5 simple interior design tips to light up your Airbnb on a tight budget in Malaysia 

5 simple interior design tips for Airbnb on a budget in Malaysia


There are more than a few reasons that travellers all over the world choose Airbnb over hotels. Low cost, convenient locations and household amenities are just to name a few. However, our experience tells us the biggest factor is the interior design of the apartment. Even if the apartment is in a poor location, beautiful interior design can help generate outstanding returns.

Here are some tips you can upgrade your house to an outstanding Airbnb listing on a tight budget in Malaysia.

A unique interior design style to be different is good

We have tested all sorts of style and our best units that move are those which play with cool colours and have a design flair. It can be achieved with a funky yellow chair, huge carpets or a quick repaint of the walls to create a feature presence. Also, some feature lights would light up your house, and make the guest staying in feel more bright and cosy.

One of the most clicked on posts in Airbnb Malaysia

Decorating your place with interesting art, furniture and bedding would make the unit a memorable homey feel to the guest. Built-ins can be sourced from Recommend, while larger furniture can be found at local furniture stores, or simply IKEA. Avoid picking common furniture that is easily recognisable as IKEA though – it gives the impression that little thought has been put into the interior design.

Interior design that works in Malaysia
Panorama – the marble looking wallpaper makes the living room appear expensive. Click here to book

One of the best ways to set the mood and atmosphere of your space is with ambient lighting. This light makes the space warm and welcoming even if you are not there. By ambient lighting, we mean not overhead or harsh lights that cause shadows. Lighting should be soft white, not bright blue or fluorescent.


A complete kitchen would help

Airbnb is consistently chosen over hotels because of the convenience. That includes having a kitchen and utensils. Guests staying would be grateful to have some pots, pans and cutleries to cook themselves. Therefore, make sure you prepare some of them and would be even more convenient with some oil, salt or sugar.

Being on a stricter budget than hotel travellers, the kitchen is an essential appeal which cannot be ignored. 

The Establishment - Airbnb vacation rental management
Pots and pans in our Airbnb at The Establishment
Binjai Residency - Interior Design done right
Binjai Residency (click here to book) – attractive photography and beautiful interiors help to generate around RM15,000 a month

Have extra of everything – also extra 1 or 2 beds

Because sometimes, one set of towels is not enough. As some guest may have long stays, therefore, a set of towels would not be enough for them. Even though our units have housekeepers who can also deliver to guest during their stays, but in the case, you just have yourself in the business, make sure to have extra in the storage of the unit. Some extra amounts of items like light bulbs, extra bath towels, pillows, toilet paper, boxes of tissue, so they don’t run out during their stay. This would be handy for everyone.

Why extra bed? One of the top performing Airbnb in Malaysia can always “squeeze” more than it could. As said before, some guests just want to have a one-night-cooking with their friends, and no one wants to be left out, so extra beds or foldable mattresses would be handy. As in Plush, we charge RM30 extra per head per night and most of our customers happy to pay a little extra.


Little touch goes a long way

Shampoo, conditioner and shower gel

Shampoo, conditioner and shower gel are heavy to carry when you travel. And we, as a guest, all love accommodations that prepare free shampoo, conditioner and shower gel, so why not put these into your unit. Dishwasher or detergent are also appreciated, these are things that you would use little of as a short term guest. We have found that guests also ask beforehand and value having a washing machine so they can travel light carry-on.


Detergent and dishwasher for short-term stays

We have always checked if our unit has enough shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, detergent, dishwasher and handwash before any check-in, as some guest may use up after their stays. But you can also leave some in one of the drawers in the kitchen just in case you wouldn’t be free all the time to deliver to guest during their stay.


Iron, iron board and a hairdryer

We also put an iron, iron board and a hairdryer. This may sound a bit strange, but A hair dryer & iron are inexpensive and having them in your property illustrate that you have thought of the little things, that just may save the day for a guest.  Many guests are visiting the area for a wedding or other formal event and an iron will help de-wrinkle their clothes from their suitcase.

