Pro Tips

7 Tips and Tricks for Budget-Friendly Interior Design

October 28, 2018 |
Tips and tricks for budget-friendly interior design

Need some cheap home decor ideas for your vacation rental?

Though top-rate customer service and the physical location of your rental can go a long way in enticing would-be guests, travelers are looking for more than just professionalism and proximity. Even if they plan on spending a lot of time out and about, guests want an inviting place to return to after a long day of exploring.

In fact, our partners at Beyond Pricing found that property managers can increase revenue by as much as 20% by investing in the aesthetics of their rentals. The data shows that well designed homes yield better reviews and more attractive photos, both of which lead to an increase in bookings.

You might be worried that interior design is a costly undertaking, but we’re here to tell you – it doesn’t have to be! With these cheap decorating ideas, you can jazz up your rentals without breaking the bank, and transform them into the kind of homes people think of when they hear the word “vacation.”


Here are 7 tips for furnishing your rentals on a budget

Make Your Own Art

The first thing that comes to mind when you think “decor” is probably “art,” and the first thing that comes to mind when you think “art” is probably “expensive”.

It’s true – a lot of the paintings you see in the stores come with pretty hefty price tags, but art comes in many forms and not all of them are costly.

You’ve got a phone. It has a camera. Take a nice photo, blow it up and frame it. Vacation rentals owe their popularity to the fact that they are unique and offer guests something different from a standard hotel room. What’s more unique than artwork they can’t find anywhere else, perhaps even depicting some of the local sights and highlights?

If you’re absolutely useless with a camera, you can also spruce up some simple posters with big, bold frames that make them stand out.

Hit the Flea Market


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A post shared by Larry Licata. (@antiquebuyingtripinhungary) on Oct 14, 2018 at 10:25pm PDT

Need a new side table or a couple of chairs? Scope out some flea markets or garage sales for inexpensive apartment furniture. Sure, you don’t want your rental looking like it hasn’t had an update in 30 years, but right now, the rustic look is in. Just use a discerning eye and make sure whatever you pick up is in good enough shape and then do your due diligence if it’s in need of some restoring. A quick lick of paint might be all it takes.

This is yet another cheap decorating idea that will give your rentals a one-of-a-kind vibe rather than decking them out in classic mass-produced furniture that your guests have seen before.

Add Character With Small Details


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A post shared by Michele Ludwigsen (@main_thread_textiles) on Oct 5, 2018 at 6:50am PDT

Though they may not be what jump out at your guests when they first open the door to your vacation home, all of the little details work together to create the overall atmosphere of your rental. Adorning the place with scented candles, tasteful throw pillows, and colorful fruit bowls can add a luxurious touch and make travelers feel cozy, comfortable, and even a little bit pampered.

Small, subtle changes can also be a great way to add new life to your accommodation without dropping a lot of cash. A thin sheet of glass might be all you need to finish off some low-cost apartment furniture, like a tabletop or vanity, an eye-catching shower curtain can bring out the best in your bathroom, and new handles for your kitchen cabinets are sure to give the whole room a revamped look.

Think Ahead

When you’re on a tight budget, it’s tempting to bargain shop, but for major items like couches and beds, paying less now could end up costing you more in the long run, when you have to replace them much sooner.  When shaping your budget, try to allocate funding to the big stuff so it can last you a long time without sustaining too much wear and tear.

And once you’re thinking long-term, white linens and towels are definitely the way to go. Not only are they hotel-esque, but white sheets are bleachable, which means you’ve got a quick fix for stains and discolorations.

Furniture on a budget

Create Crafty Illusions


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A post shared by Jeanne Wildherb Botanicals (@jeannewildherbbotanicals) on Oct 15, 2018 at 6:10pm PDT

You may be designing on a budget, but your guests don’t have to know that. With these cheap decorating ideas, you don’t need to empty your wallet to make your rental appear glamorous.

Feel like showcasing a collection of some sort? Maybe a bunch of vintage teacups or travel souvenirs? With a collection, you can intersperse the authentic, expensive looking with the more budget-friendly, arranging it in a way that emphasizes the former and gives the illusion that the entire set is oh so fancy.

Other illusions that can give your rental a facelift include carefully placed mirrors that make rooms appear larger or simply hide some unsightly wall damage, tile stickers that can be used in place of actual tiles on a floor or backsplash, and real-looking-but-not-quite-real greenery. There are some super convincing fake plants and flowers you can buy that can offer your place a fresh feel, without requiring any maintenance or frequent replacing.

Grab a Paintbrush


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A post shared by Built Custom Homes (@builtcustomhomes) on Sep 12, 2018 at 11:32am PDT

A really simple, cost-efficient way to update your short-term rental is pulling on some old clothes and doing your own paint job. If your paint is generally intact, consider a color accent on just one wall or even your front door. Painting either one in a new color can make a remarkable difference to the overall appearance of your rental.

Painting is also a great means of refurbishing boring or aging cabinets and furniture without needing to completely replace them. Pick a color that complements the room: if you’ve already got some loud tones in there, make it a subtle one, but if the place could use some pzazz, go with a color that pops.

Do it Yourself


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A post shared by Ágnes Palkó (@palkoagi) on Aug 25, 2018 at 6:33am PDT

Speaking of doing things yourself, there’s a whole DIY world of cheap decorating ideas just waiting to be explored, complete with step-by-step instructions for making a huge range of decorative pieces for your rentals.

A quick Google search will tell you everything you need to know to transform a piece of wallpaper into a fun and interesting lampshade or to repurpose an old shoebox into a charming little basket, fit for towels or toiletries.

These little projects may take up a bit more of your time than would ordering from Amazon, but they’ll certainly cost you less and will yield unique decor your guests haven’t seen anywhere else.

Small Costs, Big Rewards

As a property manager, you want to create the kind of vacation space that will impress guests and earn five-star reviews, but you’ve also got to be savvy about your spending. If a walk-through your local furniture store has you discouraged, fear not – there are many cost-effective ways to beautify your rental and transform it into the paradise your guests deserve.

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