The key to creating a fabulous guest room that your friends and family won’t want to leave is to treat it as if you were going to stay in it yourself. Give it all the comforts of home: the best mattress, a deep cozy duvet, the tactile throws and plenty of plush towels. Extras are uber important, a stylish bedside lamp, a good-sized mirror, and a lovely vase full of fresh flowers, the small details do matter and go all out with storage!
Alina Enache, architect and head design consultant, Scotlight Direct (opens in new tab), says: ‘The guest room is sometimes an afterthought and one of the last rooms to be decorated. Often budgets are limited at this stage in an interior project. Still, it can become an inviting and very comfortable space for your guests with simple gestures of thoughtfulness.'
'Please don't let your Guest Room be where all your old furnishings go to die... a Guest Room should embody the look and personality of the house and not be the odd one out. The best trips are ones where you can live like a local during your stay, so offering guests a room that feels as thoughtfully appointed and welcoming as the rest of the house makes the whole experience,' says John Melhorn, architect, Thomas Melhorn (opens in new tab).
Plump up the duvet, and discover easy and effective bedroom ideas to transform your guest room into an overnight rest and unravel retreat for favorite faces touring different places... These ideas will make them feel immediately at home.
1. Provide the hotel stay basics
We’ve all done it – packed in a whirlwind rush, and forgotten those overnight essentials, and little things that make all the difference to a relaxed stay away. Treat guests to a home away from home stay worthy of five-star status with thoughtful additions, like luxury towels, toiletries, sleep masks, and perhaps socks or slippers?
Yvonne Keal, senior product manager, Hillarys (opens in new tab), says: ‘When people are away from their usual surroundings, it’s normally the smallest things they miss the most. Don’t forget to include the basics in your room that perhaps most people don’t think of like an alarm clock or a hair dryer.’
2. You could even go all out with a welcome tray or trolley
Think like an Airbnb super host, and make visitors feel extra special with the loveliest welcome ‘home’ selection of treats and pampering goodies. Who wouldn’t be delighted to rock up to a breakfast in bed tray or bar cart dressed to impress with pillow chocolates, mini bottles of bubbles, robes, scented candles, a personalized Wi-Fi sign, and aromatherapy oils, etc..? You can get as carried away as you like! Help them dream like sleeping beauties with these expert-approved sleep products and tips for improving your overall sleep hygiene.
Colleen Primm of Colleen Primm Design (opens in new tab), says: ‘For a special touch add a small sign welcoming your guest. It could state anything from the Wi-Fi password to the house rules. Try this super cute Wi-Fi password sign (opens in new tab) from Etsy.'
3. Invest in relaxed bedlinen for sloth style slumbers zzz
Forget those claustrophobic hospital corners, pressed-to-perfection sheets, and overly formal scatter pillow arrangements! You want guests to feel like they can relax, not live in fear of creating a crease – sacre bleu! Instead, layer up the guest bed with lived-in layers of tumbled linens in calming pastel hues. Pop on a tactile throw and a couple of oversized, feather-filled pillows to create a romantic bedroom beckoning with the dive-in appeal.
Primm says: ‘Make guests as comfortable as possible by adding small touches around your guest room. Have a pile of warm blankets in a basket by the bed (check out the Beachcomber (opens in new tab) or Aubrey woven basket (opens in new tab) collections from Pottery Barn), and for an extra touch have an extra pillow too.’
For the best bed that just begs to be snuggled in, nothing beats the softness of the Vintage Rose 100% linen bedding (opens in new tab) from Secret Linen Store (as shown). This set has been made with love in Portugal, with each piece being individually dyed a lovely earthy pink for a completely one-off finish.
4. Turn your living space into a pop-up guest room with a sofa bed
Short on space with only a small apartment lounge to offer up to weary travelers? No problem! Embrace a grown-up, ‘flashpack’ sofa surfing fix with a double-duty sleeper sofa that can offer more than you think, and transform your space into a dreamy retreat.
Keal says: ‘If you don’t have a spare room but want to create space for your guests, investing in a sofa bed is a really good way to transition your living space into a bedroom for the evening and they are often simple and easy to use.’
