The holidays are sure to look different this year, as we all do our best to stay safe and healthy through the challenges 2020 has brought.
And while our holiday gatherings may be smaller than in years past and involve many more precautions (hello, masks and COVID-19 nose swabs!), many people will still be inviting friends and family into their homes — myself included.
With all the months I’ve spent cooped up inside and relatively isolated this year, hosting my loved ones has taken on added importance. Not only do I want them to feel safe and comfortable, I also want them to know how grateful I am to have them near.
That’s why I decided to give my guest room decor a little glow up this year. If you have a spare bedroom that could use some love, follow my guest room ideas below for a few simple ways to upgrade the space.
What Makes a Guest Bedroom Cozy and Comfortable?
While I chose to completely revamp my guest bedroom decor (here's how I did it), you don’t have to overhaul a room to create a space your visitors will love. Great guest room design isn’t about the price tag of the items you include in the room. It’s about thoughtful touches that make your guests feel at home.
So, you don’t need worry too much about aesthetics — like finding the perfect guest room wall color or adding an eye-catching accent rug. Instead, design the space in a way that shows your guests you took the time to anticipate their needs.
There are two main principles I follow to achieve this: adding guest room design options and ensuring easy access to essentials.
Step 1: Provide Personalized Options
My no-fail design strategy for decorating guest rooms is to first focus on options. No guest is the same, so designing a space that can be customized for all kinds of preferences is the secret sauce for success.
Consider each of the senses — touch, sight, smell, sound, and taste — and include elements that let your guests customize their experience for each. Here are some guest bedroom ideas highlighting areas where your guests might appreciate some variety.
A Variety of Pillows
Does your guest like to pile up the soft fluffy pillows or position their head on a firm and supportive bolster?
Including a variety of pillows with varying levels of support will ensure your guests have the perfect sleep situation and the appropriate support for their preferred sleeping position.
DESIGNER PRO TIP: I include a firm, medium, and soft pillow for each guest right on the made-up bed so they can easily pick a favorite as they tuck themselves in. These also function as a design element since they’re essentially a blank canvas for showcasing a soothing neutral or fun, patterned pillowcase.
Temperature Control, Including Blankets and a Fan
Is your guest a fan-on-high, pile-on-the-blankets kind of sleeper or do they prefer a light sheet and sticking one leg out for maximum comfort?
If there's not a thermostat in your spare bedroom, you can help your guests regulate the temperature in their room by providing additional blankets with varying thickness, adding a fan or space heater, or including a heated blanket.
DESIGNER PRO TIP: I layer up the bed with multiple blanket options — like a duvet, quilt, and thin woven blanket — so my guests can easily adjust the temperature to their comfort level. I throw a heated blanket across the accent chair or tuck it into a basket at the foot of the bed to give my guests yet another option to turn up the heat as they settle in.
Does your guest prefer zero light interruption or a soft glow in their space to get their best night’s sleep?
Lighting can have a huge impact on sleep cycles and influence evening wind-down routines — as well as help set the mood for a space. Providing lighting options that are easily customizable is one of the easiest ways to make your guest room work for any guest’s preference.
From a simple dimmer switch on the overhead light, to adding multiple light fixtures throughout the space, to even more high-tech elements like smart lighting, adjustable lighting options are a quick swap that reap big rewards when it comes to upleveling your guest room.
DESIGNER PRO TIP: The three types of lighting to consider in your design include:
- ambient lighting — the overall amount of light in a space
- task lighting — lights intended for a specific use, like a reading light
- mood lighting — lighting that exists to set the tone in a space
Intentionally incorporating each one of these in your space is a fail-proof way to perfect guest-room lighting.
Sounds and Scents
Does your guest like to wind-down with music than some relaxing ocean sounds? Or do they prefer to light a candle and keep things quiet?
Making it easy for your guest to play music or drift off to sleep with a soothing sound, like white noise, is an easy extra touch you can include to make their stay even more amazing. For this design strategy, simply incorporate a sound machine, Bluetooth speaker, or speaker-equipped bedside clock.
Adding aromatherapy items is another quick way to elevate your guest space and add some spa-like vibes. This might mean including your favorite essential oil and an easy-to-use diffuser or featuring a locally made candle and a jar of matches. You can also get festive and include fun scents like pine, vanilla, or spice cake for the holidays.
DESIGNER PRO TIP: I like to include a smart speaker — like an Amazon Echo Dot — in my guests’ room so they can connect their phone via Bluetooth and use it for their favorite music or their go-to sound machine app. I also love to add a gorgeous candle or essential oil diffuser to add a little touch of spa-vibes to my guests’ space.
Tech Gadgets, Connections, Cables, and Cords
How can you use your favorite tech finds or smart home products to make your guest’s stay more comfortable?
From your favorite home assistant to smart lighting — or just a really cool phone charger — adding tech accessories and smart home products to your guest room enhances the space and ensures you have your guests covered in case they forget something at home.
DESIGNER PRO TIP: My go-to tech must-have for the guest room is a bedside alarm clock that has a USB power port in the back. I keep a universal charger cord close for easy access. This lets my guests charge their phone bedside to use as an alarm and also gives them the option to make use of the alarm function on the clock if they prefer that.
Personality + A Warm Welcome
What small personal touches can showcase your own personal style in the space and make your guest feel more than welcome?
Going above and beyond for your guests doesn’t need to require a lot of effort or expense. Adding small personal touches to their space before they arrive is a sweet way to let them know you’re excited to have them stay with you, and you aim to ensure they get their best night's sleep away from home.
From a cute pair of cozy socks waiting for them on the bed to a mug with a funny saying next to a single-cup coffee maker, adding small touches that show off your personality and make your guests laugh or smile are a fun way to help them feel instantly at ease.
DESIGNER PRO TIP: I love to include a little welcome basket on the bed for my guests with essentials like water, hand sanitizer, late-night snacks, and rolled towels and washcloths. I also like to infuse my own personality with things like my favorite night-time facemask for some wind-down skincare or a small gift from my favorite local shop to let my guest know I’m thinking of them.
Step 2: Enable Easy Access to Essentials
Besides adding options to make the space easy for your guest to customize to their comfort level, one final consideration is ease of access — i.e.: making everything your guests might need easy for them to locate.
This might look like storing things right out in the open on trays or baskets so guests can find what they need without having to open drawers and doors.
You can also dedicate a piece of furniture in the space — like a dresser — to all the guest room essentials and let your guest know they can find everything they might need inside.
If you want to go all out, you can make cute signs and labels for items to help your guest find them easily or even add your Wi-Fi network and password into a cute frame on the side table.
A Final Word on Guest Room Decor
When it comes to cozy guest room design ideas, it really is about focusing on small updates to refresh and add functionality to the space.
If you’re hosting guests for the holidays, you shouldn’t need to feel pressure to buy new furniture or spend a weekend updating the paint.
Add small design touches that feel personal and aligned with your personal style, and focus on functionality first. Simply adding options that engage all five senses and providing your guests easy access to everything they may need goes a long way to ensuring that they have a comfortable and memorable stay at your house.
READ NEXT: How Can I Decorate My Bedroom?
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