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How to design the perfect guest bedroom

The easiest way to create the perfect bedroom for guests is to channel your own favourite home-away-from-home, whether that might be a swanky hotel or a luxe Airbnb. So! No crazy clutter, cardboard towels or pilled sheets, please. Here’s how to make your visitors feel like they’re living the five-star life.

Step 1: Minimise the mess 

Chances are, if you have a spare room, it’s used for more than just the occasional guest, accommodating overspill from your wardrobe or operating as a dumping ground for infrequently used items. Clearing away clutter will create a calming, welcoming feel (this could be a good opportunity to decide whether you actually need to retain some of those extra bits and bobs). Make sure there’s room in the wardrobe for your visitors to hang their clothes, not forgetting to donate a few spare hangers (try Ikea for reasonably priced wooden ones), and clear a drawer or two so that they can unpack properly. 

Source: Container Store

Step 2: Refurbish the room

Whilst you’re having a clearout, take a fresh look at the space and see whether it would benefit from a mini makeover. At the very least, give it a good clean, and touch up marks on walls with a dab of matching paint (matchpots can be your saviour here). Is the furniture a bit of a hodge-podge? It’s a bigger project, but giving tired timber pieces a couple of coats of paint can work wonders to create a more cohesive space – just make sure you tackle this sort of task well ahead of your guests’ arrival so the pieces can dry properly, and any new-paint smells have time to dissipate. If all the room lacks is a bit of personality, try adding a few decorative items, like a colourful rug, some cushions and a pretty lamp.

Step 3: Create a comfy sleep zone

A good quality bed is essential. If you’re pushed for space, you could try a wall bed or an easy-assembly model. The Scandi-esque Koala bed frame can be fitted together in just a few minutes – all without tools – and dismantled again and stored away when not needed, while the mattress comes with a removable cover that can be easily refreshed with a quick wash between guests. For pillows, it’s hard to know what sort your visitors would usually use. One of the benefits of Koala’s memory foam pillows is that they can suit most sleepers – one side suits those who prefer a high pillow, the other a low one.

Step 4: Dress it up 

The bed is the usual focal point in a bedroom, so going beyond the basics of a sheets-and-quilt combo will give your space extra luxe appeal. Start with the sheets (nothing beats crisp white for versatility), which should be ones you’d happily sleep in yourself. Add a quilt, which gives you the perfect opportunity to get creative with colour and pattern, and then layer on a second quilt or a light throw (depending on the season), in a complementary hue, folded neatly over the end of the bed. This can work either as an added layer of warmth for your guests or simply extra loveliness. Lay pillows flat or stack them on their ends, depending on your preference – have two or four that are designed for sleep, with a couple of other pillows in a different shape in a colour that either complements or matches your quilt. The large European square is a good choice as it is great for sitting up in bed, but don’t go nuts on extra cushions as they will probably just end up on the floor.

Step 5: Finesse your furniture choices

Do try to include a few pieces of furniture that will help your guests feel more at home. Somewhere to rest their case – such as an ottoman or blanket box, which can also be used for storage – is a good idea. The perfect guest room is also a place to kick back and relax, perhaps to unwind with a book before bed, so if you can, fit in a comfortable chair.  A bedside table is a must, as is a lamp that gives sufficient light to read by, while a mirror for last-minute spruce-ups is a nice-to-have. If space is an issue, you might be able to attach a simple framed version to the back of the door. 

Step 6: Don’t forget the details 

The finishing touches are where you can really channel your inner hotel manager. Leave out a couple of soft towels per guest, colour co-ordinated if possible so they don’t mix them up; score extra points if you present them tied up with ribbon like a pretty parcel. A vase of fresh flowers is a thoughtful touch, as is a selection of reading material. Don’t forget handy items like a box of tissues, and if you want to go as far as supplying a set of mini toiletries, so much the better. A jar of home-made cookies, a water glass and decanter – or even a kettle and tea or coffee-making essentials – will make your guests feel even more welcome. Just be warned – you may make them so comfortable that may never want to leave!


About the writer 

Jane Parbury spent several years devising, crafting and editing the features in Home Beautiful magazine, both in print and online, before making a South Coast sea change and embarking on a freelance career. With wide experience as an editor and content producer for homes and lifestyle publications both in Australia and the UK, she lives and breathes all things interiors.

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