The styling of your BnB is absolutely crucial to ensuring it's success. Many people underestimate the power of good styling and suffer with minimal bookings and bad reviews as a result. After our success with The Bowen & Kenneth Garden Suite we thought we would share some helpful tips and tricks we learnt from a styling perspective along the way.
One of the most important things to remember when styling your BnB is that you want to create a space full of character, somewhere unique where your guests can switch of from their day-to-day lives. Hosts often make the mistake of ranking practicality higher than aesthetic and while it's important ensure your BnB has all the modern comforts, without the right amount of character your space is likely to lack the "wow factor" that gets great reviews and return customers.
#1: Don't skimp on the artwork.
Artwork is a great way to tie together the decorative elements of a space. A bad piece of art in a BnB is like bringing out a bad bottle of wine at a dinner party, sure it's there but no one really enjoyed it and they probably wont be back. We suggest choosing artwork that flows with the colour scheme of your room and doesn't clash with the overall theme of your BnB. You should also carefully consider the scale of your artwork to ensure it has the desired impact. Too small and it can get lost, too large and it can be overwhelming. We suggest investing in a few good pieces that compliment the other design elements and add a level of sophistication to your space. If possible it's a great idea to pick your artwork FIRST, then you can purchase the furnishings in colours and textures that are going to compliment your artwork and create consistency, which brings us to our next point...
#2: Know your style.
You need to have a clear vision of the look you are trying to achieve right from the start. To do this (and to ensure you don't get lost along the way) you should hunt for inspiration that you can refer back to for guidance. The Bowen & Kenneth Pinterest Page is a great place to start, but you can also create an Instagram page or a vision board of your favourite magazine extracts.
Once you know your style, you can develop a clear idea of exactly what furniture to purchase, which artwork to hang and what decorative accents to use in your space. Everything from the lamps and bed spread to the rugs and couches should all compliment one and other and leave your guests feeling like they've just entered another world free from worry and stress. HOT TIP: For maximum bookings try to pick an interior style reflective of the surrounding area. If you're BnB is located in a tourist destination try to ascertain what it is about the area that is attracting people to it and style around that. For example if your BnB is in Daylesford you might be thinking farmhouse/spa retreat/country, In Byron Bay you might be leaning towards coastal/boho/hamptons or the city you might be looking at industrial/warehouse conversion/modern. But no matter what your location or style you can always count on elements of luxury to attract potential guests.
#3: Light it up.
It's easy to get lighting wrong, but when you get it right lighting can make a huge difference to the ambiance of a space. Where you can you should try and maximize the amount of natural light entering your BnB. This can be done by revealing any covered windows, cutting back foliage and installing skylights in closed off areas such as hallways, bathrooms and kitchens. A well-lit home appears more spacious, cleaner and inviting no matter what the season, so warmly lit lamps and dimmer switches are a great idea for creating a cozy and inviting room in winter or a bright and luxurious space in summer.
HOT TIP: Try to steer away from offering candles for guests to burn inside your BnB, they're a fire hazard and can be costly to replace so regularly. Instead look into getting a wall diffuser or scented reed sticks which last much longer and wont cause any damage to your home.
#4: Go bold with your colour palette.
The colour scheme you choose for your BnB can be one of the most important factors in determining the overall style and ambiance is achieved, but its crucial not to go "colour crazy" if your BnB is going to have the greatest impact on your guests. Chose a palette of a few colours and stick to it. The colour palette should work hand in hand with your theme, and if done right can help you to achieve the desired mood and strengthen every other element of the property. When you're choosing your colour palette remember to keep your desired style in mind (Pinterest, Instagram or vision board) and think about what emotion you wish to create in your space, then choose your palette accordingly. HOT TIP: Wallpaper can be a fantastic way to create a bit of drama, and if done right can add character and luxury to a room. Wallpaper and bold colour choices can also help to create interest in spaces that lack in architectural design; whereas architecturally designed spaces are best shown off in more neutral tones.
#5: Set the mood.
First impressions are EVERYTHING when it comes to accommodation. You should always try and remember that other than having the place clean it should also be neat and tidy. This means books and magazines should be stacked and straightened, drawers organised and cushions plump. Sight, scent and sound are the areas that are going to make an impression (good or bad) on your guests when they arrive, so you want take the time turn on a few lamps, open the curtains/blinds, put the heater or air conditioner on, turn on any diffusers and put on some relaxing music down low to create a scene for maximum impact and lasting impression.
