We recently furnished upper and lower units of a duplex for purposes of renting through Airbnb. Our goal was to create unique, comfortable, well designed spaces without breaking the bank. And since we had to furnish two units at one time, we definitely needed to find some creative techniques. Below are five of the strategies we used to furnish our Airbnb properties on a budget.
*In the picture above, the sofa and wood for the barnwood wall were purchased off Craigslist, the reclaimed wood for the coffee table, desk and shelves were purchased from a reuse/thrift home improvement shop and were made DIY; the desk chair was from Goodwill.
This is ideal if you have some lead time to complete your furnishing projects but is an opportunity for some really great finds at even better prices. We had some success finding furniture (dressers, lamps, dining tables and chairs) on auction sites like K-Bid and Auction Masters. We also happened to stumble upon a farm auction in our area where we picked up some great antique pieces and a vintage dining table.
Nothing new here. Most people have used Craigslist to purchase used items and it’s still a great option. We got all of our sofas and sitting chairs on craigslist. Our best find was a pair of mid-century modern sofas that worked out perfectly for the living room space in our larger unit (see picture below).
3. Thrift Shops.
Check out what type of Goodwill, Thrift stores or other Re-use/Re-cycled goods shops are available in your area. We found Goodwill to be a good source for glassware, kitchenware, games or other random smaller household items. In Minneapolis there are a few places that sell used/recycled home improvement items and we picked up some hardware there as well as supplied for various DIY projects.
We made a fair number of furnishings with our own sweat equity. In some cases, looking back, we realize we could have saved time by just buying something instead of making it, but what fun is that!? The experience of learning to make something new and functional was part of the goal. If you enjoy DIY projects, identify which items might make the most sense based on your skills, resources and time available.
5. Minimalistic Design.
This is a big one. Our perspective is to make the spaces unique with a few really nice pieces but not clutter with extra furnishings. Furnishing every last square foot for a short-term stay is unnecessary and counterproductive. A clean, simple room shows much better in listing photos, leaves more space for the guest and reduces the overall furnishing budget.
All of the techniques above are most useful when you have the time and organization skills to have a plan for furnishing your property. Ideally, you have a few weeks of lead time where you can be seeking out these deals or sources for your furnishing needs.