After all, whether they're paying or not, no one wants their guests to feel like they wandered into the unkempt home of someone who will be coming back through the front door any minute. 

But treating guests to a high-end experience in your home doesn't necessarily mean breaking the bank on pricey new furniture or flatware. In search of some inspiration at the start of summer rental season, we chatted with Interior Marketing Group's Cheryl Eisen, the designer who handled the interiors for Kim and Kanye's much-discussed NYC Airbnb visit. Below, some of Eisen's best go-to tricks, none of which require a Yeezy-sized budget:

Clear out your personal clutter

As when you're staging an apartment for a sale, if you plan to rent your home out to guests, it's best to clear away as much clutter as possible—that means family photos, random chargers, your stack of unread New Yorkers, and the like.

"Clutter and personal belongings should be completely absent when someone's going to be renting your home," says Eisen. "Otherwise, it looks like someone else's home, which isn't necessarily appealing. And it's a great opportunity to de-clutter yourself."

Eisen recommends clearing out closets ("they should be empty with a few beautiful hangers," she says), and if you don't feel like springing for a storage unit, at least getting all your excess stuff out of sight. "Get something nice from the Container Store and put it under the bed, just have it out of the way," she adds.

Spring for a new set of linens

Even if they're fresh from the laundry, no one likes the feeling of sleeping on someone else's used sheets. If you're able to, now's the time to swap out your towels and bedding for a new guest set.

"I like to use fresh white sheets, white duvet covers, and white pillow cases, and to have them pressed," says Eisen. 

As for the bathroom, she says, "Everything should be gone except for gorgeous, rolled white towels, and a few beautiful soaps." 

When in doubt, put it on a tray

If you want to add a high-end feel to the items you are leaving out for guests, don't underestimate the aesthetic efficacy of arranging them on a wooden or silver tray.

"In the bathroom, I love to leave a huge tray, with a white robe, a bunch of soap, a couple of those rolled towels, and a wooden dry brush," says Eisen. "It looks like everything's here at your fingertips, and it isn't someone else's linens, which is kind of gross when you think about it."

The same thing works for the kitchen, as well. "I do the same thing—put the coffee maker, two coffee cups, and a container of coffee out on a tray," she tells us. "It's inexpensive, and a nice moment that sort of says 'welcome.'" 

 Interior Marketing Group

Interior Marketing Group

 Interior Marketing Group

Interior Marketing Group

Consider a more comfortable outdoor space

If your property comes with an outdoor space and you've got the financial bandwidth to do some re-decorating, Eisen suggests opting away from the typical metal, fold-up furniture you often find in backyards.

"People want to relax—I love to have outdoor furniture that's comfortable and lounge-y, not like those metal dining sets," she says. (Think wicker, shabby-chic furniture that comes with cushions.) "Ikea sells some affordable outdoor furniture that's great for lounging," Eisen notes.

Don't underestimate the power of scent

Just as you want to create the feel that a guest is coming into a fresh space—and not someone else's home—by clearing out clutter, Eisen also recommends taking a few small steps to improve your apartment's scent.

"People become nose-blind to their home's smell, so to neutralize it with something like scented candles is a really good idea," she notes.


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