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couple on balcony in summer

Want to rent out a room or two this summer for paying guests? Follow this handy guide to  creating a beautiful oasis for your guests to help you do it right.

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It’s all the rage these days: Renting out a space in your home to wayward travellers who are looking for a comfortable bed and a place to relax. These days using an online platform like AirBnB makes it easy to rent out your guest room or other unused space in your home to those who want to get away from it all without pricey hotels or less friendly accommodations.

But in order to make sure they keep coming back – and recommend your place to their friends! – you must create a space that is as much “theirs” as it can be, even if it is in the middle of “yours.” Here are some ways to make sure you get top marks.

Clean better than you ever have

Your home typically has a “lived in” feel. It suits you, and that’s all it has to do. You might be the type of person who vacuums the floor every day, or you might be someone who does it once a week, or even less. You might keep a spotless kitchen, or you might not have a problem with that occasional dish in the sink. But when it comes to inviting short-term guests into your abode, your cleaning style needs to change a bit — even if you were a perfectionist anyway.

When you start to prep the room or area your guests will use, clean it beyond belief. This means getting down on the floor and cleaning out that tiny space between the carpet and the wall, scouring the baseboards, getting every speck of dust from the ceiling fan and cleaning the windows, inside and out. Take a great deal of time on this, because you want the area to be immaculate. Your guests will definitely notice.

preparing the guest room

Fix anything that needs it

Now is the time to fix anything and everything that might need it. From that drawer pull that is a little loose to the tiny piece of carpet that tends to turn up in the corner of the room, the little quirks that you have learned to live with over time are things that need to be repaired before your guests show up.

This isn’t just prudent from an aesthetic point of view, but from a legal one. You don’t want any hazards that might lead to problems for your guests.

Give them their own things

When you have guests in your home, it’s best to make sure they have their own items that they can use as they please. This includes buying separate towels, linens and such that are designated for guests only, as well as providing small toiletries, such as travel-size shampoos and soaps.

You should also provide things that you might not consider immediately, such as an ironing board, extra cleaning supplies, trash can liners, extra blankets, spare lightbulbs, a few extra batteries, and other small things that might be needed by guests who don’t want to disturb you to ask for them.

toiletries in a basket

Choose the proper decor

You want the rental area of your home to be comfortable, but you also want to minimize damage wherever possible. To that end, choose decor that can be easily repaired or switched out if the need arises.

For example, choose throw pillows that are inexpensive and can be pulled out if they get frayed, and opt for lamps that can accommodate various lampshades. The furniture should be sturdy, but doesn’t have to be expensive — a well-constructed do-it-yourself bookcase from your local home improvement store can work just fine.

Provide clear instructions in a convenient place

Even if your guests are going to be just down the hallway, remember that their space is private during the time that they are staying with you. Make sure they have all the instructions they need, so they don’t have to go to the hassle of bothering you for answers.

Consider a small chalkboard on the wall (or even a wall with chalkboard paint) that has all the instructions on how to set the home alarm, use the appliances, and more. You can add rules, such as no loud music after a certain time, how many guests they can invite, and the like. You can also give them lists of instructions (printed, for convenience) to local restaurants, gas stations, entertainment venues and the like.

Get started on your rental adventure

When you’re ready to start raking in those rental fees, look into the fine print. AirBnB and other options, such as Vacation Rental by Owner, often have certain taxes or fees associated with them, as well as rules you will be expected to follow in order to use the service.

Pay close attention to these before you begin getting your space ready for guests. Once you are sure it will work for you, break out that vacuum and get started!

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.