How to Decorate Airbnb on a Budget

budget farmhouse decor
A shot from the living room of our house on the Michigan coast. Pretty much everything is either thrifted or from a budget-friendly store.

How to decorate an Airbnb on a budget

If you’re wondering how to decorate an Airbnb on a budget, you’re in the right spot. (This post was originally published in 2018, and updated in 2023 after we purchased and furnished our second Airbnb).

When we bought our Michigan House back in 2017, I knew I wanted it to have a bright coastal-meets-farmhouse feel. But given that this was our third home and second rental property, which we planned to put on Airbnb, I had to get the look I was after without spending a ton. I needed to decorate this Airbnb on a budget.

The good news? It’s easier than ever to decorate a home on a budget, because there are so many resources for cute and cheap home decor. Not to mention all the free inspo you want thanks to Pinterest and Instagram. You can head to your local Wal-Mart, or Target, or Meijer, or your favorite mass-retail website like Amazon, and find inexpensive decor pieces to complement most of the mass-market styles (Think farmhouse, coastal, Studio McGee, etc.).

That still doesn’t make it easy, per se, so I’ve gathered up a bunch of my tips for decorating an Airbnb on a budget (including a few new ones I learned while decorating our latest Airbnb in Vermont).

First, I’m going to share a few place you can purchase inexpensive decor. Then, I’ll go through the rooms in our Michigan rental, and list out where I bought the decor for our house, and how much each piece cost.

I think I literally furnished this entire Michigan house (three bedrooms, a bathroom, a dining nook, kitchen, and living room) from scratch for under $3,000. (Note, I’m just talking about decor here, not the renovation materials we used in the house.)

And then I’ll get into some of my tips for finding budget decor.

Where to buy cheap decor:

That’s it. I didn’t go to a single retailer that you would typically consider even middle-of-the-road nice like a West Elm or Crate & Barrel. This was strictly a budget job.

I think that what we were able to do with the house from these affordable retailers was pretty awesome.

So, let’s take the tour of a few of the rooms house, and I’ll point out where everything came from! (If you want to see the entire house, click here).

Budget Airbnb Decor: The master bedroom.

Total spent: About $400

farmhouse decor on a budget

I loved how this room turned out! It felt cozy, and vintage, and a little bit farmhouse without going over-the-top. (I’m all about subtlety when it comes to theme-y decor, even something like farmhouse or coastal, because otherwise it starts to feel kitschy and no one likes that). Here’s where I got everything.

The rug is from Ebay. You can get awesome vintage Persian and Oriental rugs on ebay for under $100 if you bid often and aren’t too picky about the pattern. This rug cost me $50! I did have it professionally cleaned, which probably cost more than the rug itself.

The bedframe is Wayfair, and was $140 for a queen size (similar here).

The bed linens are a mix of Target and Pottery Barn (the Pottery Barn stuff was our former bedding when we lived in Boston that I’d saved). I bleached it before we put it on Airbnb okaaay.

The mattress is one we had for a guest room in our condo. The bed is a platform bed so it didn’t need a box spring. If you’re looking for an inexpensive but comfortable mattress, try the Chime mattress from Ashley furniture. We have them in our Vermont cabin and we love them.

The nightstands are from WalMart and were $50 each. I think they’re discontinued because I can’t find them on the site, but I love this one, this one and this one, and all are under $70.

The sconces are the Ikea ARSTID lamp, and were $19 each..

The No-Vacancy sign was $8 from an antique shop in Michigan (and flips over to say “vacant,” how freaking cute).

Budget Airbnb Decor: The living room.

Total Spent: $1400

The sofa is the IKEA Vimle sofa in Gunnard Beige.

The rug is Rugs USA and cost $150 for an 8′ x 10′. Rugs USA is a great source for inexpensive rugs, including lots of braided styles, jute/sisal, and Moroccan styles, all which complement a farmhouse style nicely. One thing to note if you do buy this rug is that it slips easily, so you’ll need  a rug pad.

The bench is a family vintage piece. Score.

The pillow covers are from Amazon, and you can find them here. Amazon has a ton of pillow covers in all kinds of styles, but I stuck with buffalo check prints, ticking striped, or solids in linen or velvet.

The throw blanket is IKEA. Ikea always has awesome throw blankets in all kinds of styles, including multiple striped variations which are great for a farmhouse look.

The books are thrifted, and probably cost $12 for all of them.

The wall art is made from frames/ art I got at the Salvation Army and then filled with photos I tore out of coffee table books I got at The Salvation Army/Goodwill. I think I paid something like $1-$3 a frame.

The Springland Ave. sign is from the Sawyer Antique Mall in Michigan, and cost $10.

Budget Airbnb decor: The kids room

Total spent: About $500

The twin Jenny Lind beds were a Facebook Marketplace score when we lived in Chicago, and I paid $100 for the set. I’ve seen these a ton on Facebook over the last few years, so definitely try there first if you’re looking for something similar. However, if you want to buy new, this one on Wayfair is relatively inexpensive and completely adorable.

The bedding is Ikea. They don’t have it online anymore (not sure about in the store) which is huge bummer because it’s awesome, but they do have this one which has a similar farmhouse vibe.

The throw pillow covered were H&M. Again, they don’t have them anymore, but they do have so many that are similar and H&M is one of my go-tos for inexpensive pillow covers.

The mirrors are from Kirkland’s and are SO cheap.  I love that the rope gives them a slightly nautical/beachy feel, which we were going for in the boys’ room.

The trunk is from Offer Up, and I got the lamp at IKEA

My tips for decorating an Airbnb on a budget:

1. Make a plan!

This is the most important tip I have. You can’t just aimlessly go shopping for your Airbnb decor and expect it all to go together.

First, come up with a theme or a look for your Airbnb. I tend to think the look should reflect the place your home is, since people on vacation generally want to “feel” like they’re away. So if you’re in the city, go for a sleek and modern scheme. If you’re in the mountains, decorate in a rustic lodge style. If you’re by the beach or a lake or a farm, go with a look that creates that sense of place.

Once you come up with a direction, find some inspiration for your look on Pinterest or Instagram or wherever. Then, try to find similar items to recreate the look you’re after.

Next, stick to the plan! If you’re going for a dreamy neutral space wit rustic touches, resist the urge to buy that cute yellow throw blanket, even if you love it and it’s on sale. Achieving your dream decor scheme is all about editing, so that everything you bring into your house contributes to the look you’re going for.

Exercising restraint and only buying things that work for your space will not only help you get the results you want faster, but it will stop you from spending money on unnecessary things that will only muddle up the look you’re trying to go for.

2. Go secondhand!

I know, I’ve probably made this clear, but I just want to emphasize this point because it’s key: so many great things can be bought secondhand.

3. Stick to neutrals.

Colorful style is harder to pull off, and you usually have to spend more to do it right. Sticking to neutrals also gives you more options when sourcing your decor because you’ll likely be able to find neutrals almost anywhere, instead of, for example, if you were going with a look based around mint green and blush pink. This would limit where you’d be able to shop because it’s a specific color palette, and you’d probably find yourself paying a premium for pieces in the exact shades you were after.

4. Get the look with accessories.

If you have existing furniture and decor you don’t want to part with, you can still achieve a curated look by adding a layer of accessories to a room. Swapping out wall art, rugs, drapery, and shelf/tabletop accents for pieces in a cohesive theme can go a long way.

Check out more posts on our Michigan house here:

The plans for our Michigan house

Our Michigan house renovation: Month 1

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