Sunday, December 9, 2012

Guest Bedroom Tour

Not every home provides the luxury of having a spare room you can turn into an inviting guest bedroom. Many would even find that having guests only sporadically over the course of a year does not justify blocking a room just for that purpose and that is understandable. With all the things we tend to accumulate in a lifetime, any space in our home becomes prime real estate and a guest bedroom is not necessarily a priority for every household.

That said, we are fortunate enough to have a 4 bedroom home and the ability to secure a space for our yearly guests. Do I use the room for other purposes throughout the year? Sure I do,  but I limit its storage capacity to a minimum, in order to quickly set up whenever guests arrive.

When preparing a room (or space) for guests, there are a few things I find need to be kept in mind:

  • Though this is your home, remember that your decorating style is not necessarily that of your guest: maybe you want to re-consider that poster of Mr. July. 
  • A guest room should be cozy, inviting and make a guest feel welcome: remove and relocate your unsightly storage bins and other miscellanies, no one wants to feel as though sleeping in your attic storage.
  • Provide as many amenities as possible to ensure your guest does not have to continuously ask for things throughout his or her stay.
  • Regardless of how long your guest is staying in your home, always prepare as though this was an extended (over three days) affair.

Today, I am showcasing my guest bedroom. It has not evolved much over the years as I have stayed true to my original concept which was to create a Bed & Breakfast room where guests can relax and feel catered to. I do have a theme room though (and it may seem silly).  We have two dogs, one from the Sports group (English Pointer mix) and one from the Hound group (Beagle), so I wanted my guest room to offer a glimpse into hunting, without offending those guests who may not be involved or are opposed to it.

This is how I set up my guest room (this is entirely done on a budget and also over a period of two years):

First, let me show you the before picture, when we  first purchased our home in 2010:

And the after...

The room has now  two twin size beds. These were actually pretty cheap since they came from Wal-Mart. I bought the linen on sale and online. These are Bed-in-A-Bag which came with the sheets, skirt, conforter, sham and two accent pillows each.

Providing comfortable linen is a must when you want to make your guests feel right at home (or in my case, at a Bed & Breakfast). Preferably choose quality 100% cotton with a high thread count for your sheets. Not every guest will be comfortable in cotton blends as they may overheat and sweat. The curtains are faux Dupioni panels I found on sale at Home Goods and so are the green ruffle pillows. 

Guests should not have to figure out how to make their bed in the morning, so limit the amount of extra pillows you provide. Here I keep two standard pillows to provide support for reading, there is a long rectangular pillow should a guest wish to rest/elevate his or her knees and a square pillow which can be used for reading and neck support. Technically only the ruffle pillows are decorative ones.
Linen should be washed and pressed. I also use Linen fragrance when I iron the sheets and pillowcases by spraying the fragrance onto the linen before ironing and rolling them into a ball for a few minutes, I then iron and let the heat dry and spread the fragrance. I would not recommend you use perfume as it may stain your linen nor a strong scent that may become overpowering. I use a simple solution of rose petal essence and mineral water instead of Febreeze.

Though they are not featured here, I do have various sets of Guest Towels which I usually place inside the dresser or on top of the beds ready for use. I like to keep towels for guests only and have dedicated a space for them in my linen closet. 

Each bed has its own bedside table with a good reading lamp and a few amenities. I also added this round table (also a Home Goods find) to provide a transition between the beds. Because the table had a slight damage I asked for a discount and was able to secure it for only $35! All I do is place my decoration right on top of the scratch and voila - gone!
Providing fresh flowers (unless you know your guest is allergic) is always a nice touch. I do not care for structured bouquets and always opt for arrangements that look as though someone had simply picked the flowers from the side of the road. These are inexpensive supermarket flowers. I did split the bouquets and only used a few of them in this room, spreading the leftover flowers in smaller vases throughout the house.


This space between the beds also allows me to place a basket with light reading material (magazines and catalogs). 

This statue of a Pointer was also a Home Goods find under $15.

Your guest room should provide a clock (though most everyone has a cellphone these days). It does not have to be fancy but it sure can look it! This one was under $10 at Home Goods. I am also an eBay shopper and found this cute little antique nut dish which I use for an assortment of chocolate treats. I am also providing my guests with a magnifier to assist with browsing magazines.

On the bedside table, I always remember to provide tissues and mineral water (with a glass). This time around, I also added a coffee cup and saucer (more on this below). I am looking for a glass carafe with matching tumbler to replace the plastic bottle.