5. Cast a wellbeing glow with ambient lighting
Set the optimum chillout mood with layered bedroom lighting ideas that relax the senses, whilst shining the light on tasks like reading and dressing.
Enache says: ‘Ambiance is key in a bedroom environment and the correct lighting scheme can make the difference for a good night’s sleep. The use of table lamps either at bedside table level or located on furniture such as desks or drawers can provide an additional layer of lighting so your guest are not so reliant on stark overhead lighting. One trick I like to use is a glass base dual light table lamp (opens in new tab) with warm light bulbs which gives guests a choice of light levels.’
A bedside lamp is also a must to avoid bumps in the night as guests fumble for the light switch at the other side of the room.
6. Set-up a coffee nook
Turn an alcove or unused corner, or repurpose a bedside table or dressing table as a coffee nook idea - a sure-fire way to get them buzzing with delight after a long drive and leisurely lie-in. (And the bonus will save you aka the host from having to wake up extra early to serve them a cuppa in bed - mini win!) Kit your nook out with an easy to use single-serve coffee maker, a couple of gorgeous artisanal coffee mugs, and a switch-on or wind-down selection of indie blends and herbal infusions.
7. Get the most out of your space with multifunctional furniture
Todd Saunders, CEO, FlooringStores (opens in new tab), says: ‘Flexible furniture is a fantastic bedroom storage option in guest rooms. A fold-out couch can accommodate one or two guests staying over. Modular chairs, coffee tables, and loungers can make your guest room into a bedroom office, yoga studio, or crafting space when nobody's staying over, and quickly pack away to provide room for your guests.’
Annie Gray Dixon, associate marketing manager, The Inside Team at Havenly (opens in new tab), says: ‘Include pieces that do double duty, such as The Inside's Mid-Century Bench (opens in new tab). It's perfect for the end of a bed, allowing guests somewhere to drop their bags, jackets, etc. It can also be easily pulled up for extra seating in the living room or dining room when the guest room isn't in use.’
8. Make guests feel at ease
Billy Ceglia of Billy Ceglia Design (opens in new tab), says: ‘I always try and create a feeling of ease and comfort when creating a guest room and remind clients that it's more than design. When welcoming guests, adopting small details like having the door unlocked, and space (and empty hangers) in the coat closet are a few things to remember. I have a “help yourself” attitude when it comes to refreshments, or anything in my home for that matter – if you need it, it's yours for the asking.’
Darla DeMorrow, professional organizer, interior designer, and owner of HeartWork Organizing (opens in new tab), says: ‘Do make room for your guest in the closet, drawers, or with an easy-to-access spot to unpack their suitcase. Provide the basics, like the Isabella large nightstand with charging station (opens in new tab), from Ballard Designs.
DeMorrow continues: ‘Don’t add off-limits furniture. Your guests will appreciate getting to use your vintage furniture, but only if they aren’t worried that it’s too fragile. And don’t stress. Sharing your home is about creating shared memories and making room for loved ones. In five years, your guests won’t remember what color the sheets were, but they will remember the good times you shared.’
9. Encourage R&R with a recliner
Help guests kick back and put their feet up with an ergonomic recliner, ideally situated in a cozy reading nook, or by a window with a nature-nurture view.
James Leonard, editor in chief, COZYSEATING (opens in new tab), says: ‘Every guest room should have one comfortable recliner. It aids relaxation, increases circulation, and reduces back pain. A recliner even enhances the room's look and gives a regal essence to the space. Recliners consume less space but are the best value addition to the room. You can choose a wide variety of recliners (opens in new tab) from our website.’
10. Welcome furry friends too!
Pets deserve a vacation and pamper too! ‘Purrrfect’ your guest room scheme with a luxe dog bed for their beloved four-legged travel companion. Is it bad to be just as excited for pooch cuddles as seeing a long-time-no-see pals?!
DeMorrow says: ‘Don’t forget about the pets. If your guest is bringing their furry BFF, plan for space for food, water, and a kennel.’
