We have recently undertaken the task of gutting and redesigning Wairua Lodge in Whitianga. Through the process of staying at the premises, to designing, we have come across a massive problem in the BnB scene. International visitors want, expect and deserve more than what they are currently getting in the BnB market. For so long home owners have put their non wanted and over flow furniture into separate suites in their homes, providing breakfast and calling it a day, hoping that their guests will magically look past the out dated, faded and hodge-podge collection of their suite for the fact that they are providing a kiwi experience. With the emergence of Aibnb, the standard BnB directory has some stiff competition. So here are few simple tricks that you can do to improve your BnB experience for your guests through interior design.
Bedheads: The second biggest thing that everyone gets wrong. You must have a bed head. Also make sure that it is a fabric that can be wipeable, hygienic and isn’t too old fashioned. Headboards actually make spaces look bigger, if you don’t have one, your eye stops at the height of the bed. Secondly, headboards help protect the wear and tear of the paint or wall paper it backs onto, they are also a fantastic opportunity to inject some texture and luxury into your spaces.
Storage is another aspect that most BnBs miss the mark on. "Why storage? they are only here for a night maybe two." Well where do two travellers who have been traveling for a month with two large suitcases put them? On the floor? stacked? Give them space for two luggage racks, not one. Give them some wardrobe space. Providing a suitable breakfast bar station is so important, thats part of the reason they are here after all. Make it part of the experience for them to enjoy that keeps them coming back for more. If you are strapped for space, get custom unit specifically designed that integrates the fridge, toaster, kettle, and any utilities that they might need, plus your breakfast offering.
Styling is the biggest down fall in the BnB industry. This is not an opportunity to put your unwanted furniture into a room and charge rent. Craft a beautiful space that your guests will adore and feel special in, and give you amazing reviews. Get rid of that faded or patterned bedspread. Instead opt for a clean white or warm grey cover and layer up with throws, different textures and patterns in the cushions. This is a great opportunity to introduce a subtle palette of colour here too. Try and stay away from bold colours like bright red and lime greens etc. These are very personality specific and softer colours provide a more relaxed look and feel. Finally to finish off, take some care in selecting some artwork that bring the entire palette and look together. The ‘Kiwiana’ artwork has been done for the last ten years. Although most of your guests may be international, there are more unique ways to bring in those types of prints such as in a couple of pieces of crockery and cushions. For artwork, consider the size of the painting to the scale of the wall, and what is the best orientation of the artwork. This all adds value to the overall consistency of the space. Lastly consider the colour of the walls, how old the carpet is, are the curtains warm and cozy and is their sufficient ambient and task lighting.
Just remember BnBs can charge just as much as a hotel in the city. And whilst you are not a hotel, and nor should you replicate the look, you do have the power to provide a unique experience as hosts, through to the space that your guests dwell in and the environment that they are surrounded by.