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The Complete Guide to Furnishing an Airbnb

If you own a rental property, chances are you’ve considered listing it on Airbnb, VRBO, or both. While both of these sites can be a great way to find short-term renters and earn a little bit of cash on the side, listing your home with these businesses is a little bit different than renting your house out yourself.

The most obvious difference is that these sites are designed for short-term rentals, as opposed to finding long-term tenants. Because of this, there are some considerations to make when furnishing a home you intend to list for short-term rentals on Airbnb or VRBO as opposed to one you want to rent out for longer periods.

How Much Does Furnishing an Airbnb Cost?

Like most things, the cost in this scenario is based on several key factors. How large is the home? Where is the home located geographically? Are you purchasing new furniture or used furniture? What is your design style?

For example, if you’re furnishing an opulent 6-bedroom ski lodge in Aspen, you’re probably looking to curate an experience that oozes luxury, given that’s what your guests will be expecting. In this case, you could easily spend tens of thousands furnishing your Airbnb rental.

If you’re looking to furnish a two-bedroom beach cottage, you’re probably looking to create an atmosphere that’s casual, comfortable, and cozy. In this scenario, you can probably get away with spending $10,000 or less on furnishings. In the end, the price you’ll pay to furnish a VRBO or Airbnb is ultimately up to your style and preferences.

Should I Hire an Interior Designer to Furnish My Airbnb?

This is another question that can really only be answered by your budget. If you have the money to spend on an interior designer and don’t want to take on the burden of measuring, selecting, and ordering furniture yourself, then, by all means, hire a professional.

That said, most people who own rental properties aren’t afraid of a little hard work. Decorating yourself may be a little bit more of a challenge, but it can be a fun experience that will allow you to put your unique spin on your rental home and save you a ton of money in the process.

Airbnb Living Room Furniture

Pre-Shopping Tips for Airbnb Furnishings

Before you head out to the furniture store, you’ll want to get organized. Check our list below and keep these things in mind as you prepare to shop for furniture for your VRBO or Airbnb:

  • Consider your target customer before selecting furniture. Are you expecting to rent to families? Couples? Solo travelers? Knowing your target customer can help guide your style and design choices. It can also help you determine the quantity of furniture you’ll need, e.g. how many beds, sofas, etc.
  • Figure out your budget, so you don’t spend more than you mean to. Nobody likes going over budget. Set a realistic range you want to keep your spending within and make sure you stick to it while shopping. Sometimes it helps to set two budgets; one for the things you must buy, and one for things you want to buy.
  • Don’t limit yourself to one type of shopping experience. Yes, you can find plenty of items for cheap on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, but it’s unlikely you’ll find everything you need online. Open yourself up to visiting local furniture stores, like Bowden & Carr, as well as upcycling items. This will allow you to find the perfect blend of quality, useful, and budget-friendly furniture.
  • Choose your theme or color scheme before you go shopping. Or at least have several complementary colors in mind. If you neglect to do this, you’re much more likely to end up with furniture in all shades and hues that just… don’t go well together. Come up with some colors or a theme (beachy, woodsy, etc.) you like and look for furniture that matches that aesthetic.
  • Don’t overshop, because a crowded room will make your rental look and feel smaller. It also creates more opportunities for someone to trip and fall and only adds to the amount of furniture you need to clean, care for, repair, and replace over time. Focus on buying the essentials that each room needs as opposed to buying items based on looks alone.
  • Purchase furniture that’s easy to clean and care for. Frequent, short-term rentals mean a much higher rate of wear and tear for your furniture. While a certain amount of dirt and dust build-up is to be expected, and spills and stains do happen, you can make cleaning up easier for yourself. Both La-Z-Boy and Rowe Furniture, two of Bowden & Carr’s top brands, provide a variety of easy-to-clean fabrics. Find out more by shopping La-Z-Boy’s iClean™ line or Rowe’s Kid Proof fabrics, and order your custom piece through Bowden & Carr.
  • Prioritize comfort over style. Your guests are most likely renting your VRBO or Airbnb because they’re looking for a relaxing getaway. Whether they’re staying a week or a weekend, the last thing you want is to receive reviews admonishing your home for its uncomfortable furniture. Choose sofas and recliners that are soft while offering adequate back support, and opt for mattresses that leave your guests feeling like they’re sleeping on a cloud. Trust us; your rental home’s review page will thank you.
  • Choose functional furniture that includes enough storage. When someone rents a VRBO or Airbnb, they do it because they’re looking to vacation in a place that makes them feel at home. Hotels, with their cookie-cutter decor and limited space, don’t exactly come off as homey. In addition to high-quality furniture and classy decor, you can set your rental home apart by making sure your furniture provides plenty of storage for your guests. This can easily be achieved by choosing dressers with multiple drawers, beds with under-bed storage, and decor that includes hooks to hang up things like keys, bags, or bathrobes.
  • Safety first, always. Remember, you don’t know who will be renting your property, but chances are, at some point, your guests will include children and elderly individuals. When choosing furniture, keep your more delicate guests in mind. Look for items that aren’t likely to trip or fall over and avoid pieces that include sharp corners or features that can result in a tripping hazard.


