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Photograph of Alicia Storie sitting on a blue velvet sofa

10 Things to consider when you're designing your bed and breakfast

starting up a bed and breakfast Mar 09, 2022

A couple of weeks ago I recorded a podcast with Alicia Storie, who is the founder of Adesignstorie, an interior design studio specialising in eco B&B renovations.

You can listen to the podcast here  ( or download on Apple, Google, Spotify etc ) podcasts if you missed it >> Podcast with Alicia 

You can find out more about Alicia and her company here >> Adesignstorie website

Alicia has kindly written an accompanying blog post, with the key points to consider when you're designing your bed and breakfast.

10 Things to consider when you're designing your bed and breakfast, written by Alicia Storie of Adesignstorie

Establishing a successful B&B takes time and planning. You have to set yourself achievable goals by establishing who your clientele will be, and does your property lend itself to your plans. You’ll find useful advice and some great ideas on sustainability to help your establishment really stand out by reading our 10 things to consider when you’re designing your B&B.

1 Consider Functionality and User-experience

Your guests will love the fact you’ve made sure every step of their stay is catered for. From the moment guests book their stay to the moment they checkout, mapping a brilliant user-experience is all-important for bnb owners.

Knowing your clientele is also crucial. Once you know your target market, you will recognise exactly who you’ll be welcoming into your B&B and their unique needs. 

Things you might like to consider:

  • The all-important high speed WIFI
  • Providing a workspace for guest
  • Installing well placed reading lights
  • Adding multiple USB ports above bedside tables

When your guests have everything to make their stay pleasant, it guarantees a more enjoyable experience all-round.

2 Think About Layout & Space

When planning your B&B’s layout, I recommend starting by making a list of all the essential furniture items that will be required in the space. Then consider how guests would navigate through your  B&B and map out their potential movements and place furniture accordingly to suit.

This will help to create a super function space with a great flow.

More furniture and decor means more to clean and maintain so don't feel like you need to fill every corner.

Other factor to take into consideration when creating a layout include;

  • Determining purpose and defining zones
  • The best view points
  • Area that get the best natural light 
  • Plug socket locations 

3 Sourcing Good Quality Second-hand Furniture

One of the 10 things to consider when designing your B&B includes how much you spend on refurbishing your property. You don’t have to spend a fortune decorating and furnishing your B&B. You can source quality second-hand furniture and items from many places which include local auctions or online marketplaces. This can bring the cost of setting up a unique look to a space more affordable for bnb owners.

Online sites where you’ll find great second-hand furniture deals includes:

  • Charity shops
  • eBay
  • Gumtree
  • Preloved
  • Vintage Home Stores 

Whether you want to create a modern feel to a space or something more traditional, sourcing quality second-hand furniture is an affordable option. The added bonus is that by investing in second-hand items for your B & B, it helps save our planet thanks to the reduced carbon footprint.

4 Create a Unique Brand

You want your establishment to make a statement while at the same time aligning a space perfectly to the ideal guests. By creating USPs that help you get noticed, you can effectively motivate people to book a reservation even if your rates may be slightly higher than other bnb owners charge.

5 Install Effective and Pleasing Lighting

The lighting should reflect the time of day, general mood and functionality of your space.

To create a cosy ambience I recommend minimising the overhead general lighting and illuminating your space with multiple lamps, wall lights and directional task lighting. This will create a  more efficient lighting scheme with a relaxing atmosphere. 

I also highly recommend switching out all bulbs for LED to reduce the energy use and  significantly reduce the running costs.

6 Introduce Colours to Enhance a Look

The right colour can transform the look and feel of a space. For a calming feel opt for cool tones like blues and greens and for social spaces I suggest warmer tones like pinks and oranges.

If you want to create a space with the most possible impact then try layering warm and cool tones together in a room. This can be in the form of furniture, decor, textiles and paints! 

 Whether you want a contemporary feel or a vintage look to your B&B, there’s a superb choice of colour options and palettes to suit your style.

7 Include Thoughtful Touches

A thoughtful touch here and there can also make all the difference. Things to consider include:

  • A welcoming basket full of local delicacies
  • Quality organic cotton linen and towels
  • A treasure trove of places to visit in a personalised guest guide book
  • Complimentary items such as fairtrade tea and coffee and soaps, even ear plugs if you are situated near a road. 

Your guests will love the fact they are being offered something and could encourage a 5+ star review for your B&B. Something all bnb owners appreciate!

8 Consider Whether Guests Want Long or Short-term Stays

Your B&B design and layout will depend on whether guests stay for a short while or for much longer. With this in mind, you should align your interior design to suit your needs and that of your guests.

You should ask yourself this:

  • Will my guests need laundry facilities, a clothes horse?
  • What about additional kitchen equipment and maybe a hoover?

As a bnb owner, you have to make sure that your guests needs are catered for whether their stays are short, or long.

9 Is Your B&B Child-friendly, Pet-friendly, Is There Wheelchair Access?

When you plan to make a B&B child-friendly, you need to provide your guests with everything they need to make their stay enjoyable. You should consider the following:

  • Providing a travel cot
  • Fitting child-safe, cordless blinds
  • Installing wall mounted TVs
  • Making sure Fireplaces covered up

If you are setting up a pet-friendly establishment, you must lay a couple of ground rules and ensure that everything in the room has the right finish to accommodate pets. This includes providing the following:

  • Water bowl
  • Pet treats
  • Dog bed
  • Durable finishes and furniture

As a bnb owner, you are allowed to say ‘no’ to pets and children. It’s part of understanding the niche you want to be placed in.

You also need to make sure your B&B is accessible for people in wheelchairs by considering the following:

  • Wheelchair ramp
  • Grab rails
  • Wider corridors and turning areas
  • Space to park a wheelchair under a counter
  • Low placement oven
  • A wet room

Whether you decide to make your B&B child and pet-friendly is completely up to you.

10 Keeping Your B&B Sparkling Clean

Your B&B must be kept sparkling clean. This can be made easier when you choose the right furniture, carpets, flooring and window furnishings. Things to consider include:

  • Easy clean and durable furniture
  • Wall mounted toilet
  • Mixed tone, woven textiles that don’t stain easily
  • Easy iron bedding
  • Less décor so there’s less to dust
  • Frameless shower door
  • Larger floor tiles
  • Wall hung sinks

There’s lots to consider when you set up a B&B some of which we covered in this article. Getting it right from the outset is crucial if you want your B&B to stand out as it’s somewhere that creates great memories for your guests. Now you've read our 10 things to consider when designing B&B, you can decorate your holiday home with confidence/ease!

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