11. Install blackout drapes
Emily Ruff, owner, and principal designer, Cohesively Curated Interiors (opens in new tab), says: ‘When it comes to designing guest bedrooms, I like to make them feel inviting and cozy so your guests feel right at home. When it comes to bedroom window ideas, I always use blackout curtains or shades so guests can block out the light to get some rest. Leaving a small fan or sound machine in the room is nice as well, so guests can sleep well without hearing the unfamiliar noises of your home. Lastly, have a phone charger, towels, and the WiFi password ready to go for them!’
12. Zone dedicated sleep and relaxation spaces
Karen Wolf of Karen B. Wolf Interiors (opens in new tab), says: ‘Having guests visit is always something I look forward to. This rustic bedroom idea is divided into a sleep and relaxation zone. Adding elements such as a hanging chair and sitting area gives guests a space to retire and make the space feel like their home away from home.’
Inspired? Check out more space-changing shared bedroom ideas here, and get the most out of your space.
13. Bunk beds aren’t just for kids!
Wolf says: ‘Bunkbeds are a simple way to accommodate more visitors in your home. Despite the fact that this style of bed is often associated with kids' bedroom ideas, it's suitable for any visitor, regardless of age. You can find amazing non-custom options if you build the area to accommodate the size to make it look as if it was designed custom for the space.’
14. Choose bold bedding
Go all out with your bedding to make an impact, as it's one of the things guests notice – the guest bedroom is the place to treat your friends and family to a blousy duvet set, and painterly style florals are a big trend right now.
Pick out a couple of key colors and add in some plain cushions to balance the lookout and add in some texture with sumptuous velvets and cable knit styles.
From linen to luxe, we reviewed the best duvet covers money can buy. Take a peek at the best duvet covers...
15. If you can, pop in a desk
If you have space along a wall or alcove it’s worth fitting in a desk. With us still working from home it’s almost become essential to create a small home office, and it can double as a dressing table too.
Make a feature of it by painting it in a different color to the rest of the scheme – a darker shade will recede whereas a lighter color will pop.
16. Be clever with lighting
Often, a guest bedroom will be made up of spares and extras - that duvet set you weren’t too keen on, or the hand-me-down bed - and that’s okay, especially if on a budget. That’s not to say these pieces aren’t beautiful, but they’re usually not always your first choice. So, in terms of lighting, think outside the box - for example, a floor lamp that doesn’t work in the rest of your home can be used next to a bedside instead of the usual table lamp - we love this idea and it gives height to the light.
Learn how to use bedside lighting to create a serene space, according to the pros.
17. A hanging rail goes a long way
Guest rooms and small bedrooms can often be on the 'cozy' side, so wardrobes might not be something that fits in. Instead, a savvy clothes storage idea like a simple hanging rail can suffice, choosing a slimline design that can be placed alongside a wall. A shelf underneath can be a godsend for tops and accessories and room for shoes to be placed underneath.
18. Opt for an eye-catching bed
When space is tight, you can either choose a double bed and pick a design that will create a statement, or master how to decorate with a king-size bed in a small room.
This eye-catching bed has a beautiful decorative feel which gives it pride of place in a small bedroom. As the walls are left white, it allows the bed to stand out and the pop of cerise in the form of the throw gives the whole scheme a fresh burst of color.
19. Give plant life a whirl
Trending houseplants add life and as we know, are a great health benefit as well as looking lovely and lush.
Add some into your guest bedroom scheme, they will give the space color and texture. Invest in a variety of plants - trailing ones look great on shelves or hanging from a macramé pot, and look into wispy ferns and cacti for textural diversity.
20. Put mirrors at the top of your list
We’re not talking about a small wall-hung mirror either, it needs to be a full-length mirror idea so your guests have somewhere to stand back and see any outfits they want to wear - just as we do in our bedrooms.
Another bonus of a mirror is that it will bounce light around the room which will make the room feel more spacious and brighter.
21. Don't forget the essentials
It’s easy to get carried away with the best duvet covers and bed sheets, but a bedside table is an essential piece of furniture. Choose a design that has as much storage as possible, a drawer and shelving will do the trick and if you can source a pretty decorative design then all the better.
Size-wise - it needs to be large enough to fit a table lamp, a book or two, and a glass of water.
