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How to Redesign Your Airbnb to Make More Money

By: colleen clark

November 10, 2016

Airbnb and other vacation rental services have completely changed the way we travel, allowing us to live like a local in locales around the world. But what’s often missing in these experiences is a hotel-worthy design. Airbnb owner Lauren Otero knew that her LA bungalow‘s look was far too basic for its funky Silverlake neighborhood. Due to the popularity of the area, she had solid bookings, but was making significantly less than the average nearby hotel’s per-night rates.  Could design be the culprit?

She teamed up with designer James Tabb to find out, transforming the one-bedroom space to give it a playful, eclectic look in line with its neighborhood. “Silverlake is anything but generic, and it was time for our Airbnb to reflect that!” she says. Read on to see the makeover. And, spoiler alert: it worked. Her Airbnb is now fetching 44% more per night!


The Bedroom

They decided to start in the bedroom. Originally Lauren had placed a heavy leather bed against the window, blocking out the sunlight and making the room feel cramped. To reflect Silverlake’s hip, boho vibe, James replaced that bed with a vintage-inspired brass one, opening up the space by placing it against the wall. A wall half-painted forest green and a saturated rug add visual interest while anchoring the room. The bedside portrait of Lucille Bluth from Arrested Development nods to LA’s Hollywood heritage as well as Lauren’s profession as a TV writer.


Before, the space felt dark and cramped due to the position of the bed. After, bright white bedding and a new configuration open up the space.

They were also sure to add touches to make visitors feel pampered. A plush robe hangs on a hook by the bathroom. A guestbook alongside a water carafe and mason jars sit on the beautiful midcentury modern desk.



The Living Room

In the living room, a basic college-style futon and Ikea side table were the only furnishings. Because this is the first room that arriving guests see, James really wanted to make a calm and welcoming statement. He replaced the futon with a tufted midcentury sofa atop a blue rug reminiscent of both tie-dye and tribal patterns. The calming blue tones make the space feel like a sunny oasis. He brought life into the space with orchids, and fresh-cut flowers. There are an abundance of tropical flowers in the neighborhood, so it’s easy for Lauren to snip some for the decorative vases before guests arrive.


On the Platner coffee table sit books about iconic LA architect Quincy Jones along with a rugged scented candle for ambience.

“The thing that impresses me most with Laurel and Wolf, is the attention to details. There are additions around the unit that I never would’ve thought of myself: clocks, trays, a blanket for the couch,” Lauren says.


The Kitchen

James and Lauren set a welcoming tone in the kitchen as well with a tray of locally sourced treats and another for French press coffee. A framed sign gives guests important info like the WiFi password and neighborhood details.


The Bathroom

In the bathroom, James took his cue from hotels, adding plush Turkish-inspired towels and replacing the dark navy shower curtain with a light striped one.


The Result

The average per-night rate has gone up 44% since the redesign. Lauren expects that to continue to grow as guests add more reviews of the new design to the listing.

“People are in awe of the space. Silverlake doesn’t have many hotels, but our guests have said the new look makes it feel just like a boutique hotel,” Lauren says. “The unit was transformed practically overnight, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.”


Design by James Tabb

Photos by Dustin Walker

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