Interior designers share their tips on creating a welcoming guest room
Frequently an afterthought, guest bedrooms sometimes don’t get the attention they—or their future inhabitants—deserve. Instead, show your visitors they’re welcome in your home by creating a soothing escape punctuated by thoughtful touches.
“An ideal guest room should offer an unexpected experience, but also be relaxing,” says Boivin. “Clever space planning with good energy flow can make all the difference.”
The homeowners wanted this room to accommodate up to six guests, challenging Boivin to create inviting, semiprivate sleeping areas. The designer chose a two-level design in which each bed includes a dedicated reading light inlaid in a whimsical circle cutout. Oversized bolsters were added for lounging, and walls were dressed with a fun 3-D metallic wallpaper. The final touch: a trio of acrylic pendants suspended above a cluster of red swivel chairs.
CHEERFUL MIDCENTURY MODERN
“The tough part about guest bedrooms is that you often have a smaller space that is fairly plain. The key is to make the room special with textures and unique touches,” says LaVey.
In this case, a wow factor was achieved with an accent wall behind the bed clad in fun—though still subtle—Hermés wallpaper. “Instead of run-of-the-mill lighting and nightstands, I went with unique lacquered wood lamps wrapped in leather and vintage cabinets that don’t exactly match,” LaVey explains. “If you use ‘cookie cutter’ elements in a space that already tends to be uninspired, you’ll end up with a boring room.”
THE SUITE SPOT
Oftentimes guest rooms are one of the last entries in the budget and can frequently become a catch-all for leftover furnishings. But the comfort level should be very high on the priority list, stresses Meinz. “Luxe linens and bedding, art and accessories, and maybe an inviting area rug can make the space even more desirable for special visitors.”
Multifunctional spaces such as a seating area, a place to work on a laptop and multilevel lighting that works for any task are thoughtful touches notes the Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winning designer. “Add a bedside water vessel, and never forget the importance of a coffee station for the early-morning riser and maybe even a small wet bar for an evening nightcap.”
THE COMFY COCOON
“I think of guest rooms as hotel suites,” says Rose. “You want to make the occupants feel a little spoiled during their stay.” Fresh flowers; fun, current reading material; and sample-size toiletries are thoughtful amenities. “If space allows, consider adding a minifridge filled with juice, milk, extra water, a split of champagne and some fresh fruit. It’s all about providing little things to let guests know you’re really glad they’re there.”
“My favorite trick is to print out the Wi-Fi password in a chic font and tuck it into a photo frame for the nightstand,” Rose continues. “And while you’re at it, an extra phone charger will always be welcome.”
TOUCH OF ZEN
Designing a guest room can be a challenge because you don’t know what specific needs your guests might have, Henry observes. “The main goal is to have a cozy, welcoming space for the guest, whether they are family, friends or colleagues.”
This homeowner sought a boutique hotel vibe, so Henry focused on creating a Zen-like experience. A fun mural creates a focal point and integrates seamlessly with the built-in bed design. Pendant lights were used to save space on bedside tables. “Combining all of these items to make a single statement helps to make the room feel more open and spacious,” she says.
“Your guests are very lucky if they don’t have to stay in a room that doubles as something else when they aren’t there, such as a sewing or storage room,” says Lewis, who believes that luxury should be an essential component of any visitor’s experience.
“Incorporate the ‘must-haves,’ including the bed and surfaces to put belongings in or on,” she advises. But the luxurious guest room is one in which those essentials are more than just adequate. “Let your company know that you want them to share your home. Provide high-thread-count sheets, plush textiles and amenities that anticipate their comfort and needs. Give them the feeling that they’re vacationing at a high-end resort.”
THE THOUGHTFUL HOST
“Because guests have different needs and preferences, design the room to be as universal as possible,” says Wright. This space was equipped with multifunctional window treatments to offer sun control or full blackout capabilities, to accommodate any guest’s sleeping and/or privacy preferences. “We also layered the bed with different weights of blankets to offer flexibility for warm vs. cooler sleeping temperatures and then added several pillows so a guest can layer as needed.
Wright is a proponent of one additional much-appreciated amenity, whether your guest is an overnighter or in for a longer stay: “Full-length mirrors are often an oversight but so very necessary and appreciated,” she says.
“There are some tricks to visually increase the scale of a modest-size room,” says Phoenix Home & Garden Masters of the Southwest award winner Klosterman. In this example, the designer used a wood-look wallpaper to create a built-in headboard that helps play up the height of the room, in addition to inexpensive fixed sheer drapery panels mounted near the ceiling, which also draw the eye upward.
Klosterman recommends this money-saving hack: “Buy large decorative art that can be sourced from companies that allow you to choose an image and size it to your needs. Some also offer the option of embellishing the piece with glaze or metallic paint. Then frame if necessary or just do a canvas wrap.”
“A guest room should be a continuation of the feeling of the rest of your home,” Clarke believes. “You want guests to feel as though their space was not an afterthought and that you are taking care of them not only as they walk in the front door but also as they put their head down on the pillow at night.”
Clarke advises soft touches to create the feeling of warmth. “Adding a rug even when the room is carpeted is a must in my book. A bench or accent chair at the end of the bed helps create a sanctuary in which your guests can relax. If space permits, we love using a desk as a nightstand on one side of the bed, with a chair. This facilitates working remotely, if necessary.”