21 Decorating Ideas To Make Your Airbnb or Short-Term Rental Stand Out

Short-term rentals like Airbnb and VRBO have become incredibly popular these days. For owners, this means your listing needs to stand out among the competition in order to get booked. One of the biggest advantages you can give yourself is creating a beautiful, well-decorated home that feels like a special getaway worthy of your guests' vacation time.

If decorating isn't your forte, however, worry not, because we've compiled 18 awesome decorating ideas to help you style a 5-star airbnb listing.

Create an Instagram moment.

Everywhere you go these days, there's an Instagram moment. Wall murals perfect for posing against, neon signs in restaurants that proclaim "cheers" or "rose all day," the latte art baristas carefully pour ... people love to share good design, and businesses are catching on by giving patrons something to share. Take a cue from this trend and add a few bold decor moments into your home. Try:

Adding a bold wallpaper in a bedroom, powder room or living space

airbnb decor ideas - wallpaper

Staging a tiki bar on the patio or by the pool

airbnb decor ideas - tiki bar
Photo via OMG Home Decor on Pinterest

Installing a statement light fixture above the dining table

airbnb decor ideas - modern dining room
Architect: Jason Thomas

Hanging a gallery wall from floor-to-ceiling

airbnb decor ideas - gallery wall

Placing a welcome mat with a fun saying on the porch.

Guests will take notice!

Consider curb appeal.

Just like when you're selling your home, curb appeal is key when it comes to your airbnb listing. You want your home to look clean, inviting, and fresh, both in photos and when your guest arrive.


Adding a new coat of exterior paint in a crisp white or other neutral.

airbnb decor ideas - white paint
Photo: LAUREY W. GLENN via Southern Living Magazine

Replacing the front door, or painting the existing one in a cheery shade of aqua, yellow, red, or coral.

airbnb decor ideas - front door
Source: One Kings Lane, Photo by Norman Pogson/Alamy

Planting flower beds or planters with low-maintenance perennials

airbnb decor ideas - gardening
Image: Proven Winners

Hanging a wreath on the front door.

airbnb decor ideas - front door wreath
Image: Inspiration for moms.

Choose a theme.

Choosing a clearly defined style or theme for your space will go a long way in making it feel cohesive, and will also make it easier to make decorating decisions. Choose your style based on the location of the space.

On a college campus? Try decorating with collegiate-inspired chesterfield sofas, prints like plaids, and stripes, and shades of navy, white, and forest green. Don't forget to add a few pennants or throw blankets with the school logo.

airbnb decor ideas - college campus

Near the beach? Paint the walls white, and accent with coastal-inspired shades of pale blue, sand, and green, or go in a nautical direction with navy and red tones mixed in with brass finishes and dark woods.

airbnb decor ideas - coastal decor
Photo: Home Bunch

In the city? Go for sleek, sophisticated and modern style with contemporary furnishings and modern art, or evoke a loft space with industrial-inspired design.

airbnb decor ideas - modern city apartment
Image via Hunker Home

In the mountains? Choose a cozy, nature-inspired design. Think: leather furniture, unfinished woods, faux cow-hide rugs layered over wool versions, chunky knit blankets, and vintage ski posters or maps of national parks.

airbnb decor ideas - mountain decor
Image via The Cottage Journal

You get the idea.

Don't neglect the accessories.

While too many tchotchkes will make your airbnb feel cluttered (not to mention hard to keep neat and clean), adding in a layer of decor once the furnishings are in place will give it major style points.

A few musts:

Wall art. Every room needs at least one or two things on the walls. Framed posters, textiles, vintage paintings, pennants and banners, large clocks, or gallery walls are all great options.

airbnb decor ideas - gallery wall
Image via Article.com

Throw pillows. Not only do throw pillows make a sofa or bed look more inviting, but they help tie in a color scheme, too. If you went with a nautical vibe, for example, choosing a throw pillow with white and navy striped will help tie in the color palette from the rest of the space. A general rule of thumb: purchase throw pillow covers instead of actual pillows, so you can wash them and easily swap them out as needed.

airbnb decor ideas - throw pillows
Image via Serena & Lily

Area rugs. Don't be tempted to skip the rugs! Area rugs give a room a "finished" feel. If you have hardwood or tile floors, you'll risk a cold or sterile feeling without rugs.

airbnb decor ideas - area rugs
Image via West Elm

Add Local Flavor

Traveling guests will want a sense of place when they come to your home, which ties back to the themes we suggested earlier. You can take it one step further by adding local touches to your home, which you can call out in your listing.


Artwork or photography by a local artist

Design & image by Departure Interiors

Soaps or toiletries by a maker from the area.

Image via Barefoot Gypsy

A shelf styled with guidebooks on area attractions and novels by area authors.

Image via @silverspies on Instagram


Furniture made by local craftsman or vintage pieces purchased from local shops.

Image via My Scandinavian Home

Mix and Match

If you're not a decorator by nature, and you're just trying to get your place furnished so you can list it, you may be temped to purchase furniture "Sets" from big box retailers or chain stores. You know, an entire living room, with sofas, end tables, and an armchair for $999? Don't do it. This is almost guaranteed to make your place look generic and drab. Matching furniture is a dated concept. Instead:

Mix and match pieces from different retailers, eras, and price points for an elevated look.

Image via Magnolia

For example, if you buy a sofa and matching coffee table from your local furniture superstore, buy the armchairs from Target and get the end table from an antique shop. To make things look cohesive without matching, stick to colors that go with the theme or style you decided on earlier.

Finally, if you need help creating a distinctive space from scratch, even if it's just someone to help you sort out your ideas and put a moodboard together, consider hiring a professional stylist or decorator. Many do hourly consulting rates to help set you on the right track.

Find out more about Departure Interiors Airbnb furnishing and styling services here.