Jo Alcorn Couch After web

How to decorate a short-term rental property

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How to decorate a short-term rental property

Now that we’re a month into 2019, with financial resolutions top of mind for some, I’ve noticed that many Canadians are offsetting their mortgage and financing their vacations by becoming short-term rental hosts on platforms such as Airbnb. In fact, one in five Canadians are considering becoming a host in the future.

If you’re among them, here’s a few easy tips to set up your space for success.

My home is your home

I always recommend you include a little individualized charm. This will set you apart and let guests get a sense of who you are. It doesn’t need to be overly extravagant, but something that reflects your personality and makes guests feel at home. Try including your favourite scented candle, a warm and cosy throw blanket or notes around the house to connect with your guests and create memorable moments.

Got decor?

With short-term rentals, most people look for the comforts of a real home and not a sterile hotel room. Add accent pillows and candles, along with styled shelves or table tops. All of this can be done on a budget and with non-breakable items.

Jo Alcorn Couch Before
Couch before
Jo Alcorn Couch After web
Couch after


Minimal look, maximum return

As much as you want to make the space feel homey, you also want to keep the space simple and neat looking. This way your space always looks put together and people don’t feel like they are intruding on your personal space.

Lights, camera, action

A picture is worth a thousand words and the first thing a potential customer looks at, that’s why the quality of the photo is as important as the staging. Photos that showcase natural lighting, your decor and cleanliness, along with ensuring they are high enough resolution is key to coming out on top.

Keepin’ it fresh

Make sure things are easily washable so you can keep things feeling fresh between guests. I have developed an entire line of washable, Canadian made pillows that are perfect for rentals – you can toss the entire pillow right into the washer and dryer. Don’t forget about the little touches such as flowers that require minimal maintenance, or fresh white linens and towels that give that hotel clean feeling but with the comforts of home.


Bathroom before
Bathroom before


Bathroom after
Bathroom after

Protect your home

Unless your home insurance policy clearly states that short-term rental activity is permitted, you may not be covered for losses during these periods. A lot of people also assume the platform they’re using insures them, but it’s not that simple. That’s why I always recommend getting your own insurance. Duuo is an on-demand insurance service designed specifically to protect short-term rental hosts and their homes. Plus you pay only for the nights you want coverage.

Hook people with words

The description you create is as important as the photos. Not only does the description allow you to show off your personality, but it allows you to bring your space to life in a way photos cannot. And make sure your photos match your description; don’t talk about the spacious bedroom on the second floor if you don’t have accompanying imagery.


Jo Alcorn is a celebrity interior and home product designer, expert instructor, corporate ambassador and TV personality. To learn more, visit Follow her on twitter at @Jo_Alcorn.


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