Some feature items may up level the unit

Who doesn’t like a coffee machine? As we love making our own coffee, we put one machine into the unit for our guests. The guest would be even more grateful if you put a little note beside the machine on how to operate it, or can also be sent in the Airbnb message like us do. 


A coffee machine set up in The Mews 


Some decorative pillows will upgrade the unit immediately. Pillows are cool and fun for both kids and adults, also great comfy and cosy feeling for everyone

Colourful pillows brighter the room 

“Mirrors are like art in that the style should coincide with other pieces in your home” designer Amy Bubier says. Aside from being an interesting addition to a blank space in a room, mirrors also have many benefits for the room and its occupants as well. The mirror can “double the place”. This is because mirrors reflect light and once it bounces, it gives the illusion of a much bigger space, without actually moving the walls further.

Decorative mirror in Mercu Summer Suites – SS#6

Mirrors can also increase the brightness of a room, because of its property to let the light bounce in all corners of the room. Use large mirrors or mirrors with decorative frames to attract the eye by placing them on the most visually prominent walls or tables, or on huge blank spaces.

Binjai#4 kitchen brighten up by setting up a mirror


As in Plush, these recommendations are applied to all the units we are managed. In addition, come along with many different services, such as professional photography, well-trained housekeeping service, clear communication with guests before and during guest staying in. To get to know more about Plush and our service, contact us here!

Tel: +60 3 2181 9399
Email: [email protected]


The co-founding team

The founding team.

A founders perspective.

We began our journey back in mid 2016, when short-term rentals were a relatively new concept and still untested. Our first unit was a spare dual key unit at Kuchai Lama, which could be considered a little out of the way with no particular tourist interest. It isn’t connected to any public transport, but the condo was extremely suitable for staycations and for local business travellers. We had only had this simple concept in mind : Beautifully designed space with a brilliant host. A space our guests would be more than happy to stay at and come back again and again.

So we whipped out our ancient DSLR, went out to furnish the room, studied up on Youtube videos on how to better showcase a bedroom and after about a week of prep listed our property! Within the first few hours, we got a booking for that night itself. Imagine how ecstatic we were. Maybe this concept of Airbnb wasn’t so difficult after all! (I look back and think, silly boy, silly silly boy, you have no idea how difficult its going to become).

Our own little curated library
Setting up took us most of the day
Our first unit

After testing out the concept for about a month with back-to-back bookings and rave reviews, we decided to take the plunge and we both left our jobs – I left my job as a Product Manager at Novo Nordisk (It was a pretty sweet gig, high pay, lots of flights and superb benefits) while Vin left her job as a Vice President at Barclays to trying to start our own business. I have to admit I was pretty naive. I never took into consideration all the responsibilities involved. We never really considered getting funding at the start, so our plan was to grow it organically and then push, push, push. Which also meant that we pretty much had to do everything ourselves. Just in case you’re wondering what that looks like, here’s our org structure/ titles back then:

Sales, Marketing, Driver, Operations, Maintenance, Painter, Plumber, Electrician, Emergency Cleaner, Reservations Exec : Ken – Co founder

Admin & Accounting, CTO, CFO, HR, Sales and Marketing, Operations, Reservations, Pricing, Emergency Cleaner, Driver : Vin – Co founder

I love how co-founder pretty much sums it all up. It makes it so much easier to put on a name card. Things look a little different now – we have been extremely lucky with many talented individuals joining us.

We ended up starting our venture in KLCC after surveying and identifying the best units to use. 6 months down the line, we hit about 12 units. Looking back, I’m pretty happy with what we’ve built so far and also extremely happy that we managed to fulfill our promises to clients. It’s true that we have taken a more conservative approach, but we’ve also built it right the first time round. Sure, we made mistakes and looking back, we could have done it a lot better, but moving forward, I think that’s what we will work on. We’re still growing at an impressive pace and I believe we’ve built a great team to take on that challenge.

Happy Chinese New Year all!