How to Make the Perfect Airbnb Bed

It’s official. We have found the perfect Airbnb bed. On Sunday, we checked into a luxurious Airbnb with a bed so captivating, so meticulously assembled, that it triggered this series of reactions: a) we had an immediate desire to leap onto the bed in an outreached belly flop like we were in a hotel commercial (we managed to refrain for the sake of the photos); b) we circled the bed running our fingers over every layer of soft, inviting fabric; c) after each fabulous night’s sleep, we’ve carefully made the bed as soon as we’re upright so that whenever we pass the bedroom during the day we can appreciate its full beauty; and d) we’ve documented the entire set up in this blog post as an act of admiration and preservation.

It’s official. We have found the perfect Airbnb bed. On Sunday, we checked into a luxurious Airbnb with a bed so captivating, so meticulously assembled, that it triggered this series of reactions.

We’ve deconstructed each piece of this Airbnb bed puzzle (with corresponding affiliate links below), explained what we loved most as guests, and included all the bonus bed-making tips we’ve picked up firsthand during our own travels. After nearly a year of sleep on the road, we present this step-by-step guide on how to make the perfect Airbnb bed.

gold lamp and teal night stand
throw pillows in front a full length mirror

The Furniture

Let’s start with the foundation. Here is each piece of furniture you’ll need to create the ideal structure for your Airbnb bed.

The bed frame should provide a rock solid foundation for your Airbnb bed. No squeaks, shakes, or rattles. A sturdy, quiet bed frame from isn’t just about sex; it’s also about your guests not waking up each time they (or their partner) rolls over during the night. Double check that the frame and other nearby furniture or walls have a bit of breathing room between them. And while your box spring and mattress set might be just as comfortable on the floor as they are elevated, a bed frame is a must in our book. A box spring sitting directly on the ground has a way of undermining the other elements of the bed that are done beautifully.

Bonus Tip

Prevent stubbed toes and subsequent cursing by adding adhesive padding to the ends of any sharp metal frames. And if your Airbnb bed has a footboard, be sure to expose it. Stealth footboards hidden under fluffy bedding are usually discovered with a bruise.

We love 1 Chic Retreat’s interior design analogy of the bed as a throne, and we completely agree that a headboard is a key essential. Like a frame around a piece of art, a headboard makes any Airbnb bed feel complete. Not only is it visually pleasing, it’s a practical piece for any guest who likes to prop up with a good book (on in Jay’s case, a bit of Reddit browsing) before bed. We loved how this headboard’s studded border accentuated the other metallic accents throughout the room.

Bonus Tip

If you opt for a fabric headboard, take extra care to keep it clean. Any stains, funky smells, or extraneous hairs, and suddenly the headboard becomes a warning to guests that the rest of the bed might not be as clean as they’d hoped.

When it comes to the mattress, err on the side of too firm instead of too soft. Squishy mattresses raise questions about how old they are, and that’s not exactly what you want your guests thinking about as they try to drift off. Also, if the mattress you’re setting up for your guests isn’t new, ensure that the middle is still just as firm as the edges. If you’ve got a taco situation emerging, it’s time to invest in a new mattress. Finally, keep in mind that foam mattresses often retain a bit more heat than springs, and might require a different box spring set up.

Bonus Tip

If you’re considering investing in a new mattress for your Airbnb bed, check out the online comparison tool, Sleep Like The Dead. It aggregates hundreds of thousands of customer reviews, and could serve as a great proxy for what your guests might think about the different mattresses you’re considering.

The nightstands are a great place to add a punch of color and a bit of personality. We loved how effortlessly these beaded nightstands matched the color scheme, and provided yet another layer of texture to the bed area. Our host even added a few hospitable touches, setting an adorable clock on one night stand and a little tray for rings and glasses with a lens wipe on the other. Then she guided an extension cord out for a convenient phone charging spot since there wasn’t an obvious plug nearby. Talk about attention to detail.

Bonus Tip

If the tops of your nightstand are made of wood, set your guests up for success and place a coaster on each one to avoid rings.

If you thought you didn’t have room for reading lights, think again! These wall mounted lamps are fabulous space savers, super adjustable, and (here’s our favorite touch) they have a dimmer switch. Guests can control the exact amount of light they want as they wind down down in the evening.

Bonus Tip

Couples don’t always fall asleep at the same time. (We rarely do.) Make sure each side of the bed has easy access to its own lamp.

little tray for rings and glasses
metallic alarm clock
teal quilt

The Fabric

Let’s start at the bottom and work our way up. As you build out your Airbnb bed, remember that it’s all about light layers. This creates flexibility for your guests and makes washing each piece easy for you.

More than anywhere else in your Airbnb, guests go barefoot in the area surrounding the bed the most. If you don’t have carpet in the bedroom, consider adding an area rug under the bed to create a soft path.

Bonus Tip

If you just enough room or budget for two small rugs on either side of the bed, add a small grippy pad under each to keep them from sliding around. You want your guests’ feet to land on them each time they step out of the bed.

Before a single guest sleeps on your Airbnb bed, get a top notch mattress cover on it. It’s key for bed bug prevention, and a great way to protect the overall integrity of your bed.

Bonus Tip

Mattress covers can give out. As you make the bed between guests, get in the habit of checking the mattress cover for any new holes or tears.

