With the advent of Deliveroo, Uber and Airbnb a lot of us are looking at new ways to supplement our income, and make our assets work harder for us.
And rental rooms / spaces are without doubt getting a big focus right now. Even Beyoncé got in on the act recently, giving a thankyou shout out to Airbnb for her stay at its $10,000-a-night rental property in Los Altos, California.
Airbnb doubled its rentals over the last year, and now boasts over 1.4 million listings worldwide. So, it’s no surprise that there’s a boom in people “creating” rental spaces in their homes. Like a recent client of mine from Enmore, who engaged an architect and SmartSpace Interiors to design a second story studio space on her terrace home, which she could either rent long term or via Airbnb.
Like most studios, the space consisted of one main living area, which doubled as a bedroom –whist this isn’t a common solution yet in Australia, it is in cities around the world. Where smart people are keep areas bright, light and open, making the best use of space and building in multifunctional furniture. This studio also had a fully appointed kitchen (not a kitchenette), walk-in wardrobe, great storage, and a bathroom laundry.
Here are the key design areas I used to transform this project into a multifunctional SmartSpace Interior with serious Airbnb appeal.
Renters and indeed travelers need/want different things and no two will be the same. Popular Airbnb properties often have dual-purpose features, so that’s exactly what we did. The main living area was too small to divide so we kept it well proportioned. Thanks to an impressive wall bed – the Nuovoliola, from the Comfort Shop – the living area turns effortlessly into a spacious bedroom. And unlike using a sofa bed, my solution was easier, more permanent and importantly was a full-sized queen bed.
Although not used in this space, you can also consider moving walls, collapsible furniture, screens, and stacking stools.
In all my designs, lighting is a key consideration as it can breathe life into a space, especially in multi-purpose areas. My lighting plan was simple, we used down lights to keep it bright when needed, and interspersed lamps and lighting in the kitchen cabinetry to create a softer intimate night time feeling.
In any small space, storage is key; otherwise within 5 minutes of a guests’ arrival the place is a mess and feels small and cluttered. Again, the bed helped here with its built-in storage, as did the walk-in robe, which also gave a sense of luxury and privacy. We also made sure that the bathroom laundry had enough storage to be functional with a built in mirrored cabinet running the length of the room above the vanity and washing machine.
A common rental design mistake is misjudging the type of storage. So, I always try and walk in the users’ shoes and imagine how they’ll use the space and what will go where. I was also taking inspiration from all the places I had stayed with really great solutions.
Accessorizing with removable pieces
When decorating, we again kept in mind the broad range of guests and that rentals and will take more abuse than most spaces. So, we went with a modern but gender-neutral palette, enabling us to bring in contrasting colours and patterns through furniture, fabrics and artworks; which also added personality.
Like with the lighting, this makes changes, touch ups and replacements easy. It also means that marketing pictures look great and rooms feel amazing when guests arrive.
Working with design companies, like SmartSpace, can be about many different things, including investments and creating income. Some through a more traditional large property portfolio, and some, like Enmore, through the smart use of space!
Thinking outside the box and applying the above principles meant this project was a complete success, that the client was very happy with the outcome, and that we did indeed create a secondary income opportunity.
For me the biggest success was the wall bed. It completely surpassed my expectations in terms of quality and aesthetics – it made the entire space work more effectively.
If you want to know more about working with SpaceSpace Interiors and how I can help you, click here.