How to create a point of difference. Styling for the airbnb market.


How do you make a space more interesting if you want to avoid adding too much of your own personality?  We all want lots of personality but we don't want too much especially when styling an airbnb.

To stare at little figurines or trinkets gathering dust is not the secret. When I style a space I think about building a story. Creating a narrative to follow when selecting items to furnish and decorate. The owner of this Melbourne apartment wanted to furnish and style the space on a budget but with lots of personality.  Since my background is in exhibition design I'm always thinking about multi-layered elements. Playing with texture, lighting, graphics and making sure the wall art speaks for itself. I usually end up designing the wall art. It this apartment I create two collections - one abstract and the other a family portrait wall, only instead of picture of people I created illustration of dogs. 

Everything in a vacation rental has to have a reason. Ikea is successful for one very good reason. They have well designed furnishings at a great price. The real downside is that you find the same furniture in everyone else's apartment as well.  Especially apartments that are rented on airbnb. So what do I do? I head to the auction houses and mix-and-match great bold coloured items from Ikea in with antiques. Making the space stand out will increase the occupancy and increase your reviews. You still need to cover the basics like an immaculately clean kitchen and bathroom, spaces free from dusk and keeping it well maintained.

People want stay in a beautiful space, its even better if its well priced. If you invest well and select items with long term in mind, you can achieve rental success. 


Living room with bold red sofa bed, antique mahogany folding table paired with office chairs. Walls painted grey and decorated with abstract art on one wall and dog portraits on the other.   Styling by Siobhan Donoghue Design. Photos by Adrian Tuazon Photography


Patio filled with chinese solar lanterns and benches from local auction house with a new coat of paint. 


Dog portraits. The family "portrait wall" created for dog friend clients. 


Warm inviting bedroom decorated in shades of grey with punches of bold colour. 

Styling by Siobhan Donoghue Design. Photos by Adrian Tuazon Photography