Remember your guest want to feel AT HOME, not AT THEIR HOME. Accessorizing in the right way can add a whole other level of sophistication and character. Tribal accents or country knick-knacks can make your BnB feel warm and homely, yet interesting and worldly. Don't be afraid to shop away from the department stores, some of the best treasures and unique pieces can be found at markets, op shops, and little boutiques just like ours! Remember functional pieces such as lamps don't always need to match, they just need to be in-keeping with the theme and are just as much a sculptural art piece as they are a functional design element. HOT TIP: Add a few local accessories to your BnB, whether it's a locally made bath bomb or some artistic piece by a local sculptor, elements such as this add character and help your guests to feel a part of the community they're staying in, adding to the authenticity of their trip.
#7: Design with function.
While it can be hard to get the balance between form and function right the best BnB's will have a healthy compromise of both. Where you can, we suggest having as many bedding options as possible, this might mean having a base bed and mattress in the bedrooms that can be split into two singles or pushed together to make a king bed so as to meet everyone's needs. You might also consider a sofa bed in the lounge and an extra fold-out bed in storage so you can appeal to larger groups. However with compromise in mind you want to ensure your BnB's aesthetic does not suffer purely for the sake of more beds (don't get the ugly floral sofa over the chesterfield, just because it's a sofa)! Another functional design element you should consider looking at is your appliances. Updating these items to well known brand name appliances with a stylish design is worth spending the extra money on as it has a sophisticated and luxurious ripple affect throughout the entire home.
#8: Add a little life.
It's no secret that we're all about having plants in doors. In door plants are a great way to clean the air, boost your mood and give depth to an area. Plants in cold clinical areas such as the kitchen or bathroom can help to soften the harshness of these sometimes sterile looking spaces, and when chosen correctly can make a grand statement in an entrance. We're also quite fond of fresh flowers in the home however this can also be costly. A terrarium is a wonderful alternative to flowers as it need little watering and if looked after wont need to be replaced!
#9: Invest in statement pieces.
The importance of having key pieces of interest in your BnB is vital to ensuring that people remember your place and keep coming back to experience what you have to offer. Statement pieces are the things that you usually notice first about a room and are often the talking point of your BnB. Whether it’s the color, the shape or just the overall design of a piece, incorporating a statement piece can become the defining element of what makes your BnB stand out from the rest. The most important thing to remember when adding a statement piece is to keep it in your style and taste, while also ensuring it's bold enough to make an impression and convey your homes personality. Your statement piece can be a unique furniture item, a grand artwork or a sculptural installation. Often brightly coloured or of a different texture or material to other items in the same space, a statement piece is the focal point of a room and makes your property feel more luxurious.
#10: Don't forget to update.
Keeping your BnB current and fresh is just as important as the initial styling of the property. Your property can go from FAB to DRAB very quickly if you don't remember to go through it regularly and fix up any wear and tear. This might include basic maintenance updates like giving the property a fresh coat of paint, gardening, and updating appliances and extend to design elements such as rotating artwork, changing over cushions, purchasing new bed linen and updating key pieces of furniture. It's also important that when you do freshen up the property you make sure you update your photos online. HOT TIP: Stay up-to-date with the latest interior design trends and try to introduce a few trending elements into your BnB each season and rotate items to keep your aesthetic current yet still true to your style and overall theme. Don't be afraid to go big and do something crazy every once and a while. Safe is boring and always leaves less of an impression on your guests.
#11: Photography is key.
The photographs of your BnB are perhaps your most important selling point as with anything sold online. Take the time to get some high quality professional images done and don't be afraid to get creative. Play with the angles and get some shots that show as much of the space as possible. Capture the styled elements and BnB highlights such as fireplace, spa bath, pizza oven, sauna, projector screen, etc. It's also a great idea to get shots at different times of the day such as the fireplace at night and garden in the sunshine. You can also stage some scenes to give potential guests an idea of what they could experience such as candles around the spa at night, a glass of wine and book by the fire, a platter on the outdoor table, the list goes on!
#12: Welcome the feedback.
This final point is not a styling recommendation but more a management tip that we found helped us to achieve our super host and five start rankings on the third party booking sites and ultimately have a booked out BnB. Many owners are afraid to ask the tough questions of their guests but a simple "did you enjoy your stay" and "is there anything we can do better" can be just the right questions to ask in order to stop a bad review making it's way online. These questions will help you to identify what you can change or what you can do better in order to get more positive reviews and return customers. If you're meeting your guests on arrival and collecting the keys on check-out this is the perfect time to casually ask these sorts of questions. If you don't have face to face contact with your guests you might consider leaving a feedback form for people to offer their recommendations - just make sure you don't leave any negative feedback from previous guests out for future guests to see.
And that's it! We hope these tips have been helpful. Remember you can visit our social media pages including Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest for inspiration at anytime. If you have any questions about your styling or would like us to source key pieces for your home you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or better yet, pop in store and visit us at Bowen & Kenneth Daylesford - Shop 1, 9 Howe Street.
Special mention to The Houses Daylesford for providing some of their wonderful photography for this post.