A Designer of 20 Airbnbs Shares 4 Key Things Many New Hosts Forget
- Jody Carmichael is a baker turned interior designer in the seaside town of Wilmington, North Carolina.
- Carmichael, who started decorating his own Airbnb condo, has upgraded 20 vacation rentals.
- She’s broken down four secrets to a five-star listing, from window treatments to pillow selection.
Jody Carmichael, a decorator in North Carolina, owned a bakery. Now she adds flourishes to salons instead of making wedding cakes.
Carmichael has designed and furnished nearly 20 Airbnbs for guests in his hometown of Wilmington, North Carolina, a seaside retreat 90 minutes north of Myrtle Beach.
There are 1,500 short-term rentals in the Wilmington area, up from 1,100 at the same time last year, according to industry data firm AirDNA. The influx of Airbnb hosts isn’t limited to Wilmington: Available listings hit a record 1.5 million this year, according to AirDNA.
Carmichael, 41, said she wanted to warn the flood of first-time hosts across the country about common oversights and decorating mistakes.
Her experience with Airbnbs began in 2017, when she remodeled a condo she and her husband had purchased while renovating their home. After moving into their house, they listed it on the short-term rental platform.
Carmichael previously worked as an interior designer with Ethan Allen for five years. She approached the design of Airbnbs like any other home, unlike the purely economic approach she had seen other hosts take.
Instead of finding the cheapest products, she searched for a quality mattress and high-end bedding. This is the great principle that always guides his projects.
“I really try to create a space that I want to live in,” she told Insider. “Everything is something I would feel comfortable in myself.”
It’s been a slow summer for many Airbnb hosts: Booking rates have fallen from all-time highs, and short-term rental market analysts predict hosts will face a more competitive landscape.
Investing in good design helps short-term rentals weather downturns and off-seasons, Carmichael said. When prices are reduced everywhere, she added, the nicer units stand out.
Carmichael shared his four keys to a well-designed unit.