Many people think hiring an interior designer is only for the rich and famous. Not so. Designers are not necessarily very expensive; many work on a fixed fee that will help you stay on budget, or they will work for a commission from all the pieces they help source. If your budget doesn’t allow for either option, you can still work with a designer remotely, which is becoming more popular now. You can have them help you decide on a color palette, a general style (e.g., contemporary, shabby chic, modern, etc.), and a budget. They can even lay out a general plan for your furniture placement in your space. The good news is that this service is often available from many designers to accommodate almost any budget.
Bringing in a designer to help you with the space has the advantage of tapping into that professional’s experience and skills to create the smart design that your guests will appreciate. A "smart design" is one that has your guests and renters in mind, and seems to predict and address their needs during their stay. This ensures your space will be the most comfortable and optimized for the largest number of people and will stay within your budget constraints.
But if you still prefer not to hire a professional, here are some foolproof ways to make the most out of your space and create a smart and inviting design experience.
Most people travel with smartphones these days, and don’t disconnect and recharge until the end of the day. Make sure you have electrical outlets by each bed, so guests can plug and recharge their electronics during the night. Speaking of beds, you can give any bed an instant upgrade and a luxurious feel by sourcing comfortable sheets and pillows. Invest in good quality cotton sheets such as Pima or Egyptian Cotton with higher thread counts. Choose medium density pillows, which will be pleasing for most sleepers.
Use the number of beds to determine maximum guest capacity, but don't stop there. Make sure you have enough seating and amenities throughout your space to accommodate the maximum number of guests you are hosting. If your capacity is six guests, you should have table seating, space in the common living area, and common amenities like plates and cups to accommodate all six guests.
You can create an inviting, expressive environment with art. Don't worry if you can’t invest in expensive pieces or if art gallery prices turn you off. Remember, you can still own original work by reaching out to local artists and purchasing work directly from them. If you do a bit of research, you should be able to find local artists and learn more about them and their creative process. Reach out to them directly. I’ve fostered wonderful relationships with many artists by genuinely being interested in their creations. In turn, they have helped me to curate collections of their work to create a cohesive look that expresses their vision and works with the spaces I have.
Consider the lighting in every space of the home, both the natural and the artificial. We have also previously talked about lighting for home office setups here (insert link for make working from home work for you).
You can always make a statement with light, even in a small space. Depending on your ceiling height, install a dramatic chandelier by the entrance or over the dining table. Have fun playing with proportions too, as a large item can be a striking statement and a conversation piece.
Remember that what works in one room probably won't work in another. Pink hue light bulbs are both flattering and soothing, and are perfect for bedrooms. Old-timey looking, energy-saving LED bulbs add charm on exposed light sources you might have in your living space and hallway.
Think about compatibility and contrasts. If you are adding black metal based lighting fixtures to your bathroom, then you want to make sure they go with what you have for your faucets and door knobs. You always want to feature contrasts, so your new wall sconce should be a different enough color from the wall it's mounted on.
Create a common space for guests to gather and relax. If your home doesn't have a big open space inside, go outdoors and build a patio or firepit with seating. Think about the area you are in and what your guests will be most likely doing, and create a space that will facilitate that. If you’re in a ski resort area, your guests might want to gather in a common space at the end of the day to warm up, share a meal, and unwind. Have a large enough table so that everyone can eat and play cards and board games. Make sure the seating is comfortable enough for breakfast before skiing and unwinding with dinner at the end of the day. Design around a focal point in the space, such as a fireplace, large work of art, or bay window around which people can gather and relax. Whatever you do, make sure that it's more than just a TV set. They have that at home.
When guests are staying in your property, you want to make sure their routines are not cumbersome. Regardless of your guests' reasons for their stay – work, leisure, an event – there will be some common amenities that will please most and will ensure a more comfortable stay that earns you great reviews.
WiFi is one of the top amenities guests have come to expect. A consistent, good WiFi signal throughout your property will be much appreciated. Along with signing up for good, reliable high-speed internet service, you should consider investing in range extenders particularly if your space has thick walls, multiple floors or extensive outdoor spaces. This will ensure guests are able to connect when they need to. Whether it's to watch videos on their portable devices, work on their laptops, or video chat with family, is up to them. What's up to you is to make it possible for them to do so from anywhere on the property.
You can also offer thoughtful extras that will make every stay feel like a hotel experience. Provide guests with a small toiletries kit upon arrival. These can be purchased in bulk from hotel supply stores and are very cost effective. Coffee is another easy to manage extra amenity that guests will truly appreciate.
Paying attention to these small details will show your guests you care about being a good host and have thought about the space holistically. If you are unsure of what you might have missed, stay in the space for a couple of days and note what problems you encounter. Or better yet, invite friends to stay and then ask them for honest feedback.