With more and more travelers abandoning the cookie-cutter hotel room and searching for something more personal, an entirely new cottage industry has cropped up. What once seemed unthinkable – namely welcoming strangers into your home has now become mainstream, and many reluctant homeowners are earning extra cash by renting out their extra space.

If you are ready to join the Airbnb revolution, you probably have some questions, and there are a lot of resources online and off to help you get started. But what if you are already an Airbnb host and looking for ways to maximize your rental income, build better relationships and bring more attention to your property? What can you do to bring a steady stream of guests to your front door, and a steady stream of money into your bank account?

Improving Airbnb returns is not as easy at it might seem. The enormous success of services like Airbnb has created a flood of competition, from newcomers anxious to claim their slice of the pie to property managers with extra space to rent. Standing out in such a crowded field has become a real challenge, but there is one thing you can do to maximize your returns and build a better Airbnb brand.

A New Twist on Home Staging

That simple, but highly effective path to improving Airbnb returns is known as styling. You can think of Airbnb styling as a new twist on home staging – a tried and true way to make homes sell faster and for more money.

Styling an Airbnb property is similar to home staging in many different ways, but there are some key differences as well. As with home staging, the goal of Airbnb styling is to put the property in the best possible light. Sometimes that means moving furniture around to create a cozier atmosphere; sometimes it means investing in new furnishings and home décor. No matter what the process, the end goal is always the same; improving Airbnb returns and providing the property owners with a better return on their investment.

Choosing the Right Furniture

Quality furniture is at the heart of every successful Airbnb styling project, and it is always a good place to start. If you are renting out your own home as an Airbnb property, take a look around to determine which pieces could use an upgrade. If you have been planning to replace your old furniture, your new role as an Airbnb host could give you the excuse you have been looking for; and a substantial tax incentive as well.

For property owners who invest in Airbnb properties, successful styling may mean tailoring the furnishings and home accessories to the nature of the area and the anticipated clientele. Outfitting an Airbnb property in a trendy up-and-coming neighborhood with ultra-modern furniture and home accessories could make the home more attractive – and help it stand out from the crowd.

Let the Light in

Proper lighting is a critical part of successful home staging, and it is just as important for Airbnb styling. As you style your Airbnb property, aim to create lots of nature light; it will look great on camera and in person.

There are lots of ways to achieve this effect, from swapping out old curtains for stylish new blinds to adding a skylight to let the sunshine in. The options you choose will depend on a number of factors, including your budget and how much you plan to invest.

Task lighting is another important thing to think about when styling an Airbnb property for maximum returns. Keep in mind that your guests will be living in the property, and things like under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen and dimmer switches in the bedroom will give the home extra charm – and garner a host of positive reviews.

Consider Privacy and Beauty When Choosing Window Treatments

The window treatments you choose should do double duty, creating a well lit interior that guests will love while providing those guests with the privacy they need. Airbnb guests love to meet other people, but they also value their property, and the window treatments you choose should reflect those dual desires.

Upscale blinds and modern window treatments are great choices for an Airbnb property, and there are many different options to choose from. Smart shutters and blinds can provide that little extra that guests love, all while allowing the natural light to shine through.

Great Looking Floors That Are Easy to Clean

Your guests want to spend their time seeing the sights, not cleaning the floors. The type of flooring you choose matters a great deal, so look for options that are attractive and easy to clean.

Quality hardwood flooring is always a great choice for the Airbnb host. The combination of good looks and easy cleanup is hard to beat. You can always accent and protect those hardwood floors with a variety of stylish and colorful throw rugs and floor coverings – those decorative items will look great in your marketing photos and promotional materials.

Neutral Colors for the Widest Possible Appeal

Everyone has their own opinion about color, and it will be impossible to please everyone. One guest may love your existing color palette, while the next may hate it.

Since pleasing everyone is impossible, Airbnb styling often means trying to appeal to the widest possible audience. Neutral colors work best in this regard, and Airbnb styling experts use lots of browns, beiges, and tans when redesigning their living spaces. (Related: Top Home Design Trends for 2019)

Kitchen Essentials for Easy Living

An Airbnb property is more than just a larger and fancier hotel room – it is a home. The Airbnb property you own will be a home base and a jumping off point for all kinds of vacation adventures – and a comfortable place to come home to when the day’s exploring is over.

Successful Airbnb styling means making the property as homelike and comfortable as possible, and that starts in the kitchen. One of the biggest appeals of Airbnb travel is that it allows guests to cook their own meals, thereby avoiding overpriced and unhealthy restaurant fare. (Related: Top Kitchen Features For Culinary Artists)

By providing a wide array of cooking utensils and kitchen essentials, you can welcome your guests in style and make them feel right at home. Once you have your kitchen cabinets arranged just so, you can use your Airbnb styling skills to show it all off; from the careful design of the kitchen and cooking space to the spacious dining room where guests can relax, unwind and enjoy a healthy meal after a busy day of sightseeing.

Choosing a Hosting Service

Staging and styling your property is a key part of Airbnb success, but so is choosing the right hosting service. Not all hosting services are created equal, and there are a number of things to consider before making such a critical decision. Here are some things to think about when choosing a hosting service for your beautifully styled Airbnb home.

Price – How much does the host charge, and what cut do they take of your rental income

Support – Can you rely on the hosting service to help with unforeseen circumstances

Reputation – The reputation of the hosting service matters, so do your homework and research the company carefully

Marketing prowess – Exposure means money in the Airbnb world, so look for a hosting service with the resources to market your property effectively

Competition has never been greater in the world of Airbnb and other short-term rental properties. If you want to get your piece of the pie and enjoy a steady stream of income, you need to do what you can to make your home stand out. Airbnb staging is one of the most effective ways to distinguish your property from all the others, so you can maximize your earnings and build a solid reputation as an Airbnb host.