When to Cut Costs - When To Spend More

A Designer's Guide on How To Creatively Stay on Budget

There is a common misconception that when you hire an interior designer, they will only tell you to SPEND, SPEND, SPEND! This is not true at all. Here at The Social Home, we love being your ally and hope to become one of your most trusted consultants. We want to make your project successful, and we know that one of the best ways to create a successful project is to adhere to a budget.

When furnishing a short term rental, TSH understands that an investor needs to maintain specific numbers to be profitable. We are not going to show you a $5,000 lamp. Although stunning, you would NEVER see an ROI on that baby. Now saying this, we also understand that in hospitality - there are areas you MUST spend a little more to create a memorable experience.

Today we are outlining some of the top areas to cut costs and items where we recommend spending a little more. Sometimes the upfront investment in quality means you will not be replacing said item six months after you welcome your first guest.


SPEND MORE: Any pieces that will get heavy duty use or furniture that makes a statement. In a short term rental - you cannot predict who will be utilizing your space or how they use those pieces. Hosts cannot think of their properties as a traditional residential space. You are better off selecting more durable dining chairs, dining tables, sofas/sectionals, or any other piece of furniture that is likely to get used and abused. In addition to the more durable items, we recommend incorporating a few pieces that have a "Wow Factor" and will help create a unique environment.

SPEND LESS: Any pieces that are more for utility, or you know you will need to replace often. Side tables, TV Credenzas, Bed Frames, or Dressers are great examples. These are pieces that fill a space but are not the main attraction. At times a funky bed can become a focal point, but if you are going for a more simple look - don't overspend on a bed frame you could get from Amazon.


SPEND MORE: The bed you create for your guest will have a HUGE impact on your guest's satisfaction and potential ratings. Ideally, provide a high-quality mattress, at least four pillows per queen/king and two pillows per twin, a quality comforter or duvet and an extra throw blanket. Invest in "Hospitality Grade" white linens that you will be able to wash in a commercial washer with bleach time and time again without the fear of them disintegrating.

SPEND LESS: Towels and washcloth. While still important, are one of the areas you don't need to spend too much on. In all reality, you will be replacing these every six months. Unfortunately, guests have been known to use them to clean up spills, vomit, and who knows what else. Furthermore, ladies use the washcloths to wipe away their mascara and other hard to remove makeup. Some hosts will provide a black "makeup" washcloth to combat this, but it doesn't always get used. A local retailer such as Target will have excellent priced options.


SPEND MORE: Art is one of those areas that Hosts fail to do well. Many short term rentals we have seen barely have anything hanging on the walls. While we do not recommend commissioning a well-known artist to create a one-of-a-kind piece, you should have at least one or two pieces that help create that "Wow Factor." Your art is what helps tell the story of your concept. Are you in Nashville? Have some cool vintage vinyl records on the wall. Here at The Social Home, we recommend spending more in terms of quantity and "filling" space. Doing this is what will make your rental feel like a home.

SPEND LESS: Aside from the one or two pieces that are your statement pieces, feel free to fill the blank walls with artwork and wall decor from your standard retail store or Home Goods. Keep your overall theme in mind so as not to create a disjointed space.


SPEND MORE: Again, look at areas you are trying to make an impact or perhaps creating a "Social Media Moment." An incredible $25/SF tile as a backsplash to a built-in bar would be an excellent investment. That same tile throughout an entire room, not necessary. Splurge for the finishes that create the overall environment.

SPEND LESS: There is nothing wrong with classics and basics that give your rental a sturdy foundation. New paint - although less expensive than other finishes - still makes a project feel updated. And don't forget what a simple pop of color can do to liven up a room.


SPEND MORE: Creating an overall environment by adding any final touches that will impress your guests such as board games, throw pillows and blankets throughout or maybe a beach cruiser. As with the art, spend a little more until the rental feels like a home. No need to overdo it but showing that you have created a home rather than just a place to put your head will help you increase your overall ratings and reviews.

SPEND LESS: Anything that will break easily. Guests will appreciate the fact that you have wine glasses; they will not care if you spent $2 on them or $20 on a "Burgundy Wine Glass" (unless your rental is in Wine Country.) The same is true for any of your dinnerware, silverware or little extras that may "walk" away.

Thank you as always for spending a few moments with us at The Social Home. We hope we provided you with some helpful advice. As always, if you ever have any questions or help to turn your rental into a Tiny Boutique Hotel, please feel free to reach out.



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