Weekly insights for anyone who wants to set up, buy, run and market a successful B&B


I send an email each week with links to the latest blog post, updates on the training courses and other B&B related news.



The top 8 mistakes I made setting up my B&B rooms | Superking size bed with welsh blanket and teddy |  Starting a B&B

The top 8 mistakes I made setting up my B&B rooms

starting up a bed and breakfast Sep 14, 2020

The top 8 mistakes I made setting up my B&B rooms

I've also recorded this episode as a podcast, which you listen to here >> Listen to the Podcast

I’ve set up 4 B&B rooms in the 16 years I’ve been running a B&B. And I'm not too proud to admit that I’ve made a fair number of mistakes along the way. 

Some of these mistakes have cost me time - an awful lot of time over the years - and others have cost me money.

Hopefully by sharing my mistakes it will help you avoid the same mistakes, save you money and time when setting up your own B&B!


Just a note to say, that whilst some of the things I've done were wrong for my B&B, they may be exactly the right thing for your B&B. It's up to you to assess your potential market and decide.

If you want to find out more about whether Running a Bed and Breakfast is for you. Check out this blog post here.

Mistake 1 - Getting Zip and Link Beds

When I first set up the B&B, I didn’t really know who my B&B guests would be, so I bought zip and link beds. The advantage with them is that they give you the flexibility to make the room up either as a large double or a twin.

However, whilst I've had a few requests for twin beds, I could easily fill my room with people wanting the super king size bed. Twin beds are really not right for my market - who I now know are all couples, in a romantic relationship, wanting to come away for a bit of rest and relaxation.

Zip and Link Beds do come with several disadvantages:

  • You need twice as much bed linen and both single and super king size duvets. Remember that you'll need to buy both summer and winter weight duvets. And if you decide to go down the feather duvet route, you'll need to have microfibre as well for people with allergies. There's the initial cost of buying all of that bedding, replacing it when it wears out and laundering it. But one of the bigger issues is where you're going to store it all
  • The beds I bought had  a basic, ugly divan base, that needed to be covered. I used a valance for years, which I really disliked. It was in my dog friendly room and used to get covered in dog hair and needed cleaning frequently. I recently bought some cheap upholstery material (compliant with fire regulations of course) and covered the base with that and it’s made a big difference!
  • I run the B&B on my own and it was always a struggle separating and putting the beds back together, adding about 45 minutes to a clean.
  • Getting headboards that work when the beds are both separate and linked can be a challenge. I bought some square headboards which were upholstered in a chenille material - got dirty easily and showed grease marks. I’d recommend having a long wooden headboard attached to the wall as an alternative.

I'm not saying zip and link beds are wrong for your B&B. They may be perfect for your guest. They just didn't work for me. It's why it's really important to know who your customers will be and to work out if it's worth your while investing in zip and link beds. 

Find out more about how to choose the right beds for your B&B here >> HOW TO BUY THE BEST BEDS FOR YOUR B&B

I cover doing your research and identifying who your guests will be  in Module 2 of the THE COMPLETE COURSE ON HOW TO SET UP, RUN AND MARKET A B&B

Mistake #2 - Buying a brass bed with a foot board

I wanted a country feel in one of ours rooms when I remodelled it, so I bought a 6 foot wide brass bed from Marks and Spencers. It looked very smart, however a lot of tall people have told me over the years, that they don’t like having a foot board as they can’t stretch out. 

The bed itself has always been very squeaky, which can disturb guests if they move around a lot in their sleep or are otherwise engaged...

Mistake #3 - Black out curtains

We don’t have curtains in our own bedroom as we like to wake up to our wonderful view. We also tend not to close curtains when we’re staying away anywhere. So when I set up our B&B rooms, I didn’t even think about the need for black out curtains.

The curtains we have in the guest rooms do let in a lot of light and some people can’t sleep in a room if it isn’t pitch black.

We do provide a sleep set from Out of Eden, which includes a mask and ear plugs. However if I was buying new curtains, I would definitely buy ones that are black out and thermal lined.

Mistake #4 - Wooden Blinds

We put  these rather nice shutter style blinds in all of our room. They are quite wide and look more like new England style shutters than a traditional wooden blind.

They are needed in our downstairs room. If a room is overlooked, guests need some sort of window covering that will allow in the light, whilst giving them privacy.

However, they do get very dusty and take time to clean, which has to be done with each room clean.


Mistake #5 - Shower over bath

In our smallest room, we didn’t have a lot of space for the bathroom, so we put in a bath with a shower over it. I’m a huge bath fan, so couldn’t imagine a bathroom without a shower.

However in my experience the majority of people still take a shower, even when they have the bath option.

A lot of older people or those with mobility issues can struggle with an over bath shower.

If I were doing the bathroom again, I would just have a bathroom with a large walk in shower.  


When you set up a B&B, you're required to make reasonable adjustments to make it as accessible as possible. When considering what is reasonable, you need to take both the constraints of your building and your budget into account. 

If you do decide to have a bath with shower over, then make sure you have a grab rail to make it safer for people to get in and out of the bath. And supply non slip bath mats. 

Mistake #6 - Unnecessary design features

We had our 2 outside rooms built from scratch in a new annex. Our builder suggested we had an exposed brick base, about a foot high, at the bottom of the wall. On top of this he put a small wooden ledge. This runs all round our very large room.

I should probably calculate all of the extra time I’ve spent having to clean it sometime - just for fun! This small wooden ledge is a dust trap and needs to be dusted with every room clean. It’s also behind furniture, which has to be moved.

Listen to this podcast with Alicia Stories to discover the 10 ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF BED AND BREAKFAST DESIGN

Mistake #7 - Choose your furniture carefully

I bought a furniture set from Oak furniture land for our downstairs Barn Room. It’s all good quality solid oak and came with interest free credit, which was a bonus at that time!

However the set I got has this little ledge underneath the top of each piece - the wardrobe, dressing table, bedside tables and chest of drawers.

This is another dust magnet and adds extra dusting time to each room clean.

All the furniture also has a lot of drawers - some of them are unnecessary, such as 3 drawers in the dressing table and one small drawer at the bottom wardrobe.

At each clean,  these have to be opened and checked. So my advice would be to think about how many drawers guests actually need and make sure you don’t buy furniture with unnecessary ones!

Mistake #8 - Spotlights

When we were setting up the B&B. we had someone design the lighting in our room and we put in some rather nice spotlights. Unfortunately they have a transformer built into the ceiling and this has gone faulty on a couple of the lights. The only way to fix it is to cut into the ceiling, replace the transformer and then re-plaster and redecorate!

The added complication in our room is that we had a false ceiling in to remedy sound proofing issues that we had, so cutting into the ceiling will cause us problems there.

And finally...

Well that’s just a few of the things I did wrong. Some of them have just cost me time in terms of extra cleaning. Others have cost me money.

 In the online course I’ve included a room design checklist, covering all the things you need to consider when putting a room together. The aim of which is to stop you making the same mistakes I’ve made and save you both money and time!

I can't guarantee it but there's probably at least one tip in the course that will pay back the cost of the course for you!

Any questions let me know!

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news & updates from B&B Academy
Don't worry, your information will not be shared 

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason. You can unsubscribe at any time