Keeping it fresh: Making a good first impression

eviivo  Keeping it fresh: Making a good first impression

Image credit: Anthony Miller – Belmont Bed and Breakfast

So you’ve owned a B&B or guest house for a number of years now – maybe it’s time for a makeover. This can be anything from fixing the little things to help the bigger benefits come your way, to taking on a large-scale renovation and reinventing your property. Be it a fresh coat of paint or the addition a restaurant, any change can open your door to a new set of customers.

This can seem like a lot to take on, but we can help you get started.

Going big? Planning for a renovation:

Before taking the plunge, you will of course have to think about a few things. Here are the main points which should be taken into consideration:

  • Are you going to expand the back of your property or simply utilise an existing room/renovate the loft?
  • Can you comfortably afford all the required work?
  • How long will the project take to complete?
  • How much will the project cost?
  • Do you need to hire a builder, architect, decorator, or building surveyor?
  • Do you have the planning permission to renovate, should you require it?
  • Can you resume normal business whilst the renovations take place or are you best shutting up shop during low season?
  • More rooms will equal more guests and more work – do you have the time or money to take on a new member of staff?
  • How will this investment pay off in the future?

Once you’ve decided what you’d like to undertake and what kind of professionals you’ll need in order to do it, you can begin to draw up a plan of action. Since this property is your bread and butter, it’s even more important you get the right people for the job! Sites such as and My are good places to start as you can read individual reviews on all the plumbers, electricians and builders listed.

Whilst the work’s carried out


Image credit: Anthony Miller – Belmont Bed and Breakfast

If you live in your guest house, then be sure to save space for you to live in while the renovations are taking place. Of course this depends on the scale of the project – if you’re ripping your whole house apart, then you’ll still need to lay your head down in a comfy place at night. If you’re just smartening up a few rooms, be prepared to work around it.

If you are going to have guests staying during the project, then be sure to let them know that they might hear the odd drill going off, or they might see a few workmen about the place. Knowing that they are going to be bothered with either noise or lack of hot water intermittently, you could provide them with something (like a free breakfast) to be sure that they still stay with a smile on their face!

Expanding or rebuilding?

If you’ve decided on extending your property, you may need to get an interior designer and architect on board, just to see if your plans are going to be doable. Take a look at your property and proposed plans through the eyes of your guests and think about what will appeal to them.

For example, you may be thinking about renovating a medium-large space within your building. There are a few things to consider, such as how many rooms you could make from this area: should it be two modest ones, or one big luxurious suite to promote at better rate for couples or families?  Would a suite like this appeal to your market, or would two smaller rooms aimed at business guests be better and have enough room to work in?

You will also need to consider the likes of access, views from any new and existing rooms, the space for en-suites, as well as attaining any planning permission you might need from the council before any work actually goes ahead.

 Communal spaces

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Image credit: Ratty’s Retreat

Keeping your entrance and foyer fresh and welcoming will set the tone for your guests’ experience.  It’ll nail down that crucial first impression and wow them straight away. It’s important to consider the look of all the rooms which your guests will come and go from at all times of the day. Naturally, you’ll have your own style, though some sofas, lighting and even a TV could be a welcome addition.

Is your restaurant or breakfast room big enough? If you’re deciding to add more rooms, think about how it will be used and how many guests for each setting.  On the other hand, should you feel that your restaurant simply needs bringing into the 21st century, and then some new fittings and furnishings may just be what the doctor ordered.

Any communal outdoor areas and gardens really add to the aesthetic value of your guest house, as well as being somewhere for your guests to sit and chill out. Are they comfortable and pleasant enough for your visitors to sit and read the newspaper or check their e-mails?

A large outdoor project could be creating a new lawn area, erecting decking or a place to sunbathe, or even adding in a swimming pool and crossing your fingers for some weather from the continent. Whereas something smaller could also prove equally successful; simply adding in a play area or a trampoline could help you attract more families for example.

If you don’t have much outdoor space, then it’s all about making the most of what you do have – perhaps a small but neat patio complete with BBQ will suffice. This will not only be great for those warm summer months, but will also require minimal maintenance!

Kitting out your rooms


When deciding to treat your clients to some new furnishings, be sure to buy items that are both durable and are of high quality. You want them to look great in the room of course, though they have to be sturdy enough to hold up against years’ worth of visitors who stay in the room.

The bed and mattress are of the utmost importance – giving your guests a good night’s sleep away from their own bed is just about the best thing you can do.

Make use of the space you have by choosing items of furniture that double up as something else – a cabinet with drawers can often be a great place to put the TV for example. Bunk beds are great space saving option for a kids’ room if you happen to take a lot of family bookings.

But it’s not just practicality that takes centre stage – stick with the aesthetic value you want to achieve by buying items of furniture that are really in-keeping with the feel of the room. Small touches, such as a trendy office lamp or an upcycled vintage chair, depending on what look you’re going for, can really make all the difference to its overall appeal.

If your rooms come with en-suites, check how the current look of the bathrooms tie in with the feel of the rooms. If you’re giving the room a makeover, then the bathroom may need one too. If there’s only a shower in there and you think your guests would prefer a bath, then it’s probably worth buying one and having a plumber install it, should you have the space.

Are you the right man for the job?

When the time comes to replace any items that have succumbed to wear and tear, it’s important that you have budget set aside for exactly this. If it’s an easy job and you’re a dab hand at DIY, then you’ll probably want to undertake it yourself. All that might be required is ordering a few spare parts and having a toolkit handy.

If you’re happy to fix any problems that come up, then you might want to consider taking a crash course in D.I.Y in order to learn the basics – if you haven’t already, that is! This Complete DIY Manual from Collins is as comprehensive as they come and has received some excellent reviews too.

The benefits of deciding to undertake a renovation or makeover project are definitely worth it, as your property will feel like it has a new lease of life. Not just that, if you have taken the decision to extend then you’ll be able to take more bookings and welcome many more happy guests through your doors!

Keeping it fresh: Making a good first impression

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