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How to Create More Space in Your Airbnb with RV Tips

Jun 02, 2021
How to Create More Space in Your Airbnb: Lessons from the RV Industry. Words over an image of a camper RV parked in a parking lot with palm trees

Short-term rentals have a number of things in common with recreational vehicles, beyond the obvious interest in travel and adventure. Like RVs, Airbnbs often need some serious space-saving ingenuity.

Motorhomes have been perfecting the art of squeezing necessities into minimal space since… well, since the covered wagon! Here are a few styling tips for creating more space in your Airbnb, inspired by the RV industry.

Take advantage of unused headroom

The space over a bed can provide needed storage. RVs often have a cabinet above the bed, the perfect place to stow extra blankets and pillows without getting in anyone’s way.

As we teach in our Short-Term Rental Stylist® certification course, Airbnbs typically don’t require a full closet. By utilizing headroom for storage instead of closets, you can save valuable square footage to sleep more guests.

A common term that Airbnb hosts use is “heads in beds.” When you can say your short-term vacation rental “sleeps 6,” that is 6 heads – or paying guests – instead of just 2 or 4. Finding untapped space for extra beds means discovering untapped profits.

In motorhomes, the area above the cab allows for a huge bunk. You might be able to find a similar space somewhere in your Airbnb to add a loft.

Create spaces that multitask

Whenever possible, create spaces that serve multiple functions. In RVs, this often looks like couches and even tables turning into beds. In Airbnbs, futons are an easy way to increase the number of "heads in beds."

This guest house rental that we designed takes it a step further, with the table and chairs folding out of the way to allow more space for the futon to fold out.

Plan strategically

Even with only 200 square feet, a motorhome can boast multiple sleeping areas, living, dining, and full kitchen and bath.

In your Airbnb, you may have a closet that can be transformed into a small ensuite bathroom. If necessary, your vanity and sink could be in the bedroom, and the shower and toilet in the closet. 

An RV kitchen is even more of a marvel. This one even has a small oven and a 3-burner stove. Flip-down covers for the stove and sink allow for extra countertop space. You can create tiny RV-inspired spaces in your Airbnb design, like how we fit a small kitchenette area and laundry appliances in a former closet of the Airbnb below.

PS: We include a tour of this gorgeous Airbnb rental in our Short-Term Rental Stylist® course!

Visually expand the space

One way to make it appear larger is to allow the eye to flow easily through the space by unifying the surfaces.

In the caravan below, the fridge on the left disappears into the wall because it is all the same wood tone. The bed is the one thing that is different, so it draws your attention as the focal point.

The same theory applies in a home. Keeping paint colors consistent and minimizing clutter will make it feel larger.

A skylight helps you forget about the lack of elbow room in this shower. Plenty of natural light opens up a space. Windows break the confines of walls. Consider adding a window to give the illusion of a larger footprint.

Know when to cut corners

Sometimes trimming off a corner or edge can allow an otherwise impossible fit, or ease the flow a bit. This would be weird in a normal residential setting, but there is more grace for some quirkiness in an Airbnb.

Make the outdoors your living room

Nearly all RVs sport an integrated awning these days. In an Airbnb, a little patch of outdoor space can make up for a lack of living space indoors.

To learn more about designing and styling an Airbnb property, check out our online course and become a certified Short-Term Rental Stylist®.

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