The problem with all those perfectly designed homes on Instagram is that they look great but could never survive real life. Kids, wine, dogs… I mean, who is actually out here living with a white boucle sofa? That’s the question Jess found herself asking when she sat down to design her Airbnb property in Utah.
- Design a home that could be cozy and comforting during winter months, yet aspirational and cheery in the hot summer months, too.
- The property would have consistently high traffic (with lots of kids and pets), and would need to sleep as many people as possible. Between the three bedrooms and loft, the space would be able to accompany fourteen people total!
- All those people would almost certainly be drinking wine and hosting dinner events (in other words, there would be spills).
- We had to keep in mind that it would be difficult for her to switch out broken items at the rental property, especially during the times when she was out of state.
- And the property has pool and spa access, which means wet towels/feet (on top of the aforementioned outdoor activities.)
- Create a delicate balance between style and durability.
- No glass or other easily breakable/scratchable surfaces.
- All fabrics have to be carefully chosen to weather spills and stains.
How can you apply these tricks to your home? Here are some Hustle & Blush tips for designing a space that looks beautiful and acts functional:
Lean on patterns. Patterns create an ambiance and keep the eye from resting on one place and seeing the smallest flaws.
Color! Color is a great disguise for messes and spills. It also makes any room a more inviting, happier place to be.
Rugs are your biggest allies. You’ll notice from the photos that we put a rug into every single room in Jess’s house, even the rooms with pre-existing carpet. Pick an affordable, patterned rug that offers a bit of forgiveness if there are spills or stains. Hustle & Blush has some beautiful, durable handmade options. We also love to use rugs that are machine washable. Most people shy away from layering a rug on top of carpet, but we preach the opposite. Carpet immediately betrays even the smallest stains, while a patterned rug can be very forgiving. It’s also a lot easier and cheaper to update the style of a room by swapping out a rug than changing out carpet/flooring. Pro tip: place your rugs where the most eating, drinking and walking will take place. We even added a rug (made by our artisan partner in India) to Jess’s carpeted staircase, securing it with brass nails we found at the local hardware store. The effect was wildly transformative visually and highly practical. (Watch the “before and after” here.) Jess says, “The rugs made me feel comfortable with guests really living in the space and enjoying it.”
White sheets and patterned quilts. This may sound counterintuitive, but go with white when it comes to sheets and duvet covers, because white is easy to bleach. If something goes terribly awry, a white sheet set is also easy to replace without disrupting the design of a room. The quilt and/or bed runner is where you can have fun with patterns. Our favorite H&B artisan-made options are available here. They’re unique and functional, designed to withstand consistent use by artisans using techniques that have worked for centuries. And these won’t break the bank, especially if you need to replace one in the future. A good bed runner or a throw at the foot of the bed helps create a warm and cozy feel (while saving on the electric/heating bill during colder months).
Thrift books and accessories. Accessories are going to create texture, intrigue and a sense of uniqueness in your space. Books are a great non-breakable decor option. We at Hustle & Blush never purchase books at retail prices -- buy them at thrift stores, garage sales, and the like. This way, they’ll also have more of a worn, weathered feel, which will instantly add “hominess” to a space. We’ve even removed the spines off of hard-backed books to make them appear older and add a touch of vintage inspiration.
Use natural elements. We love a good plant, but if that’s not an option because you don’t have a green thumb or can’t regularly check in to take care of your greens, try incorporating other natural elements, such as driftwood, cotton, twigs, tumbleweeds, dried wildflowers, rocks, etc. This adds more visual interest and makes the house feel alive. Incorporating natural elements from the surrounding location also helps ground the space in its natural context. At least one or two natural items in each room will do the trick.
Fabric as art. One of our favorite design hacks for making a space feel cozy is using fabric on the walls. We love wool art in particular, which has the added bonus of absorbing sound. Before we added these wool art pieces, the house echoed quite a bit. Adding wool onto the walls (and the floors) helped absorb the sound and created a more peaceful environment overall. H&B has some beautiful handwoven pieces that incorporate symbolic patterns and colors, so you can choose a piece that evokes a message that means something special to you.
So, there you have it! Not to toot our own horn, but we were thrilled how everything came out, and more importantly, so was Jess. She’s been seeing bookings of the property increase and feels more comfortable than ever handing over the keys to her beautiful home. Whether you are running an Airbnb, decorating a space used by kids and pets, or just love having people over and don’t want to be worried about coasters and footprints, it is possible to have the home of your dreams without sacrificing function. No Dexter-style plastic carpet covers necessary.
Need a hand designing the space of your dreams? We do interior design! Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to chat about creating a home you adore.