Furnishing Your Short-Term Rental on a Budget: Tips and Tricks

furnishing your STR on a budget

One way to set your vacation rental apart is to furnish and decorate it to create a cozy and welcoming environment. The good news? You don’t need to break the bank to create a warm and inviting short-term rental property.

With a little bit of forethought, furnishing your STR on a budget is not only possible but can also result in a comfortable retreat for your guests. 

Set Your Budget

First things first: how much are you willing to spend? Determine your budget before you get started so you know exactly how much money you’re working with.

Begin with essentials like a comfortable mattress, quality linens, and basic kitchenware. You may want to prioritize these items as they can all go a long way toward making your guests feel at home. 

Focus on Key Areas

Instead of trying to furnish the entire property at once, focus on key areas that have the most impact on guests. 

Concentrate on the bedroom, living room, and kitchen, to ensure these spaces are well-equipped and welcoming. This targeted approach lets you to allocate your budget where it matters most.

Explore Secondhand Shopping

Thrift stores, consignment shops, and Facebook Marketplace are your friends. The same goes for garage, yard, and estate sales. These places are great for purchasing bigger items like tables, sofas, or bed frames on a budget. 

Be prepared to dig — you’ll have to be patient but there are many gems to be discovered. Secondhand shops are veritable treasure troves for affordable furniture! Don’t be afraid to haggle too — negotiating prices can lead to fantastic deals.

Local Art

Check out local markets, art fairs, or connect with local artists to find unique pieces that add character to your space. Not only does this support the local community, but it also adds a personal touch to your rental.

Local artisans often charge quite a bit more, but you may be able to negotiate with them. Consider setting up a partnership in which you send your guests their way in exchange for a discount on their wares, or something of the like.

DIY Decor

This may not be for everyone, but if you’re a fan of do-it-yourself projects, don’t be afraid to incorporate a few in your STR. 

Upcycle old furniture or create unique decor to add a personalized touch without spending a lot. Whether it’s repainting a tired dresser or adding decorative elements to existing items, DIY projects are a budget-friendly way to breathe new life into your rental.

Multi-functional Furniture 

Maximize your space (and budget) with multi-functional furniture. Sofa beds, ottomans with storage, or dining tables that can double as workspaces are excellent choices for smaller rentals. 

These pieces not only save space but also enhance the functionality of your rental, providing guests with everything they need without crowding the room. They don’t call them “multi-functional” for nothing!

Essential vs. Non-Essential Items

It can be tempting to want to splash out on fancy decor, but it’s important to differentiate between what you want and what you actually need.

As mentioned, a super comfortable bed is more of a priority than say, a nice piece of artwork for above the couch. Strike a balance between creating a welcoming space and avoiding unnecessary expenses on non-essential decor.

A budget-friendly vacation rental doesn’t mean compromising on quality or style. Stay creative and explore your options and you can furnish your space in a way that not only fits your budget but also leaves a lasting impression on your guests.

This content originally appeared in our twice-monthly Guest Book Newsletter.

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