If you're short on space and feeling crafty, you could always try an easy wall-hung DIY bedside table project.
22. Shutters add style
Super stylish and practical, if you have the budget, shutters are a great investment. They’re great for managing light and temperature - during the summer you can close them to keep the room cool and in the winter they are fabulous for creating a cozy bedroom feel. They also help to reduce noise which your guests will love!
23. Double up with twin beds
If you have the space, it’s worth considering twin beds, because you may have two guests that won’t want to share - your aunt and her niece for example. Be sure to partner your's with the comfiest twin mattress toppers under $150.
You can have fun with twin beds and give them a matching feel or go against the grain and give them individual bedding, pop a wider bedside table or a small chest of drawers in between them instead of one on each side. Incorporating twin beds is the perfect opportunity to embrace symmetry too, and if you have a couple to stay you can push the beds together.
24. Put in a fake wall
If your guest room is large enough and you have frequent guests, it’s worth investing a little into the design and layout with a transformative bedroom wall decor idea. For example, you could put in a fake wall that splits up the space and allows you to hide an ensuite bathroom behind it - a huge bonus for your guests and you.
Turn the wall into a feature. Wall paneling or wooden slats will look fabulous and add a decorative element to the scheme.
25. Don't forget art
Finishing touches are key, and popping up a gallery wall or investing in one beautiful piece of art is all a room needs to complete it.
Not only does it give character to a space, but it also adds color and decorative quality. Match bedding and accessories to the artwork to create a cohesive look - in this bedroom you can see the key colors from the painting are used throughout the bedroom to great effect.
26. Provide a little library
This sounds simple, but it’s a lovely welcoming idea to gather together a combination of fiction and non-fiction books for your guest to peruse.
Personal touches go a long way and if you have the space, a small armchair by the window will create a lovely reading nook so your guest can have some peaceful time.
Have a go at creating your own DIY bookshelf wall this weekend.
27. Get creative with the walls
Budgets can be tight when it comes to decorating a spare room but you can be creative with bedroom paint colors. All you need is some leftover paint and a steady hand. A simple yet very effective design like this can take the place of a headboard. It brightens up an otherwise white scheme and can be done in an afternoon. Tie in your chosen color by investing in a pillow, vase, and mug to match.
28. Add a final flourish
This sounds simple, but a beautiful bunch of fresh flowers placed in the guest room before they arrive is a detail that says you care.
Flowers also bring life, color, and texture to a space - try to incorporate a couple of scented stems too depending on the time of year. There’s nothing lovelier than walking into a feminine bedroom idea that’s naturally scented with seasonal blooms.
What should you have in your guest room?
If you can, and you have the budget, go all out in your guest room. This means extra towels, pillows, and blankets – ideally a choice of thicknesses for those cooler evenings and a couple of different pillows – a hard and soft option for example.
Storage is key – a bedside table is essential and if you have the space a wardrobe and somewhere to store a suitcase. Door hooks are a great idea for dressing gowns and don’t forget a waste bin – dull but necessary!
What are the simplest ways to enhance a guest room?
Phi Dang, director, Sidepost (opens in new tab), advises:
1. Make sure the guest room is clean and clutter-free. This will help your guests feel more comfortable and welcomed.
2. Add some personal touches to the room. This could include a vase of fresh flowers, a basket of snacks, or a framed photo of you and your guest.
3. Create a cozy and inviting atmosphere. Be sure to include plenty of pillows and blankets so your guests can snuggle up and relax.
4. Provide your guests with all the necessary amenities. This could include a television, Wi-Fi access, an alarm clock, a hair dryer, and extra toiletries.
5. Think about your guests' needs and preferences. If you have any specific requests, be sure to let them know in advance so they can be prepared.
6. Provide plenty of pillows and blankets. This will give your guests the option to make themselves comfortable.
7. Put a vase of fresh flowers in the room. This will add a touch of elegance and make your guests feel welcome.
8. Make sure there is a lamp on the nightstand. This will provide your guests with a source of light if they need it during the night.
9. Place a basket of snacks and drinks in the room. This will give your guests something to enjoy during their stay.