One of the biggest costs to anyone running an Airbnb / Booking.com etc operation is cleaning/turn-around costs. In this article, I share some tips I’ve found to make your beds look great, in no time at all!
The short answer to making your beds look great is:
- Use fitted sheets (they stretch naturally)
- Place the duvet cover on the bed when nearly dry and then pull firmly to stretch it out
- Add a nice blanket at the end of the bed (this covers any crinkles)
- Add a couple of colored cushions to each side of the bed which match the blanket
- Hang pillow-cases to dry rather than tumble drying
- Make sure that your pillows fit your pillowcases – this naturally ensures that creases are not noticeable.
I’ve been Airbnbing now for almost 4 years. One of the biggest things to be efficient on is your turn-arounds as cleaning costs mount up. In order to do this you can’t afford to pay for hours of cleaning, so you need to make your cleaning systematic, but still, make your presentation look great! (Check out this page on Airbnb Bedroom Ideas (opens in new tab).
Let’s Make Our Beds Look Great!
Let’s face it, the single most important thing that any hotel room or apartment should be the bed. This is predominantly what people are there for – to sleep! But making a bed look good and inviting is not as easy as it might seem, let’s face it, my bed at home looks pretty boring. Perhaps yours does too? But when you’re letting out a property, the bed – of all things – should have a wow factor.
Interestingly we found that our review score improved substantially when we made a few small changes to how they look.
How your beds should look
Ideally, if you’re running a more expensive Airbnb operation (that is effectively competing with hotels) you want your beds to look just like that: An upmarket hotel bed.
Something like this:
Problems in ensuring the beds look great
The problem with getting bedding to look as good as this is quite simply a problem to do with laundry: the bedding needs ironing/pressing to look this good (or does it?!).
The fact is that creased sheets look horrid, Egyptian cotton is expensive and takes a long time to dry, and even if you were to consider ironing your bedding, this would be next to impossible with a household iron, and an ironing machine (which hotels use) is a) expensive and b) impractical (I mean where would you put it?!).
However, all is not lost. There is a way around ironing your bedding, making sure the presentation looks good, and still giving your guests a great sleep experience.
The first thing to consider before you even start to use your washing machine is what type of bedding to opt for. There are various choices available to you:
- Cotton Quilts/Duvets (Pros: they give a great sleep experience, Cons: They take a long time to dry and are not usually wrinkle-resistant).
- Brushed Microfiber (Pros: quick-drying, Cons – don’t feel quite as good as cotton sheets).
- Pleated Duvet (Pros: the wrinkle problem disappears completely, Cons: They just don’t look as good.
We opted for brushed microfiber. We asked one of our regular guests if they could feel the difference between that and cotton and the answer was no, so we went for it, and didn’t regret it.
How to prepare a Brushed Microfiber Quilt/duvet:
The great thing about brushed microfiber is that it drys extremely quickly, and I mean, really quickly. A King Sizes Duvet will dry in 15 minutes on high heat.
However: You actually don’t want it to be bone dry. If it’s completely dry it may come out of the dryer creased, and it will also be harder to pull into shape.
The ideal thing to do is to remove the duvet when it’s nearly dry. So just ever so slightly damp, and then put on the bed immediately (assuming you have a couple of hours for it to dry completely.
Putting a duvet into its brushed microfiber cover quickly means that you can then make use of the damp bedding to pull it in to shape, and if you pull it firmly enough and then smooth over any creases, it will look 80-90% crease-free on the bed, which with the other accessories I will discuss in a minute will mean that any tiny creases (or put another way, the lack of ironing) will not be noticeable.
What If I’m working with non-microfiber sheets or cotton?
There is also a solution to this. If you make up your duvet with its cover and then use a spray bottle with a tiny bit of water, you will be able to again, pull the bedding into shape. See this video for further details:
Add a throw – they’re awesome!
Throws (or blankets) are some of the best ways to complement a bed. They look fantastic, they don’t require constant washing, and most importantly they can be smoothed easily so that they are completely wrinkle-free! (In fact, we use throws on our sofas as well – we decorate all of our apartments in white (easy to touch up) so a throw is a nice subtle way to add some color.
We use these from Amazon. (Not an affiliate link.)
They look lovely, feel lovely, and can be positioned at the end of the bed (to cover up any duvet cover openings) or in the middle of the bed.
If you then complement the throw with two lovely (and ideally matching) cushions, you now have a bed that looks great and feels great.
See this picture: Even though the sheet is obviously wrinkled, the throw and the cushions still make the bed look stunning!
I’ve noticed that the one thing that makes pillows look awful is when the pillowcase and the pillow are the wrong sizes! If you use matching sizes, then the pillow case automatically is smoothed out by the pressure of the pillow.
Another tip for pillowcases is that they are better dried by hanging to dry (which is also cheaper). They will be automatically smoother, and easier to manage. I add magnets to put some weight (and stretch) into them so they are “pre-ironed” and then I do iron the pillow-cases as they’re a) very visible, and b) far easier to iron than a duvet or a flat sheet.
Putting it all together
So, to summarize all this, turning your beds from looking “just ok”, to fantastic, is not hard. Keep the following in mind:
- Use the fastest drying and most easily “smooth-able” quilts as possible.
- Wash on a quick-wash at 30 degrees, but add plenty of Vanish stain remover or equivalent to keep them nice and white.
- The fitted sheet will not matter as much as it’s not something people notice (remember 95% of decisions are made on first impressions).
- Don’t put the duvet or quilt on when it’s bone dry, and if you can’t put it on when it’s straight out of the dryer, fold it nicely, and then smooth it out to store.
- Avoid high thread count 100% cotton – it will take forever to dry.
- Add Coloured cushions and a throw or blanket at the foot of the bed.
Bonus – websites
The obvious bonus of having nice-looking beds is that they will have a massive impact on your property’s CTR (Click Through Rate) on websites. People tend to make quick decisions when booking a property, and the two criteria are reviews and pictures. If you make your beds look stunning you can use this as a great way to advertise them too.
Should bedding for an Airbnb be more expensive than my home bedding?
No. There are plenty of suppliers of bedding for hotels and similar that offer bulk discounts. You will want to buy in bulk so you aren’t constantly washing the same bedding. But shop around, there are many outlets available.
Tip: If you use Amazon, buy one set first and then more if you’ve tested it yourself.
I don’t do the cleaning myself, how can I make sure my cleaner makes the beds in the right way?
Make a video of exactly how you want things done. Then show them. Show them how dry you want the bedding to be, how to “pull” it into shape, how to position the pillows, throws, and cushions, and want to do if any of it is soiled.
Then check their work. You may need to explain the same thing 3-4 times, but that doesn’t matter. What matters is the result. And if you have a good relationship with your cleaner, they will not mind (in fact they should welcome your help).