It can be tricky deciding what to put in your space when you’re setting up a short term or vacation rental property. Of course you want it to look great but how far do you go when it comes to decorating?

When I set up my first two apartments for Airbnb I faced these dilemmas. Both spaces were quite small and I had to put a lot of thought into what items I selected. I also had a budget and couldn’t afford to spend more then I had! The conclusion I came to in the end, was that everything I put in the spaces had to serve a useful purpose. This ensured that I didn’t end up overspending on unnecessary items AND I was extremely careful when purchasing items I did need.

Questions to ask about purchases

What can this be used for? How often will it be used? Is it good quality enough to be sturdy and reliable? Will it last? Is it durable? Is it comfortable? Does it fit the space? Does it look good?

I asked these questions for every purchase, large and small!

Where to shop

My favorite place to shop was the factory outlets. I’ve received some great bargains for good quality furniture such as beds, couches and lamps. I didn’t want to put loads of ornaments and knick knacky objects everywhere as they create a more cluttered feel but I did want some kind of atmosphere so I ordered prints of old Kodak advertisements featuring areas of Melbourne and Victoria from the 1950s. I also ordered a print of the city skyline and had all of these framed. They look fantastic and guests love the vibe, it gives the apartments more of a holiday feel!

Minimalist kitchen

Try not to overfill the kitchen cupboards either. A good quality saucepan, frying pan, oven dish and tray, some mixing bowls, chopping board, matching crockery and utensils and a decent chefs knife should be enough. I encourage my guests to take advantage of all the fabulous cafes and restaurants in the area and of course don’t forget Ubereats!


My last tip is about indoor plants, unless you’re going to take care of them properly (extra unnecessary work) don’t have them! Plants can droop and die easily without consistent care. They do look great though, so if you must have them please take care of them or find some fabulous fake ones!


Having a space that is not crowded with furniture and other items makes it much easier for your vacation rental cleaner to properly clean. Your Airbnb cleaning service will thank you for a minimally furnished space!

Furnishing small spaces well is more complicated then it seems but with care and consideration it turns into a really fun and enjoyable experience.