If you’re anything like me, your guest bedroom is rarely used for guests. It becomes a catchall room. Then, when we do have guests coming for a visit, it all gets hauled out, hidden away, and a bare bones guest room is readied.
I am absolutely determined to give my guests something better this year!
After all, they are spending precious vacation time with my family. The least I can do is make their stay as welcoming and comfortable as possible! I love this quote from Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook, “The trick is to make guests feel at home, but also away.”
With that thought in mind, let’s get started!
Essential Elements of Guest Room Design
When designing a room with guests in mind, think of their comfort and needs. That means, at minimum, a comfortable bed and bedding, a place to store clothing, whether it’s a closet or a dresser, and privacy. And, of course, give the room a good cleaning before they arrive.
If you are lucky enough to have a room that can be dedicated solely to guests, this is easy. The bigger challenge is designing a “sometimes guest room” that actually serves another purpose most days. Beds are the most challenging aspect of outfitting these rooms because they take up so much floor space that could be used for other things most days of the year. Designers and architects encourage homeowners to think beyond the traditional bed in these situations: Murphy beds, sofa beds, daybeds, pull-out bed, futons, and even extra-large window seats outfitted with a twin or full-sized mattress are some of the many non-traditional bed options available.
Jennifer Jones of Niche Interiors explains, “Murphy beds and sofa beds are fantastic solutions for accommodating guests while maintaining plenty of usable space for other daily activities.” These options allow the homeowner to use the room for many other needs when it’s not busy accommodating guests. It can be a home office, playroom, storage area, den, or media center.
Designer Sara Touijer suggests choosing furniture that can serve dual purposes if you need to use the guest room for other activities. Daybeds are her go-to choice. “It gives family members a comfortable place to sleep and when no one’s visiting, the daybed is a comfy couch.”
What about storage space? Some multi-functional rooms don’t lend themselves well to having a dresser or even a closet. In these situations, it helps to think outside the box and get creative. Chests, trunks, and deep storage baskets can all provide critical storage space, while still serving a function when guests aren’t in the house. Decorative armoires or even entertainment cabinets can be relieved of their electronics and filled with baskets and bins for guests to store clothing and other essentials. Low shelves with bins are another option. In a pinch, a folding suitcase rack, coffee table, or desk can be provided to at least elevate guests’ suitcases off the floor.
You want your guests to feel comfortable and have a good time, which may mean giving them their space. Ideally, they’ll have a private room with a door, but if not, you could always get a decorative folding screen to provide some privacy. If the room is large enough, include a seating area with books, magazines, or a TV. Create a spot that’s just for the guest. Many of my favorite lodgings are those that provided me with a stack of reading material. Even if I didn’t actually get a chance to sit down and read, just the thought that I could was comforting. And no matter where I went, I always browsed the selections just to see what was in there. Who knows? It may make a good conversation starter for your guests!
Something else I read and liked was to think of yourself as a B&B host. That means giving guests a tour of the home, if they aren’t already familiar with it, and telling them where to find necessities like extra towels and blankets, coffee and mugs, etc. It’s up to you how far you take the B&B theme. Some people throw open the doors and let guests roam where they please. Others prefer to keep some areas off-limits. Whatever your preference, be sure to communicate it to your guests upfront so there are no awkward situations or hard feelings during the stay when someone makes a misstep.
What else can you do to make your guests feel welcome? Little touches make a huge difference.
- Providing towels and travel-sized toiletries in their room or adjacent washroom.
- Setting out a vase of fresh flowers in the room on the day of their arrival.
- Provide hooks and/or a full-length mirror on the back of the guest room door.
- Set up a charging station, complete with your Wi-Fi password, in the guest room. A simple bedside table or low shelf will work.
- Outfit the guest room with a wastebasket, task lighting, alarm clock, and local tourist information.
- Set out souvenirs, gifts, mementos, or framed photos that have special meaning for your guests.
- Consider providing a guest robe and slippers if you have cold floors.
Don’t Overdo It
One thing you don’t want to do is crowd the room. Keep it as simple as possible, but invest in a good quality mattress, sheets, and bedspread. Make sure the windows have some kind of covering whether it’s shades, blinds, or curtains. Hang some artwork. Remove clutter and air out the room before guests arrive.
Then step back, welcome your guests and show them to their room!
Need a little more inspiration? Visit HomLuv for more guest room ideas!
Liyya Hassanali is a Project Manager and Content Strategist for Kinship Design Marketing, a boutique agency that provides marketing strategies and content for architects, interior designers, and landscape designers. She is a 15+ year veteran of the marketing and advertising industry, working closely with her clients to provide written content that meets their marketing goals and gets results.
Liyya is passionate about home design and décor and is a confessed HGTV and Pinterest addict. When not providing content writing services for her clients, she can be found browsing home décor sites or spending time with her family.