Airbnb Bedroom Furniture

Do’s and Don’ts for Airbnb Furniture Shopping

Now that you’ve got the basics in mind and your budget is set, it’s time to hit the stores. While shopping, keep the following tips in mind. Remember, choosing the right furniture for your Airbnb or VRBO rental is crucial, as you’ll want it to stand up to heavy use, look nice in your listing photos, and offer a sense of comfort to your guests.

Sofas and Recliners


  • Purchase pieces with washable covers
  • Choose pull-out couches when possible
  • Buy real leather (if it fits with your style/budget)


  • Buy faux-leather upholstery
  • Ignore consumer reviews regarding comfort
  • Forget to measure your space


  • Choose a smart TV
  • Go for a high-resolution model
  • Put your TV on a stand


  • Spend thousands on a TV for a rental home
  • Wall mount your rental’s TV
  • Buy a TV so large it dominates the room
Dining Room and Coffee Tables


  • Look for coffee and dining room tables that offer under-table storage
  • Match your tables to your overall color scheme/decor
  • Purchase enough dining room chairs to accommodate your max number of guests


  • Spend too much money on fancy woods and finishes
  • Buy a dining room table that is too large to navigate around comfortably
  • Buy tables with sharp edges/corners
Lighting and Lamps


  • Choose lighting that makes each room feel cozy
  • Use lamps as decor pieces
  • Include ceiling fans when using overhead lighting


  • Choose large or heavy floor/table lamps that can easily be knocked over
  • Purchase glass lamps (when possible)
  • Use fluorescent lighting
Beds and Mattresses


  • Focus on comfort, above all else
  • Choose beds with under-bed drawers/storage
  • Purchase bedding that is comfortable and easy to clean


  • Spend thousands on a single mattress
  • Forget to include plenty of extra pillows and blankets
  • Choose bed frames that are too high or too low to the ground
Outdoor Furniture


  • Look for pieces that are sturdy but can be easily moved if need be
  • Choose weather-proof fabrics
  • Include outdoor storage items (e.g. storage benches)


  • Buy lightweight furniture that can be blown around in high winds
  • Purchase items that aren’t appropriately treated to withstand the elements
  • Forget to purchase enough cushions (and extras) for each seat


Airbnb Dining Room Furniture

Easy Checklists for Airbnb Furniture Shopping

We know that this has been a lot of information to take in so, to help make your first shopping tip an easy one, we’ve come up with a few simple checklists to help you make sure you get the essentials for your new Airbnb or VRBO listing.

Living Room
  • Sofa
  • Armchairs/recliners
  • Lift chairs (for elderly guests)
  • Coffee table(s)
  • TV/TV stand
  • Area rug
  • Lamps
  • Bookshelf
Dining Room 
  • Dining table
  • Enough chairs to accommodate your max guest count
  • Over-table lighting
  • Area rug
  • Bed frames (with storage)
  • Mattresses
  • Bedding/linens/pillows
  • Extra blankets and pillows
  • Dresser and/or wardrobe
  • Nightstands
  • Blackout curtains
  • Bedside lighting
  • Vanity mirror and/or full-length mirror
  • TV/TV stand (if in your budget)
  • Major appliances (fridge, oven, microwave, dishwasher)
  • Coffee maker
  • Pots and pans
  • Cutlery
  • Cups and mugs
  • Cutting board(s)
  • Wine/bottle opener
  • Can opener
  • Trash can
  • Hand towels
  • Bath towels
  • Washcloths
  • Bath mat
  • Mirror
  • Toilet paper holder
  • Trash can
  • Toilet brush/plunger set
Outdoor Furniture
  • Outdoor dining table
  • Patio chairs
  • Umbrella
  • Outdoor rug


Ready to furnish your VRBO or Airbnb rental? Bowden & Carr has everything you need to get started, from essentials like sofas and recliners to decor, including area rugs and lamps. Visit us in Havelock, NC, or contact our team today by clicking here.