Selecting Bed Linens and Towels for Your Nightly Rental
Updated: Feb 17
Linens are high usage items in a nightly rental. You can bet that the guest will sleep in the sheets and use the towels. Over the course of a year that's a lot of traffic and washings for those items. It's important to select soft, appealing linens that will hold their quality through many guests' stays and washes. We have relationships with hotel linen suppliers and can get our clients great pricing on sheets, towels, pillows, duvet inserts and pillows. Looking to furnish a whole house? We can extend our clients the best pricing when they order larger quantities email firstname.lastname@example.org for a quote!
Linens are an area that can distinguish your homes' quality from the rental next door. Consider your Target Market when making bedding and linen investment decisions. As for down versus poly fill or down alternative, I recommend a down alternative pillow and duvet inserts. This is based on budget and allergies. If you have down bedding, it absolutely needs to be mentioned in your listing. Furthermore, linens are specifically called out in the amenities of your listing on Airbnb. You can add details of the bed linens such as down or 100% cotton and also list that you offer extra blankets and pillows.
There are several considerations when selecting sheets. You want them to feel soft to the guest and maybe cooling with the Southern Utah climate. From a wash and dry perspective, you want them to dry quickly to help cut down the time needed in home turn-arounds. When sheets wear they will show aging signs by pilling and at the end of their life tear holes.
I prefer a 200-600 thread count cotton blend sheet that offers softness and durability. When you select a cotton blend, it will cut down on time in the dryer. We carry a budget friendly cotton blend sheet in both grey and white. From an operational perspective, we recommend you standardize your sheet color throughout the house so the sheets are interchangeable on the same size bed.
Selecting the color of your sheets raises several considerations. White is preferable because guests absolutely will know if it is clean. On the other hand it stains easily and you will likely have to replace them more often. If you select a colored sheet, stains are easier to hide and less noticeable than in a white sheet. If you are targeting a high end clientele, white lines are a must. The average guest in a nightly rental does not expect the white linen standard you find in a hotel.
In my first nightly rental, the only consideration I gave bedding was based on budget. I purchased comforter sets from a big box store that were soft and met my budget. I received private feedback in an Airbnb review from a guest that made me realize I made a large investment without the guest in mind.
Think about the last time you stayed in a hotel bed. The bedding was likely a fitted sheet over the mattress, then a flat sheet to sleep with, then a duvet insert and top sheet. In the hotel linen industry they call this the triple sheet method. It's the quickest, most sanitary way to turn a hotel room. They take the sheets and the third top sheet off and wash and replace those items that the guests' bodies touched. Another option is the duvet cover that the insert goes into and closes around it via a zipper, buttons or fold. It is not feasible or practical to wash all the comforters in between each guest. Not to mention the average household washing machine cannot effectively clean something as large as a king comforter.
When selecting bedding, I highly recommend a triple sheet or duvet set-up. Your guests will take comfort knowing everything their body is touching was washed in between guests. Duvet inserts are sold based on the fill or warmth rating. In Southern Utah, I recommend the lowest warmth to medium warmth rating. Anything warmer would need to be changed out seasonally due to the extreme heat in the summer.
Lastly, I recommend keeping an additional blanket or quilt the size of the bed in the closet just as a hotel offers.
Each full size bed and larger need a minimum of 4 standard or king size pillows. You can make up the bed traditionally with 2 pillows with pillow cases and 2 pillows with decorative shams or you can put 4 pillows with pillow cases to make it easier to change in between guests. Furthermore, I would keep 1 extra pillow covered with a pillow case in the closet for each bed in the room.
A hotel typically makes up their beds with a mix of soft and medium firmness pillows. The firmness of the pillow is as personal of a preference as the firmness of a mattress. You can off of multiple pillow types or you can go middle of the road with a medium firmness.
As for additional small decorative pillows on the bed, I defer that decision to you based on your ideal customer. It is an added expense but it makes for a finished look and pretty photos. This is a classic males vs female debate we see in movies like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. The value is in the eye of the beholder.
When you research towels, the number of specifications and factors escalate quickly, from weight to how the cotton is spun. It all boils down to absorbency, softness, and durability. Thicker towels absorb moisture better but take longer to dry during home turnovers. Softness fades over the life of the towel and number of washes. In terms of durability, two-ply cotton is the most sturdy towel.
Ring spun, 2-ply cotton towels are a good middle of the road option considering quality factors and price. The color selection of the towel is similar to the sheet color decision. White is a sign of luxury and shows that it's clean. Colored towels will more easily hide small stain and even match the décor of the bathroom. You may think with bleach white towel are a no brainer but my counter to that is chlorine bleach actually breaks down cotton over time and will shorten the life of your towel or linen.
In my personal vacation rental, I started with a mix of white and colored towels. I have replaced 3 out of 12 white towels and I still have the original 6 gray towels after 6 months on the market.
As for the number of towels per bathroom, my rule of thumb in a master suite is 1.5 bath towels, hand towels, and wash clothes for each person who would shower in that bathroom. For example, in a king bedroom with an en-suite bathroom, I would leave 3 bath towels, 3 hand towels, and 3 wash clothes. If you have a bunk room that sleeps 6 or more people you could consider a ratio of 1.25 towels per person rather than 1.5 because that will likely sleep kids who are smaller and don't typically use a second towel for their hair. In a bunk room that sleeps 6 people, 8 of each towel would probably be sufficient.
Operationally, we don't want to leave too many towels out for the guests to access because we have seen guests dirty every towel in the home. This adds laundering time to our turn-overs and we want to ensure we can flip a property in one day.
Pool towels are a nice amenity to include in vacation rentals in Southern Utah because many neighborhoods have pools and hot tubs and there are several reservoirs guests can visit on their vacation. I suggest providing one pool towel per guest for use outside of the house. This is an added amenity but will also keep your bath towels from coming in regular contact with chlorine, harsh pool chemicals and sand at the lake.