A Rental Studio DIY Makeover

This space is used as an Airbnb and second income for the client, and the client didn't want to put a lot of money into design. I wanted to create a space that was clean and welcoming, but could make the space a bit bolder than usual since it is a vacation property. We were aiming to keep the budget as low as possible while still making an impact in the space.

It is a studio space that has a queen bed, small seating area, and mini kitchen zone. The current space is dated and had a hand-me-down look, which is what typically happens when home owners don't want to put a lot of money into a space. However, with a few changes, the space could really transform into something amazing. Here are a few of the before pictures:

The best way to spend less money is using and repurposing what you have, so I started there. The big ticket items existed in this kitchen area, but all lacked personality. Leaving the counters black, I proposed painting the current cabinets black, using a peel and stick backsplash tile on the wall, and aligning the fridge with the cabinets. The storage unit next to the oven was replaced with open shelving. This extended the kitchen space across the whole wall instead of feeling fragmented. This new design helps make the kitchen feel like more like a zone within the larger space, which is perfect for studio spaces like this.


The current space also has a collection of misused curtains. The curtains are too small and installed into the frame of the windows, making the space feel short and choppy. I proposed new curtain rods and longer curtains, that reached the floor and heighten the feel of the space. I also proposed using the curtains to help delineate separate spaces. By framing off the windows in this way, it will help to make the space feel taller while also giving each area of the room some visual separation.

To save space, I proposed a DIY wall mounted surface along the wall between both windows and recommended stools underneath. By utilizing the wall in this way, the space will feel bigger and leave more room to breathe.


The current space desperately needs closet doors, so I propose adding a basic door to polish off this space and keep costs low.

The entry, kitchen and bedroom zones all meet at the end of the bed. A dresser and mirror were positioned in this space, but it doesn’t create a zone that had any functional purpose. At the end of the bed, I recommended a bench to have a space to set your bag that is positioned between the entry and bed zones. This also helps to visually separate the bed from the rest of the room. I also added an Ikea entry piece that pulls more of the black accent into the space and adds height. Since it is a short term rental, I like the idea of having open storage like this so the guests can see what is available for them to use like towels, umbrellas, toiletries, etc.


My favorite feature of the room is the ceiling. I proposed painting the walls a crisp white that will give the hotel feel that an out of town guest hopes for, and then paint the ceiling and an upper border with this bolder color combination. Short term rentals can be fun and you want the space to stand out to the renter online. While this idea sounds bold, it is the perfect feature accent that will get the space noticed without spending a ton.

This project was so fun. All together I estimate the updates to be around $500.00. I believe a design upgrade like this will allow the owner to fill the space more often and at a higher price point, and who wouldn’t want that.