How We Renovated an Airbnb Cottage – part one

front of white cottage with green door white metal urn with large pumpkin on top of urn jute wreath hanging on door

I’m so excited to finally show you the process of our little cottage makeover! As some of you may know, we purchased a home in June 2021 to turn into an Airbnb rental. We spent 3 months working on this project and now I want to show you how we renovated an Airbnb cottage.

I want to be sure and give details about the project as well as each space, so I am breaking this down into 4 parts. I’ll be sharing the process over the next 2 weeks. Be sure and check back to see the entire home. I think you’re going to like it.

Today, I’m sharing the front/exterior of the home and the living area.

airbnb cottage exterior – before

front of dated red brick home from street view dark brown front door no landscaping large tree in front of house white trim and columns

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This was a very dated red brick home!

The front door was painted a dark chocolate brown and basically this home had very little character on the outside.

The foundation was repaired right before we purchased the home. There were huge areas on the front porch where they had patched the concrete after the repairs.

There was no landscaping in the front, only empty flower beds.

However, from the minute I saw this place, I could see the potential. I imagined what this little house could be with a little TLC and some cute furnishings.

We did a few renovations to the inside, that I will share as we go room to room in the next few posts.

airbnb cottage exterior – after

As far as the exterior of the home goes, we powerwashed the brick and painted it white. We used Behr paint from Home Depot and I chose Alabaster for the color. The color is actually a Sherwin Williams paint color, and I had it mixed at Home Depot.

We bought 2-5 gallons buckets of paint to cover this home. It took most, but not quite all, to finish the house.

Next, we painted the front porch with Porch Paint from Home Depot. I used a light taupe color for the porch floor.

I painted the front door a super fun green color called Herb Cornucopia, also from Home Depot and we added new black metal house numbers.

My husband made shutters out of 1″x6″ cedar planks. It made such a huge difference to the front of the house!

porch decor

For the decor, I used 2 large sisal rugs that a friend was getting rid off, and sold to me for $20. They were a bit too large, but I just folded them under on the side against the wall.

2 white rockers on front porch of white painted brick house with cedar shutters

On one side of the porch I added 2 rocking chairs. One was purchased at a barn sale for $25, and my husband sprayed it white with the paint sprayer while we were painting the house. The other rocker, was purchased at an estate sale for $40 and was already white. I added cushions I had on some outdoor furniture at my house and the lumbar pillows were a thrift store find for $15 for the pair.

front porch of white painted brick house white table with a small white chair on either side on jute rug plant on table cedar shutters behind

On the other side of the porch, I added an old table I have had in our garage for years. It was old, rustic and not a great color wood. So, I painted it white, and added 2 small white folding chairs I bought at an antique store for $15 each. A plant I brought over from my house was the finishing touch.

front of white cottage with green door white metal urn with large pumpkin on top of urn jute wreath hanging on door

I hung a jute wreath (that I had at my own house for years) on the cute green door and placed large urns that I bought at Canton Trade Days for $20 each on each side of the front door. Since it’s Fall, I bought 2 huge Cinderella pumpkins to top off the urns to “fallify” the front porch.

didn’t she turn out so cute?

exterior of front of white painted brick cottage with green front door with jute wreath 2 white rockers white table and 2 white chairs 2 white urns with large pumpkins on top

living room of the airbnb cottage – before

The living and dining room in this home had original hardwood floors. We left the floors in those 2 rooms and replaced all the rest.

All of the inside of the house was painted a dingy tan color.

airbnb cottage living room – after

I really wanted this home to be a bright and airy space, so I painted all of the inside a bright white. The color I chose was Sherwin Williams Snowdrift, but I used Behr paint from Home Depot.

All of the living room furniture is slipcovered and I purchased the sofa and 2 chairs from a friend for $350. I was able to find a replacement slipcover for all 3 pieces on Facebook Marketplace for $75 total. Since this is a rental, I need to be able to quickly change them out, when they need to be laundered.

Two of the sofa pillows were thrifted, 2 of them are IKEA and the check one in the center I had my seamstress make out of a fabric remnant I had.

white slipcovered sofa with vintage tobacco basket on wall white curtain panels light wood coffee table large square woven basket on coffee table with magazines and a white urn with dried flowers light tan area rug

One of my favorite things in this room is the vintage tobacco basket. I found this beside the trash pile behind a local thrift store. They thought I was nuts when I asked if I could buy it, so they just gave it to me.

I think it was the perfect statement piece behind the sofa.

The window treatments are IKEA curtain panels I found at a thrift store. They were $4.98 for the pair. They are so wide, that I had my seamstress cut them in half, so I was able to dress 2 windows with 1 pair of panels.

