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Kitchen Essentials - the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

After a long day of travel, there is nothing better than arriving at your cozy Airbnb and starting your vacation. Conversely, there is little worse than arriving at an Airbnb to find they don’t have a spatula, or a mixing bowl, and conveniently only have 2 forks.

We cannot stress the importance of having a well-stocked kitchen when furnishing an Airbnb. Although it does increase the cost of furnishing an Airbnb, it will pay for itself over the years as guests leave good reviews, which in turn increases your ability to book the property.

As long-time Airbnb guests ourselves, we have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Our experiences have given us the opportunity to reflect on what is important, and what will help our clients achieve a higher status. Here are 12 keys to guarantee your Kitchen is ready for your first guests!

1. Melamine dishware: We cannot recommend melamine enough. It is highly durable, microwave and dishwasher safe, and basically indestructible. We always provide melamine place settings in addition to ceramic, so that the guests have a choice. If they are cooking a fancier dinner, they have the option for the nicer stuff. We have found our favorite melamine set at Target, for $.50 - $.75 cents per item! This price is simply unmatched for the quality you receive. Here are the links to our favorite melamine set from Target, although any will do!

2. Dish towels galore: Although it adds expense to your Airbnb furnishing list and budget, we highly recommend having at least 6-8 dish towels. People tend to let loose and relax at Airbnbs (as they should), which means they are more prone to accidents, spills and laziness. We have found that we cycle through dish towels quite frequently at short term rentals. In addition, it may be nice to have a backstock in the owners closet.

3. Quality knife set and cutting boards: If you have an Airbnb that is more remote or further from nightlife, chances are your guests are going to be spending a lot of time cooking in your Airbnb kitchen. If you have dull knives or a lack of knives, you will likely hear about this in the reviews. Additionally, guests don’t care for the property the way they care for their own home. Having several cutting boards at their disposal reduces the risk of them using your dishware or countertop directly.

We really love this knife set from Amazon:

We have found that the quality cannot be matched for the price! While we have a few core items on our list, we are always on the hunt for great steals and deals so please message us if you have other great options!

4. Fire extinguisher: While we hope a live fire would never occur in our short term rental properties, it is better to be safe than sorry. Having at least one fire extinguisher in the home can avoid losing the entire property, and maintain safety regulations for clients in case of an emergency.

5. Plastic barware: As we previously mentioned, guests are often more relaxed and having fun at an Airbnb. We highly recommend turning to plastic barware when furnishing your short term rental, especially if it is located in an area with walking-distance bars and restaurants. Not only is barware recommended for every Airbnb, but we recommend something durable to withstand rowdy guests. After replacing wine glasses at several Airbnbs over the years, we have learned our lesson! One pro tip: there are several plastic barware items on the market that are not dishwasher safe and will melt, so be sure to read the fine print before purchasing.

6. Food essentials: When grocery shopping for an Airbnb, I can’t tell you the amount of times guests will forget the essentials – salt, pepper, olive oil, sugar, garlic powder, etc. This could result in a second trip to the store if you aren’t stocking them. Alternatively, we have found that being proactive and providing the little extras for clients can often lead to a 5 star review.

7. More silverware than you could ever imagine: I don’t know what guests do with forks and knives, but we find them disappearing so often! One time, we had a bachelorette party of 12 staying at an Airbnb that had 3 forks. We took turns eating and got very creative with our spoon skills. I find that on average, you will need to replace silverware every 1-2 years. For this reason, we recommend purchasing 2x as much as you would think. If your home welcomes 6 guests, we recommend 18-24 sets. Check out this cheap set we regularly purchase for our Airbnbs on Amazon:

8. Can opener, garlic press, lemon juicer etc: These are optional, but we think the more tools a guest has access to, the better! You can often find cheap options at HomeGoods or At Home for a few bucks a pop, so spend the extra $$ to receive extra guest appreciation!

9. Bottle opener and wine opener: You’ll want to ensure that you have a bottle opener and wine opener at every property – not only for guest reviews, but to also ensure there aren’t any countertops/tables/windowsills sacrificed for the cause. If there are two dedicated areas/fridges, I would even recommend having one in each location!

10. Two glasses for every person in the house: I don’t know about you, but I personally have 1-2 water glasses around my house at all times. People’s habits often follow them on vacation. We recommend having 2 glasses for every possible guest, at a minimum, so clients aren’t forced to empty their water cup for their morning OJ. One thing we don’t recommend are expensive tumblers or water bottles. These are often the first to go when guests have stickier fingers.

11. Keurig and a few K-Cups: There is a big debate in the short term rental furnishing world about Keurigs vs traditional drip coffee machines. We believe the Keurig reigns supreme, simply because of the ease and convenience for each guest. In addition, maintenance and cleaning of a Keurig is significantly lower and less time intensive than a traditional drip coffee machine. You can also leave a few K-Cups for each stay, and ensure that they are clean, unused and ready for the guest. With drip coffee, pre-packaged amounts can differ greatly on the quality and the cost. If you have a short term rental capable of hosting over 10 guests, it could be useful to invest in both.

12. Décor: Often, our ‘wet’ areas of the houses are overlooked for decoration. We highly recommend you spend some time developing a theme for the kitchen, and incorporate some design features into the room. This makes it feel homier and more welcoming. Even a wallpaper accent wall can go a long way!

Overall, we highly believe a well-stocked kitchen can be the difference between a 4 star and 5 star rating. While we want to be cost-conscious and as efficient as possible, we also want to build our property for lasting success. Hopefully these tips will help you on your Airbnb furnishing journey!

If you’re interested in learning more about the services we provide so you don’t have to complete this difficult task yourself, please visit our services page to learn more! We’d love to help! In addition, check out our Airbnb furnishing list for a comprehensive list of items you need!

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