Underneath the bedside table there is a storage area where I keep a spare bottle of water and a few books that are easy to read and do not require commitment on the part of the reader, an example would be a collection of Andy Rooney's "60 minutes" segments (short stories that are easy and fun to read).

Inside the drawer, I keep a notepad and a pen in case my guest would need to write something down such as a reference from a magazine and such. There is also a book about the history of our town and surroundings...Just in case someone was interested in finding out more about our local history.

On the other side of the room, I have repurposed our old nursery dresser by painting it white and making it the central focus for that wall.

The curio cabinet is a garage sale find for $10!  It contains my collection of Nippon tea sets (I have no other room in the house for them). I do plan on finding a better room for my tea sets as I would like to add an armchair and ottoman to that corner instead.  Until then, guests can enjoy viewing a few of my showcase pieces.
Though the dresser is used  for displaying cute decorative items it also has a function of it own (other than storing clothes): I use it as a coffee station!

I go by the assumption that everyone is like me and needs to start the day with coffee. Not everyone is comfortable helping themselves to the coffee pot in your kitchen and may not care to be seen in pajamas either, disheveled and all. So why not provide that first cup of Joe to your guests and allow them to keep some additional privacy. Here, I have a $16 Black & Decker Coffee maker (5 cups) and a basket filled with goodies.

My coffee station offers everything one needs to enjoy an early morning coffee: three types of sugars, Coffee Mate Creamer (non refrigerated kind), more chocolates and some Belvita Breakfast biscuits. Not sure if you can see but I used my label maker to mask the Black & Decker Logo and wrote "House of Strong" (our last name) instead.

Next to the coffee station, I provide my guest with a new bar of soap on its own dish. This allows my guest to bring the soap back to the room, should he or she choose to, as our guest bathroom is also shared with our two boys.
For this visit, my mother was the guest, so I added a vintage picture of her shooting a riffle back in the days as well as myself and her grandchildren. This soap from TJ-Maxx was under $5 and has a very strong scent therefore it is also perfectly fine as a room fragrance.

Always provide a robe for your guest. I keep mine behind the door so that my guest can readily see it, and grab it whenever he or she needs it. I do keep a spare and more masculine one in the guest closet.

For decoration - true to my theme - I found this awesome looking red fox at Home Goods. At $14.99, it was a find!

Artwork does not have to be expensive to be appealing and fitting your decor. In this room I use vintage advertisement found on eBay, all casting a hunting dog, such as this one:

You can find these ads on eBay for under $5 each, all you need is an assortment of frames (but these can be costly so I always wait for a Michael's or JoAnn coupon).

This year, I also added this 1850's French  hand painted engraving (also an eBay find for under $40)! It reads "Diane and Blonde, hunting dogs of Louis XIV" - how cool is this for such a low price?

Luckily, we have a closet in this room, it does not remain empty throughout the year but is easy to set up for guests.

In my guest closet I keep a few blankets and wooden hangers. Since my mother is visiting right now, I added a few items of clothing she had left last year as they did not fit in her suitcase.

Do provide your guests with a laundry basket. Again, it does not have to be fancy, this one is a K-Mart find for $4. I used my Sharpie to write "La Lessive" on one side and its English translation "Laundry" on the other side.

In the top drawer of the dresser, I keep a basket of product samples and hotel size shampoos, conditioners etc. just in case my guest may have forgotten a specific item. Again, I am trying to make guests comfortable and avoid for them to have to ask for anything.

On the side of the dresser I keep this chair so that guests can sit when removing shoes or have a place for their purse. This chair is a street find I painted and reupholstered using a spare fat quarter.

So there you have it, my Guest Bedroom Tour is over. I do have more things in mind for the room other than moving the curio and replacing it with an armchair. I have to add a few more prints and perhaps some more hunting memorabilia and artifacts. I would also like to build two benches to place in front of the beds to provide a rest for suitcases and room underneath for additional baskets, kind of a his and hers collections of reading material. I am still going back and forth over the idea of adding a TV. For one, I am not sure whether the few occasions we have guests will warrant the additional cost of a cable box. I also do not know where to put it in the room, regardless of size.

So these are a few things to consider when preparing a room for guests. I am hoping you have enjoyed this blog post and picked up a few ideas here and there on how to make your loved ones comfortable and feel like royalty when visiting you for the holidays.

Thank you for liking and sharing my blog. You can find me and become a fan of My Great Challenge on Facebook.

Sophia, NJ.


  1. This Guest Room has old carpet and nasty walls

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