I needed one more set, so I ordered a new set from IKEA for about $25, and had the same thing done to them, so it finished off the living room and also made a set for the dining room.

I bought new curtain rods from Walmart.

living room with 2 white slipcovered chairs white slipcovered sofa light wood coffee table light tan rug large wicker basket on coffee table with urn of flowers

so many thrifted finds here

The large rug in the living room was a thrifted find for $20, and I actually used the wrong side of the rug. It was a carpet type rug that I didn’t really like, but the underneath looks like linen, and I loved it.

The large end table was a curbside find from one of my neighbors. It was painted dark gray and had a dark brown leather top. I painted it white and distressed it just a little.

small wood side table with lamp and coaster beside white chair

The small side table between the chairs I found at an antique store for $45, and left it just like it was.

The 2 side table lamps were thrift store finds for $5.99 each. I painted both of them and added a shade. One shade was thrifted for a few dollars and the woven shade I bought new.

The TV cabinet is actually a cedar chest, and I bought it from my neighborhood garage sale for $30. It’s missing the front of the bottom drawer, and I tried to find something to cover it, but was unsuccessful. And honestly, it really doesn’t bother me.

white dresser with TV sitting on top and a live branch hanging from the ceiling overhead

I didn’t like that the TV corner was such a focal point when you walk into the room and your eye goes straight the the big “black box”. I hung a branch from my yard over the TV, to somewhat distact from it. It is hung from ceiling hooks and fishing line.

coffee table makeover

And lastly, the coffee table was also bought at Canton Trade Days, for $40. The top was really stained with some type of oil and the legs were stained really dark. After lots of sanding and applying a coat of joint compound all over the top, and sanding down again, I was able to somewhat lighten the top.

large square woven basket on top of coffee table with cigar box magazines white urn with dried flowers

I added this large square basket to cover some of the dark spots that are still visible, and I painted the legs a light gray.

The cigar box hides the TV remotes and dried flowers from my yard fill a vintage urn that I bought from a friend.

exterior of front of white painted brick cottage with green front door with jute wreath 2 white rockers white table and 2 white chairs 2 white urns with large pumpkins on top

For the front porch decor, the only thing purchased new was the 2 pumpkins and the house numbers.

As for the living room, the only things purchased new were 2 IKEA pillows, 1 set IKEA curtain panels, 1 lampshade, the curtain rods and a TV.

It is absolutely possible to have a beautiful home with mostly thrifted finds! You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a warm and inviting space.

I hope you have enjoyed the first tour of the 807 Cottage and check back on Thursday for a continuation of the tour.

Please feel free to comment or message me if you have questions. I love hearing from you!!


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If you enjoyed this post, you might also like this thrifted finds home tour

large barn doors inside living room with wood ceiling beams dark wood floors white sofa

36 thoughts on “How We Renovated an Airbnb Cottage – part one

    1. Th cottage is cute. You’ve done a great job rounding up all the thrifted items, no small task.
      You might look for a wide basket, or 2 smaller ones, that would fit in the bottom space of the tv cabinet. The wicker would then carry over from the coffee table to the other side of the room.
      Eager to see more of your project.

      1. Yes, great ideas! A basket is exactly what I wanted, but so far I haven’t found any that will fit. Still looking though.

  1. Michele it looks absolutely amazing! I love your vision for seeing the possibilities of the house, all the way to each careful selected and repurposed piece! Awesome job and I cannot wait to see the rest!

  2. It’s so cute! Lovely transformation! May I ask, what did you place in the outdoor urns that the pumpkins are sitting on. Looks like corn husks?

    1. Yes, I had some corn husks that I picked up in a corn field a few years ago, so I layed them around the edge of the urn and sat the pumpkins on top.

  3. what a wonderful vision you had to decorate this sweet home…. and the ability to search out bargains and curbside discards….. i hope your cottage is filled with happy guests for years to come!!

  4. Just beautiful. A folded quilt would fit perfectly on the empty ‘shelf’ of the tv stand and create another focal interest away from the tv. Thanks for sharing!

    1. No, it’s in downtown Royse City. We just finished it a few weeks ago and we have another one here in Rockwall.

  5. Your rental cottage is absolutely wonderful!!!!!!! i love how you use thrifted finds to create unique spaces in your home away from home:)
    I’m sure your guests will keep coming back year after year!!!!!

  6. What an incredible transformation and done on a budget. Most people would be happy with this as their home.
    You are very talented 🙂

  7. Michele, that front porch is so pretty! Painting the whole exterior really lightened it up. The wood tones are perfect!! Pinned and sharing this post this Saturday in my All Things Vintage round-up!

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