How To Decorate A Guest House

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A guest house is the perfect space for short or extended visits, allowing your guests to spend lots of quality time with you without sacrificing anybody's privacy or personal space. If you're lucky enough to have a guest house on your property, you've got the opportunity to design a space that will make your guests feel relaxed and comfortable during their stay, while showcasing your personal design style.

Choosing A Basic Home Decorating Style

When it comes to picking a decorating style for your guest house, your options are wide-open. While it makes the most sense to match your guesthouse style to the main home’s style, you can branch out if there is a theme you’ve been wanting to try. It can be a great way to test out décor for potential use in your home. Here are a few ideas that might work for yours:

  • Cozy cottage style: Since many guesthouses are actual cottage-sized structures, cottage style décor fits right in with the architecture. You might try a beach cottage style with seashell accents, pastel tones and nautical touches. Eclectic cottage style is another option and a very practical approach since you can collect furniture with a number of different styles to furnish your guesthouse.
  • Sleek, modern style: Create a calm and sophisticated space featuring clean lined furniture with wood or metal frames, abstract art accessories and neutral colors. Keep art, collectibles and wall décor to a bare minimum.
  • Rustic cabin: Decorate with deep stained wood paneling, cotton curtains, a stone fireplace and leather seating. Add some animal themes such as moose or bears for the feel of a woodland cabin hideaway.
  • Zen retreat: Create a calm, meditative space by pairing neutral paint tones such as mushroom, warm gray or taupe with smooth mahogany floors and Tanami mats. Keep furniture spare and clean lined and add an indoor fountain for the calming sound of water flowing over rocks.
  • 50s Retro: Let your guests reclaim the fun and optimism of the postwar boom. Decorate with sunburst or atomic clocks, vintage radio and stereo equipment, colorful linoleum flooring and either Eames style furniture or Scandinavian inspired pieces.
  • Victorian: Guests will step back into a gentler era in a Victorian style guest home decked out in delicate floral wallpaper, lacy bedding and luxurious velvet drapery.
  • American country: Create an informal country look with natural woods and muted greens, red, blues, whites and gray tones. Add some checkered fabric upholstery, Americana needlework and barn stars to complete this look.

Guest House Window Treatment Ideas

Whichever decorating style you choose, the main purpose of a guesthouse is to keep your guests comfortable and your window treatments go a long way toward helping guests feel at home. Look for shades, blinds or drapes that give guests the option for letting in lots of natural light as well as blocking out light for privacy and sleep. A layered approach is a great way to insure that guests can really control the amount of light in their rooms. Your guests might appreciate window treatment combinations such as:

  • Heavy Victorian drapes over white sheer panels
  • Wooden shutters over translucent creamcoloredshades
  • Colorful, opaque curtains over pale mini blinds.

Finding Guest House Furniture

Furnishing a second home, even if it's a small one can really strain a budget. To keep costs under control:

  • Look through your home for furniture pieces that you're not using that can be painted, refinished or otherwise fixed up for a new life.
  • Visit garage sales and thrift stores to find surprising vintage treasures.
  • Watch furniture stores for sales and promotions that offer long-term, no-interest financing.

Decorative Touches to Make Guests Comfortable

Sometimes what guests find most memorable are the little touches that meet basic needs and help them feel right at home. These simple extras will look great and make guests feel special during their stay:

  • A blanket rack with fluffy extra quilts for cold nights
  • A basket of toiletries in the bathroom containing comforts such as moisturizer, shampoo, soap, combs, toothbrushes, toothpaste and feminine hygiene necessities
  • A tray of hot beverage accessories in the kitchen, which might include mugs, tea bags, coffee, sweeteners, stirrers and cinnamon
  • A tall, elegant bookcase filled with lots of great books to read
  • Comfortable seating in the living room, arranged so that guests can see and hear each other for easy conversation
  • Lots of pretty, fluffy pillows on the bed
  • A pitcher of ice water on the nightstand
  • An assortment of magazines on the coffee table
  • A calming tank of graceful, tropical fish to watch
  • An iPod dock or stereo for music
  • Scented candles and potpourri
  • Pretty plates, bowls and cups for snacks
  • Healthy green plants and fresh flowers
  • Decorative nightlights in the bedroom, bathroom and hallway areas
  • Cozy couch throws to snuggle in
  • Thick, thirsty towels in the bathroom
  • A decorative toilet paper holder that makes extra rolls easy to locate
  • Attractive glass jars of non perishable snacks such as nuts, dried fruit, pretzels or colorful candy on the kitchen counter
  • A bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen table
  • A vintage trunk filled with fresh extra linens
  • A full-length mirror in the bathroom or bedroom.

Your thoughtfully decorated guest house will make your home a popular destination for traveling friends and relatives. You'll enjoy lots of quality time with loved ones and still maintain your personal space for down time and privacy.

Last Updated: July 8, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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