Update your spare room

A guest bedroom in invaluable, as well as providing vital space for friends and family to stay over, it can also be used as additional storage space. Consumer expert Jennifer Newton asks industry experts for their tips on easy ways to transform your guest room.

Industry experts, including interior designer Julia Kendell and consumer expert Jennifer Newton offer their advice on how to update your guest bedroom.

Scroll down to read more or jump to a topic from the list below…

Flooring options

When updating a spare bedroom, a new floor covering can really change the feel of the scheme.

Jeremy Garrish says: ‘A newly carpeted floor will warm up a room and create a comfortable space – try one of this season’s colourful designs.’

Julia Kendell advises: ‘Colour is right on trend, so why not go for a bold scheme? A feature wall in a hot orange shade will create a dramatic statement teamed with contrasting carpet. Using white bedding will keep the look affordable, but with a designer edge.’

If you don’t have the time or the budget for new flooring, a rug can make all the difference. Try a look at the great new designs from The Plantation Rug Company.

Geometric rug and Urban Jungle rug

Prioritise painting

If your budget for updating your spare room is tight, decorate the space with paint or wallpaper before you do anything else. The room will then be up-to-date and ready to add furniture, storage and any finishing touches.

Nicky Pysden advises: ‘For less than £125, you can prepare and paint your room to create a fresh, new look. You can buy all the tools and paint you will need from decoratenow.co.uk, which offers free delivery on orders over £30. If you’re not sure which colours to choose, try the colour combinations tool on the website or order free colour cards to use on a mood board.

‘To create a stylish focal point, why not introduce a feature wall in a new paint finish, such as Crown Paints’ Suede Emulsion, £23.99 for 2.5 litres, or start with a statement wallpaper?’

Shopping list from Decorate NowPricePurpose
Polythene disposable dust sheets, pack of three£2.50To protect your flooring and furniture
Polycell Multi Purpose Polyfilla, 330g£3.98To perfect your surfaces
Oakey flexible sanding pad98pTo prepare your surfaces, whatever their shape
Tesa three-day masking tape 25mm£2.99Three-day residue free removal for neatly painted interiors
Dulux Light & Space Matt Emulsion, 2.5 litres£24.98To lighten and create the illusion of space in your spare room
Crown Undercoat, 1.25 litres£14.99To prepare your woodwork
Crown Non Drip Gloss Paint in Milk White, 750ml£12.98To finish your woodwork
Dulux medium pile nine-inch roller tray kit£9.95For making quick work of painting
Harris No-Loss Paint Brushes, five-pack£12.49Contains various brush sizes for different areas
Polycell Brush Cleaner, 500ml£3.98To remove paint from your brushes
Harris Tight Squeeze roller cleaner98pTo make cleaning your roller easier

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Energy-efficient window dressing

Keep your room cosy and ensure your guests stay warm by opting for energy-efficient curtains and blinds that keep in the heat. You can buy curtains with thermal linings made from Thinsulate, which is used in skiwear. Thinsulate curtain lining is available on all made-to-order and selected ready-made curtains from Marks & Spencer, from £49.50 for ready-made faux-silk Thinsulate curtains in Oatmeal.

If you prefer blinds, Gary Chambers advises: ‘Apollo Blinds’ new Duette blinds insulate against the cold, protect against draughts and reduce heat loss by up to 34 per cent. The blackout options are perfect for guests hoping to enjoy a lie-in during the holidays.’

Purple window blinds

Space-saving beds

Jeremy Garrish says: ‘Guest bedrooms tend to be small, so they need clever storage. The elegant Vantage storage bed from Carpetright is stylish and practical, ideal for ensuring you can hide away bedlinen and pillows while leaving room in the wardrobe for guests to store their belongings. The side opening of the Lorenzo ottoman bed, also from Carpetright, makes it a great option for smaller rooms, and a simple storage solution.’

Caitlin Price says: ‘John Lewis has a wide variety of divan bases, which feature up to four wide drawers. What I love about divan bases, apart from how practical they are, is their blank canvas nature – they’re perfect for achieving a hotel look once dressed, and suit any mattress type and interior design.’

Storage beds

Multi-purpose room

Built-in wall beds were a costly choice 10 years ago but there are now many affordable options. studybed.co.uk offers a double bed for £1,680 that can be a desk by day and then folds away easily to reveal a fully made-up bed when guests are staying over. It’s ideal if you need your space to be flexible.

Jamie Dean advises: ‘Spare rooms need no longer be dumping grounds that people simply shut the door on. As the amount of flexitime and number of people working from home has increased, so have home offices – the majority of which double up as a spare room. With this in mind, we designed the Home Office foldaway bed as part of Betta Living’s Brilliance range. Prices for a fitted Brilliance bedroom start from £1,494.’

Fitted office furniture with foldaway bed

Create more storage

Jon Gough says: ‘We’re all guilty of taking up space in the spare room if the cupboards and wardrobes in our main bedrooms are full-to-bursting. But with a little planning, you can transform the spare room with storage that gets the most from your space, and brings a sense of order and style.

‘Fitted wardrobes are undoubtedly a practical option, but as there are so many stylish designs available now, they can help you to achieve the latest interior design look too. A modular storage system can also help you to make the most of every bit of space. The range of solutions from Spaceslide come with a free sample service and detailed assembly instructions.’

Plan the space

Caitlin Price says: ‘A spare room is often an area for all those items that don’t have a place in the rest of the house, but a guest room should be a welcoming environment – the challenge is when we want both. The key is to have great storage options that offer aesthetic and functional solutions for the belongings that we want to keep but don’t need to access on a daily or monthly basis. Using all the space under the bed will help – choose a multi-storage bed with deep drawers, such as the Sullivan model (below) from John Lewis, £1,095 for a double. What I love about this bed are the built-in bedsides that can be stored away when not in use.’

Jon Gough advises: ‘Think about the overall look of the room scheme and create the illusion of space by opting for a wall of mirrored wardrobe doors – it will make the room feel twice the size and it’s a timeless look that hides clutter.’

Finishing touches

The new Berkeley range of bedding (above) from Alison At Home is a great way to achieve affordable luxury in your spare room. Combine white linen and a simple throw to emulate boutique hotel style. You can also add a chunky knit blanket for extra comfort. To finish your scheme, try Laura Ashley and Debenhams for accessories.

Meet the experts

Jennifer Newton
Julia Kendell
Caitlin Price
Jeremy Garrish
Jennifer Newton

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All prices and stockists correct at time of publishing