AS SOMEONE IN THE CATEGORY OF 18–24-YEAR-OLDS, I’M A CERTIFIED EXPERT WHEN IT COMES AIRBNB AND OTHER TYPES OF BED AND BREAKFAST ACCOMMODATION.
But I also realise that my generation didn’t discover B&Bs (as members of older generations are so ready to remind me). B&Bs have been around for a while, and it doesn’t look like they’re going away anytime soon. Why? It might have something to do with the fact that hotels can be somewhat cold, impersonal, and expensive, while B&Bs are renowned for being cheaper and more welcoming, with lovely bespoke and homely touches.
So, if you’re thinking of turning your spare room/apartment/villa/etc. into B&B accommodation—or you’re looking for guidance as to how to revamp your current setup—then read on for some styling tips that will help you offer your guests a memorable B&B experience.
KNOWING YOUR STYLE MATTERS
From the outset, remember that B&B accommodation usually has a theme. When I stayed in Byron Bay, for example, my B&B had a distinct coastal theme (go figure), with hints of mid-century modern and local touches that really gave the room some character. It shows how important location is for choosing a theme, and how reflecting the landscape in your interior design can make your B&B appealing to guests.
EXAMPLE STYLE #1: COUNTRY
If you own a B&B in the countryside (like our Wicketty Wees farmhouse), chances are your guests are expecting a warm, welcoming feel—like visiting a friend’s house. Consider décor which features hand-painted tiles, turned or tapered legs, two-tone designs, and reclaimed timber furniture—like our Newport and Tuscan collections. You’re not only shopping more sustainably (after all, these furniture pieces used to be shipping pallets), but you’re shopping intelligently for a B&B—any knocks or scratches just add to its character!
As for fabrics, florals and ginghams have traditionally been paired with country furniture. But any natural fabrics, like cotton and linen, are safe bets. Be sure to style them with robust accessories (nothing too lightweight or delicate) and vases of fresh flowers from your beautiful country garden.
EXAMPLE STYLE #2: HAMPTONS
If your B&B is near the beach, bring the seascape indoors. A Hamptons-style fits the bill nicely, as it is casual and relaxed but also classic and sophisticated. Even better, you can create it on a tight budget. Think white walls, timber floors, natural jute rugs, cotton or linen slip covers and a touch of cane or wicker. Look out for stylish occasional tables, beautiful fabric chairs, soft cushions and lamps for ambience. Add touches of navy blue to the colour scheme—stripes are ideal—with curtains, lampshades, throws, or pillows. Decorate console tables with tall glass vases of shells and place a group of beach-themed framed photos on the wall above. Too easy!
A place to lounge or sit is key for socialising and relaxing in a B&B. In addition to comfy seating, consider sofa tables, bookshelves and private nooks for reading, a nice coffee or tea, phone/internet browsing, or simply having a quiet chat at the end of the day.
Some final tips:
- Match the colour scheme and theme of your dining room and lounge rooms, if they're separate, to enhance the overall flow of your design.
- Add interesting focal points, such as decorative items on console tables, so guests have something to look at while they're waiting for breakfast or to check in or out. You can get plenty of inspiration by browsing antique shops and local markets.
- One-off decorative pieces or work from local artisans adds a touch of elegance, and local flavour is often an appealing selling point for guests.
When you style your bed and breakfast with your own unique flair, your guests will delight in their surroundings, enjoy coming ‘home’ after a day out sight-seeing and—hopefully—tell all their friends and family about it to encourage repeat business!