How To Design a Room for Airbnb

My home will soon be empty as my kids go off to uni – a scary yet exciting thought. That was how I drifted into exploring on how to design a room – or two – in my home. Maybe it would be fun to decorate a room even on my shoe string budget!?Maybe I could even rent a room,earn some cash and boost a future retirement income!

I knew the kids would descend at holiday time but how long would that last? Sooner or later they would be gone and I didn’t want to be stuck at home without a life! So I began to plan my design-a-room itinerary using my own architectural training and the wonderful ideas on Interest and Google.

Whether just for style, for family or for extra income, these core methods of how to design a room that I found confirm the rules that guarantee success.


1. How to design a room “destination” – your first move.

Before I did anything else, I grabbed some paper and my smart phone, to bullet point the possible needs for the room and its purpose. This would keep me focused and within budget. I needed a clear room use. Even the tightest box room benefits from a theme or direction! As they say “form follows function”! What would my room design become….?

  • a future baby nursery?
  • a bedroom tart-up for my partner and I ?
  • a formal living space for meeting colleagues and family?
  • a rent-a-room for extra income?
  • a work niche/studio off the side of a bigger space?

(Notice I did not mention the kitchen here- that was a much more challenging journey!)  Anyway I decided I wanted to rent-a-room in my home to boost future retirement income. My next stage was the measure up.

2. Measure the Enclosure


An accurate measurement of the room was needed. I had to map out the space and draw a little bird’s eye view sketch of the room the internal existing room area. I used the same units…(either inches or centimeters)… for clarity. It was messy and I know some of you are way neater.

First I had to measure the room wall-to-wall in both directions-crossing paths.

Next was to measure from internal room corner on the left to the window/door wall corner. Then measure the wall-to-wall opening of the door/ window on each wall.

Third, I made a note of the electrical switches and sockets; measure the distance from the corner. When charting a bathroom measure to the centre of the toilet and from a corner and the width of the vanity and shower/bath. CAD comes with standard icons for bathrooms which will help build a plan.


Initial sketch

The next stop was to create accurate plans so I could explore options and save them for comparison of my best deal. You can do this with pen and paper by sketching or cut out mini paper models of furniture or use CAD (computer aided programs).

The best CAD programs cost the most but are more flexible and accurate than the free programs but there are a few easy-to-use, free CAD options out there.

First up is free Roomsketcher. A free software and fun to use with 3d furniture. Fun, easy to use but not for professional use. But for just a home refurb it is fine.


Roomsketcher – https://www.roomsketcher.com/

room sketcher


Sweethome 3d – https://sweethome3d.com

This software also supports room animation and is free.

sweethome software

Create your plan in 3D and find interior design and decorating ideas to furnish your home. … A classical living room by Aurel 15C.


Google Sketchup – https://www.sketchup.com/products/sketchup-free

SketchUp Free is the simplest, easiest-to-use free 3D modeler around. You don’t need thousands of buttons and dropdowns for 3D drawing – you do need space to draw. And its free ! You can upgrade to a pro version. Sketchup also imports to the highly professional CAD programs too.




Mobile Sketch by Autodesk, Autocad Lite and Revit


While the above programs are fun and free they will have a few restrictions and limitations compared to the giants such as the Autodesk range. I have used several CAD programs but The Autodesk range offers a wide range of CAD programs and free trials including the popular SketchBook. Architects, builders etc all tend to import and export from Autocad and Revit -which is now the industry standard.

With sketchbook, you can draw with your finger any squiggle and it can import into Autocad and become a CAD drawing – great for the designers and homeowners alike ! The CAD software is the most accurate on the market and not likely to have popup ads.

Plenty of choice so off to draw up!


3. Determine Budget and Cost

Before I considered the layouts for the rooms, I had to total up my project budget. It was boring but essential that I created a budget or the costs for even a single room could skyrocket! It was important to prioritize the essentials for a room design and strip away all the tempting glittery items in the shops. Those can always be added later or over time. My shoestring budget had a list:

1. Create an en suite bathroom. Rather than know a hole in the wall, it was cheaper for me to close off the corridor and make the bathroom open into the bedroom, adding space.

2. the big window would have had to convert into a door so my rent-a-room had their own access. The room needed light and ventilation, a weatherproof french door onto a garden path would but the most suitable. Now a person could come and go without bothering me and would have their own independence.

3. a small kitchenette and fridge had to fit …somewhere! And until for storage and TV watching! I had to buy a mini fridge, a couple of kitchen cabinets and a microwave or toaster oven and/or a small cook top.

I considered it an investment. For the rentals it was a must. I could also use it for family when I wanted whenever they brought their partners! I skipped the luxury items and opted for the budget mini list finish- clean, crisp, fresh feel instead – a bit of paint, black out binds or curtains and maybe later add an air conditioner with a heater in the future.

So…. total up and ensure the job can be finished…whether with a house or with a room fit out.


4. Designing the Room

So how to design a room after you have drawn the walls and electrics? Start with the principal items. Where are you happiest with your project ? Do you want your bed/sofa/ table opposite the door – seen as you walk in or against a wall or behind the door for a bit of privacy? Maybe you want to be able to look out the window from a desk or maybe the view isn’t great but the shelf storage more important.

Place the additional furniture items in relation to the main furniture using your software. Move things around like a puzzle and look at several layouts. Tweak the positions so they are well spaced and flow inside the room space. Once you are happy with a couple of layouts, save them and leave the layout for 24 hours. When you return, you may see things you wish to change or improve. This is a good way to be sure about your plan.

If you are still unsure of your layout, get inspiration from Interest and google images or blogs such as Spruce.

Here is my end result. I would love to see yours. Once done it is time to build out the space I got an experienced handyman to replace my windows with a door and smart lock and add a corridor partition Thank fully I had no new floor finishes or tiling, just painting., new bed sheets, fresh pillows, A medium smart TV and WiFi setup and my kitchen point.

Total area: 204 sq ft

Total budget: £4 – 6000; US$8000, BBD$ 20,000

Total time to complete: 3 months

Estimated average monthly income:US $2000, £1500+, US$1250**.

** Earnings vary for many reasons – location, style, etc.

Whether just for style, for family or for extra income, these core methods of how to design a room that I found confirm the rules that guarantee success.

5. The most important  – and easiest bit – Airbnb Listing


If you were designing for family, this part does not apply. If you design a room for rental as I did, the next stage is the easiest! The hard grind is done all you need to do is fill out your Airbnb form for a listing. You can upload your photos and you will have an instant listing!

Not only that, I love that Airbnb manage the payments – I don’t have to chase people down and the payments pop into our bank account. Airbnb also manage the booking calendar so they alert me to cancellations. With the listing is a earnings calculator which helps me estimate earnings and provides tips on how to increase earnings!

Safety  has always been  a big deal for me ( thus the expense of separate entrances). I can add security locks and video doorbells  etc –  sure.That’s all good

But  Airbnb covers its hosts with $1 million insurance cover. And if you have problems with any guests you can report them to Airbnb who will take over the investigation.

That backup  and guidance can’t be beat!

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