How to Turn an Old Home Into a Bed-and-Breakfast

What could be more romantic than transforming a gorgeous old Victorian home into a charming bed-and-breakfast? If you have a knack for hospitality and love the idea of turning your passion for beautiful old architecture and hosting into a profitable business, transforming an old home into a bed-and-breakfast may be perfect for you. 

Here are some ideas to help you affordably create the bed-and-breakfast of your dreams from a gorgeous old home that may otherwise not have been renovated.

Provide Climate Control Room by Room

One of the most expensive renovations for older homes is having central air conditioning installed. Most old homes don’t have space for ductwork, so installing it attractively and without significantly damaging the home can be a challenge. 

Older homes were designed for airflow from outdoors, not the movement of central air. If you aren’t renting out rooms, controlling their temperature is a waste of money. Installing climate control room by room using Wall AC Units may be the best and most affordable solution. Wall air conditioners can make a room comfortable within minutes, but it can be kept off when it’s not in use.

Creatively Construct Bathroom Space

Deciding what to do about bathrooms is a significant challenge as you turn an old home into a bed-and-breakfast. Old homes were not designed to accommodate modern bathrooms, so even making room for a couple of shared bathrooms can be very difficult. 

Providing a bathroom for every room can be a huge challenge. You may decide to go this route with your B&B, but it may not be necessary if you get creative when it comes to bathrooms. You can save a lot of money and maintain more of the original structure of the house by avoiding a bathroom for every room. 

Here are just a few ideas to make use of the bathroom space you have and create more:

  • Consider wash stands instead of bathrooms. Don’t have room or budget to give each room a bathroom? Consider wash stands instead. Even if you can’t build a bathroom for each room, you can probably install a simple sink, a mirror, and a little bit of surface space. A washstand can be used for a lot of bathroom activities like teeth brushing, face washing, applying makeup, etc.
  • Turn small rooms into shared bathrooms. Big old homes often had lots of small rooms. You can transform a middle room into a bathroom for the rooms on either side of it to share. In this way, you can create a rather large bathroom and relative privacy without creating a bathroom for each room.
  • Build outside showers. Outside showers are inexpensive to build, but they can be charming and pleasant in nice weather. If your bed and breakfast has a pool, outside showers are a must. However, even bed and breakfasts without a pool can benefit from a couple of outside showers to charm guests and reduce the use of the house bathrooms.

Don’t Let Parking Ruin Your Bed and Breakfast

Too often when beautiful old homes are renovated into bed and breakfasts, most of the grounds are turned into parking. This is unfortunate, since it negatively impacts the look of the building and hurts the curb appeal which is so essential to success as a bed-and-breakfast.

It can be a great challenge to build enough parking while maintaining the look and functionality of the grounds. Find out how much street parking your business is allowed to use and make sure that your customers use it.

To make the most of the parking space you have, make sure that parking is well organized to fit as many vehicles in as little space as possible. Put parking to the side or behind the building so that you don’t destroy the look of the house from the street. Try using reclaimed brick or stones to make parking areas merge attractively with garden space. 

Invest in Your Gardens

When you’re creating a bed-and-breakfast from an old home, most of your efforts are likely put into the house itself. However, people who patronize bed-and-breakfasts are looking for a certain feel. 

Beautiful, well-maintained gardens are an important part of that feel. Without attractive gardens, you may find that patrons look elsewhere for a B&B. Here are a few ideas to help you create gardens that your guests will fall in love with:

  • Install wind chimes and water features so the sound of trickling water and tinkling chimes drowns out any surrounding traffic or other noise.
  • Design private seating areas with little benches or patio tables and chairs surrounded by trees, shrubbery, and lattice.
  • Plant a little herb and vegetable garden and advertise farm to table fare.
  • Install outdoor lighting to draw people into the gardens in the evening.

Encourage Gathering

One of the most charming aspects of a bed-and-breakfast is the way people from many different situations and walks of life are drawn together over a home-cooked meal in the morning. You can foster conversations by creating spaces that encourage people to chat. 

Instead of clustering tables together in one large area cafeteria-style, try situating them in little groups in breakfast nooks and on the patio. Arranging tables like this encourages people to find themselves in small groups where they are more likely to talk. 

You can go even further to encourage a friendly feel in your bed and breakfast by having events like a s’more cookout by the campfire, a movie screening in a common area, etc. 

Less is More

Throughout your renovations, make sure to err on the side of doing less. You fell in love with the old house that you’re renovating into a bed-and-breakfast because of the charming features that are unique to it. 

Be careful that your renovations don’t destroy the very effect you liked about the house in the first place. As much as possible, keep additions, improvements, renovations, etc., within the style of the house. 

It can be tempting to allow your personality and personal tastes to influence your decisions about the bed and breakfast. While there’s nothing wrong with having your own likes and dislikes come through a little bit, for the most part, you want to make sure that the house maintains the look and style it was designed to have. 

Create the Bed and Breakfast of Your Dreams

Transforming an old home into a bed-and-breakfast can be extremely fulfilling and gratifying work. In many cases, you may be saving a gorgeous old home that would otherwise have been destroyed. A renovation like this is certainly a big job, but you may be surprised by just how easily you can make a gorgeous and lucrative bed and breakfast from an old house that needs some work.