How To Decorate A Guest Bedroom

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Decorating a guest bedroom is a unique challenge. It's important to remember that a guest bedroom serves different functions than a run-of-the-mill bedroom. Your friends and family members may be weary from travelling, uncomfortable because they are missing the familiarity of home, or persnickety because things aren't done to their "standard." The best place to look for inspiration for a guest bedroom is a hotel. Hotels are in the business of pleasing thousands of travelers daily, and while their floral carpets and bathroom coffee pot may not suit your taste, there is plenty you can learn about satisfying your weekend visitors by following their example.

Stock Your Guest Bedroom With Toiletries 

Someone inevitably leaves their toothbrush at home, or gets their shampoo confiscated by airport security. Instead of leaving your guest to rummage through your medicine cabinet, make a few commonly forgotten items available in their bedroom. These may include shampoo, conditioner, lotion, a toothbrush, toothpaste, over-the-counterpainkillersand soap. Try to make these items as gentle as possible to avoid any allergies your visitors may have.

Travel-sized items are available in most major drug stores, but they are usually disproportionally expensive. If you have many house guests, it may be a good idea to buy these items in their original size and fill separate, smaller bottles with each item as guests arrive. These empty bottles can be purchased alongside the travel-sized sundries at a much cheaper price. Place these items in the bathroom or on a night stand so they are easily seen, but do not detract from the decor.

Guest Bedroom Color Ideas

You want to make sure your guest bedroom always looks presentable, but does not require persistent upkeep. If you host one guest or more per month, you'll want to decorate with darker colors. If you decorate in white, you run the risk of the bedspread or carpet getting stained, which adds to your clean-up time, as well as your overall expense. Stick with darker colors and prints to hide any small messes that may be made. However, do not make the room too dark, especially if it is small. You want to make it warm and welcoming. If you don't host many guests, then feel free to decorate in lighter color schemes. This may actually be the best room to use lighter shades in, as it won't be used as often as the rest of your home. 

Choose a carpet that contains several colors or shades, but not one that is printed. You don't want the floor to look like it belongs in a cheesy casino. Berber carpets are best because they are the easiest to steam clean. Shag tends to absorb more stains and odors. This is especially important to consider if you have many guests who smoke.

decorate a guest bedroom  decorate a guest bedroom


Use Blackout Curtains In Guest Bedrooms

This is an especially good idea if your extra bedroom faces the sunrise. Many travelers have a hard time adjusting to a new time zone, and you want to make it as easy as possible for them to get their beauty rest. When buying blackout curtains, make sure you buy another, decorative curtain to layer on top. The aesthetic appeal of most bare blackout curtains leaves something to be desired. A sheer or thin curtain would work best, giving guests the option to block the sun completely, or let it gently wake them up while maintaining some privacy. If you can't find curtains that suit you, go to a fabric store and tell them what you are looking for. Most fabric stores have a seamstress in-store or on-call, who will work with you to create custom curtains for a reasonable fee.

Provide A Comfortable Sitting Area

Many guests have trouble feeling comfortable and at-ease in someone else's home. They may be hesitant to kick off their shoes and put their feet on the table in your living room, so provide a space for them to relax within their bedroom. It's not always comfortable to sit upright on a bed, so make sure there is a separate area for down-time.A good idea is an overstuffed chairwith a soft ottoman, or an old fashioned phone chair with a small table attached. This gives guests a place to set their coffee and paper while reading or chatting on the phone. These items are easily found at consignment and thrift stores for a reasonable price.

A small writing desk may be handy as well, especially if you know your guests need to work while away from home. If you're tight on space, squeeze in a plush stool or two to provide an alternate place to sit. Better yet, let a futon double as a bed and sitting area, making the spare bedroom into afunctional den when guests are absent. If you choose to invest in a futon, make sure it does not look sloppy. Too often, futons look haphazardly thrown together and messy. Choose a futon with a handsome frame and sturdy fabric cover to avoid pooling of fabric when the futon is upright.

Entertainment Options In Guest Bedrooms

It is hard to fall asleep in a room that isn't your own. It is also hard to figure out what to do when you are the first one awake in a house where you are a guest. For this reason, it's important to have a TV, radio, and/or books in your guest bedroom. If there is no cable outlet, provide a DVD player with a few selections, including a few children's movies just in case your visitors have little ones. Make sure that the electronic devices are easy to use, and provide instructions if they are not. Invest in a TV cabinet with doors. Some guests may wish to escape technology on their retreat, and a TV cabinet affords them that option.

If you find yourself wandering aimlessly around the home store, just try to think of the last hotel room you stayed in. If you have trouble thinking back to your last vacation,consider what you were longing for on your last trip away from home. A candy bowl? A goldfish? Whatever it is, keep your guests' comfort (and your sanity) in mind.

Last Updated: April 3, 2012
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About Chanti Burnette Chanti was a freelance writer for

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