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A 24-year-old whose bold Airbnb brings in $9,500 a month shares ways to make listings stand out and get more bookings

Apartment with bold pink and orange walls, velvet blue couch, and a purple rugBridgette Whitney’s decorating job for her Nashville Airbnb has landed her gigs designing other spaces.

Courtesy of Nathan Mantor Photography

  • Bridgette Whitney, 24, attributes the success of her Nashville Airbnb to eccentric design choices.
  • Hosts from North Carolina to Arizona tap her to help their listings stand out from the competition. 
  • She shares her best design tips, from painting your own mural to outfitting an eye-catching bedroom.

Bridgette Whitney stumbled into designing Airbnbs after furnishing her own short-term rental in Nashville.

Whitney, 24, began hosting the unit in 2022 through rental arbitrage, meaning she does not own the unit but instead leases it from the building and then rents it out on Airbnb. She hosts with her boyfriend Blue Delgado, 26, whom she met at San Diego State University. 

The number of Airbnbs in Nashville have more than doubled since 2017, according to data from analytics site AirDNA, growing from 3,700 in 2017 to 7,700 in 2022. Knowing how competitive rentals had become in the Music City, Whitney was determined to stand out. 

“There are thousands of Airbnbs in Nashville. We needed to make this weird,” said Whitney, who shares her design savvy with 124,000 followers on Instagram

Whitney painted the walls of her two-bedroom unit in downtown Nashville hot pink and orange with squiggly line patterns and purchased items like a gumball machine and a bowl-shaped couch to outfit the space.

Travelers have responded enthusiastically. 

“When you have a space that is colorful and lively, you attract guests that are happy,” Whitney said. The couple says a typical month’s revenue for the unit, which goes for $328/night and up, is $9,500. 

The pressure is on for Airbnb hosts headed into 2023. Demand for short-term stays will continue to increase, but there is more competition than ever from a growing number of rental properties.  

Making bold and adventurous design choices is one way to keep a competitive edge, Whitney said. She’s already been tapped to design six other Airbnbs across Arizona and North Carolina. 

“I genuinely feel, in the time we’re living, you really have to go above and beyond with those extra steps,” she told Insider. 

Whitney stressed that hosts don’t need to break the bank, but just pick just one room or area to focus on. She broke down her four entry-level tips for going bold with design. 

Everyone can do a muralApartment walls decorated with a checkerboad painting and orange squiggly line paintingWhitney believes the average person can tackle a bold, space-defining mural.

Courtesy of Nathan Mantor Photography

Whitney believes that spaces should include decor that guests want to “share with the world” and snap pictures in. A simple way to catch their attention is with a bold mural, but there’s no need to hire a professional artist. 

“More people can do murals than you think,” said Whitney. 

A do-it-yourself mural can be as simple as a circle. Whitney said all you need is a thumbtack, a pencil, and string. 

Tack the string to the center of the wall and sketch your outline with the pencil. Keep the pencil flush against the wall to get the furthest extension of the string.

From there, choose exciting, contrasting colors for the circle and the rest of the wall. Hang a neon sign in the middle and now you have a signature display for the rental.

Whitney said more adventurous mural artists can buy a small projector, put the image you want to recreate on the wall, and trace it with a pencil. 

“When I see things like that when I’m booking, I see a host that cares,” Whitney tells Insider.

Choose unique furnitureFour chairs designed to look like a human hand in gray, black, and pinkOne of Whitney’s design obsessions has been chairs designed to look like human hands.

Courtesy of Nathan Mantor Photography

Whitney said she likes to invest in unique furniture. A signature design choice for her have been chairs that replicate human hands.

“You never see them in the real world, and it’s a fun escape,” she say. 

She shops for furniture on sites like Wayfair and Amazon, and scours Facebook Marketplace for unique finds.

In other instances, like the gumball machine that she filled with miniature disco balls, she’ll find ways to make existing pieces even more unique. 

Beware of the basic bedroomA bedroom with orange and yellow walls. And a bed with white linens and blue and orange pillows.Whitney strongly believes in choosing white linens to let the rest of the bedroom stand out.

Courtesy of Nathan Mantor Photography

Nothing bothers Whitney more than a basic bedroom.

The bed is another opportunity to wow guests. If hosts already have a simple metal bed frame, Whitney suggested investing in a separate headboard. Choosing something with a bold color and material, like tufted velvet, will pull focus and look exciting. 

“It just speaks for the room,” she says. 

She also likes to play with height and dimension, keeping the bed and nightstand low, but buying tall lamps. The exaggerated contrast injects levity into the space, she says. 

When it comes to the bed itself, Whitney actually believes in keeping it simple with all-white bedding, to prevent competing with the surrounding decor or furnishings. She does, however, like to add colorful throw pillows that tie in with a room’s aesthetic.

Always go with a fun-colored couchOrange and pink squiggly walls. A yellow mustard chair and blue velvet couch.A bold couch color is an easy upgrade, Whitney says.

Courtesy of Nathan Mantor Photography

Among the millions of decisions a host faces, Whitney believes one of the best choices they can make is getting a colored couch

“They’re just really easy to implement, and it automatically means, ‘I’m fun,'” Whitney says. 

Whitney means no disrespect to the white, gray, and black sofas of the world, but she finds a bold couch with a complementary bold rug — in, say, blue and orange hues, respectively — to be a winning combination. 

Read the original article on Business Insider