We recently purchased a duplex in a quaint Minneapolis neighborhood with the goal to offer it for short-term rental on sites like Airbnb and VRBO.  We really wanted to create welcoming and relaxing spaces for travelers to stay while visiting the Minneapolis area, so we spent a couple months doing small improvement projects and furnishing/decorating both units of the duplex. We took this project on as beginners, DIY-ers, wanting to learn as much as we could about the home improvement, renovation and furnishing process with an emphasis on short-term rentals (and all on a budget of course!) I’m creating a series of posts to share our approach to improving the spaces, the “before” and “after” results and special considerations we took for short-term rentals.

In this post, I’ll share how we optimized the small living area space in the upper unit. 

"After" - Living Room
"After" - Dining
"Before" - Living Room

We knew we were going to need to be creative in our use of space for the (16 ’x 10’) living room which opens up to the dining space (an additional 9′ x 8′). It’s a nice sunny space with the large south-facing window, natural hardwood floors and opens up to the dining area and kitchen. No major structural changes were needed, just a coat of paint and we opted to replace the baseboard trim with a larger sized and more decorative moulding than what was there previously. We split the living area into three distinct areas – TV/sitting area, desk area and dining area.

  • TV/sitting area: We like the idea of having some unique pieces in our Airbnb spaces for our guests to enjoy… it is a home afterall, not a hotel room! With that in mind, we built a small, floating barnwood wall in the living room and mounted a smart TV. We were lucky enough to come across a small sofa that fits the space nicely and is pretty comfortable for two guests to sit. We made the coffee table from reclaimed hardwood flooring and hairpin legs.
    • Barnwood – purchased via craigslist in bulk.  The amount used for this project was probably $50 total.  The floating wall concept was created by mounting the barn wood to plywood which was attached to the wall with 2×4’s. Total cost for the barnwood wall = $75  
    • Sofa – Purchased via craigslist for $250
    • Coffee table – Made from reclaimed wood flooring purchased from a local salvage shop, ReUse Warehouse by Better Futures Minnesota,  and hairpin legs bought off Amazon.  Total cost around $5o.
    • Bought the TV on a Black Friday online sale plus the mounting brackets for under $250.
    • Floor lamp purchase from Target = $60
    • Total cost= $685 (excluding paint, trim and “sweat equity”)
  •  Desk: The desk is small, stained to match the coffee table and mounted to the wall to save space. We picked up the chair at Goodwill and bought a small desk lamp. We also added a couple corner shelves, made from reclaimed wood mounted to metal piping brackets. I will have to work on adding decor here, possibly some books or games that can be enjoyed by guests.
    • The corner shelves were made with reclaimed barnwood leftover from previous projects and black plumbers pipe purchased from Menards.  Total Cost = $35
    • Desk made from reclaimed wood purchased from Better Futures Minnesota, (100 year old reclaimed lumber from an old Minneapolis home!) = $25
    • Desk lamp purchased from Target = $25
    • Desk chair was a great find at a local Goodwill for a whopping $2
    • Rug purchased on sale from Target for $50
    • Anker Bluetooth Speaker, purchased on Black Friday sale for $27
    • Total Cost = $164
  • Dining: There wasn’t a whole lot to do in this space other than find a table that fits and some wall decor. Eventually, we’d like to replace the ceiling fan but as it is in perfect working order, it will stay for now.
    • Dining table and chairs purchased off craigslist for $150
    • Wall prints purchased from my favorite local antique shop Hunt and Gather for $24
    • Frames purchased from Michaels for approx. $60
    • Total Cost = $234

In writing this, I’m realizing how much we geek out on DIY, upcycled and money-saving projects!  But, all in all, I love how this space turned out. It is bright, inviting and comfortable and I’m excited to get feedback from our guests.  

Airbnb DIY – How We Optimized a Small Living Room Space in our Airbnb Rental

3 thoughts on “Airbnb DIY – How We Optimized a Small Living Room Space in our Airbnb Rental

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  • July 25, 2018 at 1:59 pm
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