Decorating Your Airbnb on a Tight Budget


You can design your vacation rental really well without having to spend a lot of money. I was on a really tight budget for designing a couple Airbnb’s, in Tao, Mexico, but I was able to do a great job with a few nifty tricks...

I needed something for a big wall in the dining space. It was so empty, and your eye was just really drawn to the emptiness. I chose the colors gold, silver, and pops of red as accents.

So, in my suitcase, I brought over three platters that were on clearance at Target for $13. I sourced a painting locally which was under $100. At Target, for under $20 a piece, I got four shelves. I carted these aluminum sculptures in gold and silver, also under $20 a piece, and put them on the shelves in a variety of ways, which makes it fun and interesting, and eliminates a lot of white space.

I found three stick sculptures as unique decorations - under $20 – and centered them in the middle of the dining table beneath the what was an big blank wall.

In the living area, there was another big empty wall I had to work with. I found these big gold platters at Ikea, for $20 a piece, and arranged them on the wall to make an incredible wall sculpture. I also used the same platter, which I think is made out of plastic, as a dish centered on the coffee table. I put some wooden elements in it to bring in the earthiness. The coffee table was designed by a local designer.

I put another small shelf on the adjacent wall and put a globe on it. The globe was the most expensive piece at $44, which I brought over from the States. You’ll be surprised by how simple a small design element like that can eliminate white space. I added bright red pillows to add a punch of color and really pulled the room together.

Now, I’m going to discuss my budget-friendly interior design tips that I did in a townhouse in Tao, Mexico. I found these awesome pendant lights at Ikea for about $20 a piece and I had the carpenters attach them to the ceiling. They add so much to the space! If you walked in and those weren't hanging there, it would be a very boring space. We did paint a little blue accent above the kitchen cabinet to tie in with the pendant lights and the next room, which is also blue.

So, in the living area of the townhome, I chose two beautiful pieces of art that I found locally at Pier One. One of the art pieces has a lot of movement and mirror affects so it adds character to the room. The other one has a geometric pattern with mostly shades of blue and green. I actually loved it so much I went home and bought it at the Pier One in Asheville and it's hanging above my bed. The couch in the living room was custom made. I just added a splash of orange with throw pillows. Orange and red in a room really bring excitement, interest, and a lot of pop that this room really needed.

In the guest bedroom, I put three décor items on top of the dresser across from the bed. I also found them locally at Pier One. There’s an awesome standing sculpture in the corner of the room that actually has a funny story behind it. I bought two of the same sculpture and put them on the front patio. I had guests accidentally break one of them so they went ahead and put it in the corner of the bedroom, and I think it works just fine.

Next to the bed in the guest room, I hung a beautiful silver door that looks really antique – another Pier one buy. I placed a simple blue lamp with a bit of texture on the nightstand, which I bought at Ikea.

Side note: One of the great things about having a vacation home in Mexico is we use the same voltage. When I buy things for our Fiji Airbnb, I can't buy electronics because they use a different voltage than we do. So when choosing a vacation rental, that’s something to consider. I can buy electronics over in the US, bring them over here, and they work just fine.

I got inspiration for the interior design of the master bedroom at World Market in Asheville. I found a table runner in the kitchen section there and it works perfectly at the foot of the bed to add a pop of color. I then added some inexpensive pillows, from a department store in Playa Del Carmen, and threw them on the bed. The lamp on the nightstand is the same one in the guest bedroom. Then I added an inexpensive painting I found at Sears. It really pulls the room together and gives a wonderful atmosphere.

I hope you've enjoyed this little lesson in decorating your vacation rental. I've had so much fun! I look forward to hearing from you if you have any questions.


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