Congrats! You just closed on your new STR. Now the race is on to fix everything and prepare it for guests and 5-star reviews. As you contemplate your rental tech stack and how to get beds in bedrooms ASAP, don’t ignore your walls! These are the touches that will help cement your vibe, make guests feel like they’re entering a cared-for home, and are often the details that get mentioned in guest reviews on sites like Airbnb and VRBO. (A recent review of my own STR: “The house was clean, tastefully decorated, and had everything we needed” The guest mentioned only three things, and one was décor!)
What to Consider When Buying Wall Decorations
Mood: Before you jump in and start buying, think about the particular mood you want to set. Are you a rental in Tampa, five minutes from the beach? Are you a cabin in the Smoky Mountains or a condo in Branson? Each of these examples will mean a completely different aesthetic direction when you pick what goes on the walls.
Statement Wall: The jury is out when it comes to how far to go with your bespoke décor. Super successful STR owners Tony and Sara Robinson almost always create an accent or “selfie wall” for their guests—something instantly recognizable that encourages guests to take a pic, hashtag, and promote their stay. Others, like Avery Carl, STR mega-owner/agent, say that you don’t need to go that far. She recommends that units are extremely clean and appropriately decorated for their markets but says not to worry about creating super-unique aesthetic experiences to book guests and get started.
DIY: Consider DIY art before you head to the more commercial options below. Are you an amateur photographer and already have gorgeous photos of your beach at sunset? Blow one up on a site like Shutterfly and mount it in a place of honor. Not an artist? You can fake it. Buy a beautiful calendar for cheap, rip out the pages (carefully cut off the calendar part), frame them in modern, clean-lined frames, and create an instant, jaw-dropping gallery wall in your living room.
Regardless of your plan, you need to decorate! And when you’re also in the market for big-ticket items like beds and kitchen tables as you set up your STR, you’re probably not going to want to drop big bucks on art. Here’s where to look to pick up gorgeous art for cheap!
Where to Buy Decorations
(Photo courtesy: Etsy)
This is a virtually limitless marketplace of (sometimes) original and inexpensive art. It’s also a great place to find something that feels (or is) “local,” which makes a great authentic addition to a vacation rental. Start your search with a simple phrase like “Tampa art,” which yields results that vary from stylized photos of iconic locations around town to modern line art maps to vintage, postcard-style collages to fun, 3D local street signs. You can get any of these things for under $25.
(Photo courtesy: Urban Outfitters)
With a rotating cast of cool posters and wall sculptures, this is also a great place to find small, inexpensive neon signs. For the right market and the right clientele, this could really make your property stand out and feel special.
(Photos courtesy: Society6)
Society6 is a marketplace featuring hundreds and hundreds of independent designers who submit their work, and then Society6 makes all kinds of products with it. When you find something you like, you can get it as a poster, a tapestry, wood wall art, a framed print, or even a bedspread or shower curtain, if that’s your thing. You can filter your search by style (which helps quickly narrow down the options to get the right vibe) and by color, which is great if you’re working on, say, a beachy bedroom and just want art in blue, green, and white. This is also another great place to look for modern “local” art.
(Image courtesy of 20×200)
One of my favorite places to find inexpensive, “real” art that looks like you spent 100 times what you actually spent is 20×200. This is a curated collection of up-and-coming artists, with limited edition works for sale. This means every piece you buy is signed and numbered, making that $40 photograph potentially something that will be worth more in the future (and of course, all investors can get behind something that appreciates). This is a fantastic way to bring a museum-quality, I-care-about-art touch to your STR without blowing your set-up budget.
Juniper Print Shop
(Image courtesy of Juniper Print Shop)
Need something really, really big? Usually, the bigger, the more budget-busting, but Juniper Print Shop has solved the spendy oversize art issue. With every print available up to a whopping 55×79, you can make a huge statement without breaking the bank. A more modest yet still enormous print (20×30) retails for $69. Depending on your vibe, Juniper is also a great place to look for beautiful abstracts.
Build long-term wealth with short-term rentals
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Note By BiggerPockets: These are opinions written by the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BiggerPockets.