An essential for visual completeness, the bedskirt hides the frame and makes the whole bed look soft. Just be sure to clean these regularly. Bedskirts tend to double as hair and dirt magnets.

Bonus Tip

If you store extra bedding or hosting odds and ends in the bedroom, utilize a few flat plastic bins under the bed. They’re airtight for cleanliness and will clear out dresser drawers or closet space for guests to use when they unpack.

There’s just one goal here: soft soft soft. This Airbnb had these super smooth (and reasonably priced!) sheets. Also, if there’s one layer to wash with real liquid, delicious smelling fabric softener, this is it. That extra rinse cycle won’t go unnoticed.

Bonus Tip

Unless your Airbnb is a Colorado cabin and it happens to be winter, avoid flannel sheets. Flannel (and silk, for that matter) gets too hot too quickly, and leave guests uncomfortable and kicking off the covers half way through the night.

We recommend four pillows for sleeping: two firm, two soft, which one of each on either side of the bed. If the pillows are washable, add regular cleanings into your hosting routine. And if they’re not, let this rule of thumb guide you: replace your pillows before you’d be embarrassed to watch your guests strip the linens themselves.

Bonus Tip

Cover each pillow with two pillow cases, alternating the direction, so that neither end of the pillow gets exposed at night. This will also minimize stains and extend the life of your pillow.

The reason we recommend a duvet is to achieve that fluffy, hotel feel, with a cover that’s easy to wash. Opt for a light layer here when it comes to the insert, and be sure to wash the outside between each stay. Folks flop around at night, and you should assume when a guest checks out that they’ve slept on every layer of the bedding.

Bonus Tip

Whether it’s the duvet or the sheets, add a significant piece of fabric to your bed that’s stark white. It will immediately puts guests at ease. A quick glance and they can see just how clean your Airbnb bed is.

Finally, this beautiful quilt. There are two reasons we love to find a quilt as the top layer of the bedding. First, quilts are warm in the winter, light in the summer. And a full-sized cover like this is a great alternative to the duvet if guests get too hot and want to swap it out for just the top sheet and the quilt. But more importantly, the main reason we love the quilt approach is that it’s emblematic of home. Quilts are nowhere to be found in hotels, but they’re a staple in the homes of our friends and family.

Bonus Tip

Pick out your quilt before you buy the rest of your Airbnb bedding. It will usually provides the color palette that will guide your duvet, sheets, and decorative pillow purchases. (If there are matching pillow cases, grab them too. You’ll see why below.)

throw pillows and a gold lamp
bed with fitted top sheet
duvet on a bed
top down shot of beautiful bed

The Presentation

Your furniture is in place, your fabrics are all washed. Now it’s time to make the bed. Here are four steps to create gleeful guest reactions.

Start with the fitted sheet, and get it nice and snug. It should look like a quarter could bounce right off it. Then center the top sheet and strive for military corners. Tuck the ends underneath the mattress at the foot of the bed to prevent any excess fabric from hanging out. Then fold the top sheet back to expose the first six to eight inches of the fitted sheet before tucking that folded layer underneath the mattress to create a clean, tight line.

Bonus Tip

As you make the bed, show each layer of fabric, from the fitted sheet up. This creates ease for your guests who can easily see that all of the layers of the bed are clean and inviting the moment they enter the room.

With the sheets in place, it’s time to fluff up each remaining layer, especially the duvet and the pillows. First, arrange the duvet, and then drape the quilt over the bottom half of the bed without punching down the fluffy height you’ve built up beneath. The duvet should still peak out below the quilt at the foot of the bed. It’s all about layering different textures to create visual depth.

Bonus Tip

If you fold the quilt in thirds (instead of in half) and place the edge of the quilt facing the headboard, when your guests crawl into bed and pull the quilt up, they’ll see the quilt’s full pattern instead of its reverse side.

With the quilt in place at the end of the bed, fold back the top of the duvet to expose the fitted sheet and tucked top sheet. This will create the space for your pillows.

Bonus Tip

You can also fold back just one corner of the duvet along with the top sheet to create a small, inviting gesture that the bed is ready for them to slide on in.

In our opinion, the foolproof throw pillow approach means three pillows. Two firm normal sized pillows with coverings that match the quilt, and one small throw pillow in the very center to create balance. A decorative throw also adds a final touch of texture and an additional layer for the guest who tends to get cold at night. Just like the quilt, these types of decorative touches are reminiscent of home. Let your personality shine through here. We loved this white furry pillow which added a funky, personalized flair that we’d never find in a hotel.

Bonus Tip

These three decorative pillows will get kicked to the curb when it’s time to sleep. Provide your guests an obvious place to set them so they don’t end up spending each night on the floor.

bed with teal quilt and sand colored throw blanket

Happy Hosting!

Now who wouldn’t want to sleep in that bed? Like we say in our complete bedroom checklist, every guest you welcome into your home will use the bed, even if they overlook the kitchen and never hang out in the living room. If there’s one place to spend a bit more time designing up front and preparing between guests, the bed is definitely it. We’d love to hear from you! Guests: what helps you sleep well at night when you’re on the road? Hosts: what are your Airbnb bed making secrets? Tell us in the comments below, and until next time, happy hosting!

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