The Best Hosts Style Their Guest Rooms With These Touches

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Gillian Grefe

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Published on November 12, 2020

The holidays bring holiday guests. And holiday guests need a place to stay.

Preparing a next-level guest room is as easy as recalling your most relaxing hotel stays, says Heather Goerzen, Havenly Design Lead. Remember that feeling of indulgence and let that serve as your guide for guest bedroom ideas.

To create a guest room so inviting that guests won’t want to leave (careful what you wish for), Heather suggests including:

The Most Comfortable Bed

A great guest room starts and ends with the bed. 

Heather suggests investing in plush bedding and luxuriously soft linens, such as extra cozy flannel sheets for winter. Neutral sheets create a calming, resort-like retreat, “but by all means, if color is your thing, you certainly can embrace it for a vibrant and playful guest room,” Heather says.

When it comes to pillows, remember that different guests have different preferences. Heather recommends purchasing four traditional bed pillows—two that are firm and two that are soft with a high loft. 

“Take inspiration from the hospitality pros—you know, your favorite hotel you’ve ever visited—and layer the pillows behind your shams in stacks of two,” Heather says. 

Finally, layer an additional blanket or quilt at the end of the bed—a chunky throw or soft cable knit. 

“Nothing is more frustrating for guests than having to stumble around in the dark to find an extra blanket, particularly on chilly winter nights.”

Thoughtful Lighting

In addition to the room’s overhead lighting or floor lamp, don’t overlook a reading light by the bed, preferably with a three-way bulb for lighting options. 

“It’s easy to rely on overhead can lights as the only source of lighting,” Heather says, “but one of the best ways to create a comforting and welcoming environment is to layer your lighting sources. 

“This will help transition from getting-ready mode to create a more calming ambiance before bed.”

If your guest room is spacious enough, nightstands with lamps on both sides of the bed allow couples to tailor bedtime lighting to their individual needs. Or go for smaller tables alongside sconces.

Accessible Outlets

Your guests will need to charge their phones, laptops and any other devices during their stay. 

Make sure they can easily access at least one outlet in the guest room without having to move furniture or get down on all fours. 

You might even want to supply the guest room with a power strip if your guests are the heavily wired type. 

Memorable Styling Moments

You want to give your guests adequate surfaces for grab-and-go belongings such as a handbag, their phone, car keys, a book and glasses. So keep some tabletops or shelves clear and open.

On the other hand, special touches will make their stay that much more memorable. 

“We love styling a candle or two with some pretty matchsticks for a little aromatherapy after hours,” Heather says. “Or maybe even arranging a mini bottle of wine next to some lovely glassware for wind-down time.” 

And if you really want to be the hostess with the mostest, stack a few of your favorite novels or some current magazines on the nightstand.

A Few Essentials

Go the extra mile for your guests by stocking the room with special treats.

Set out some water. Bonus points for a pitcher and glasses or more elevated choices like Pellegrino.

Pair with a few of your favorite local snacks—because who knows when your guests might crave a late-night chocolate and popcorn binge?

“Perhaps consider offering silky eye masks (of the washable variety that you can refresh with each guest visit), and maybe even spa luxuries like hand lotion and lip balm,” Heather says.

Storage Space

No extra closet space, spare hangers or empty drawers in your guest room? No worries. 

A luggage rack will let your guests dip into their carry-on without having to heft their bag onto the bed or crouch on the floor

If you have the space in your guest room, consider a bench or a pair of ottomans at the foot of the bed.

“Not only does this become a great spot for guests to store their luggage,” Heather says, “but it also looks stylish and is a great way to complete a space.”

Something Floral or Green

Fresh flowers or a live plant are another thoughtful gesture. They offer so many benefits

“A secret every designer knows is how florals can make a space feel more cheerful and calm simultaneously,” Heather says. “While we advocate for always having fresh-cut florals on hand, it’s an especially nice touch for your guest room.”

You don’t have to channel Martha Stewart with an elaborate arrangement. A few of the same stems in a pretty vase is all it takes. 

“Consider hydrangeas for something lush and full, or even just a variety of green stems for a more organic appeal. You can even scavenge your own backyard.”

Bonus Items

A few final guest bedroom ideas to include in your space: 

  • A wastebasket: Don’t make guests search for a place to toss their trash.
  • A full-length mirror: Always appreciated, particularly if your guest is in town for an event.
  • Your Wi-Fi name and password: Written and left in a prominent spot.
  • Instructions for operating the remote if there’s a TV in the guest room.  
  • A nightlight: You can navigate your home in the dark. Your guests, in all likelihood, can’t.

And if you have only a limited amount of time before guests arrive, check out this guide to a 15-minute refresh.

Want to discover your interior design personality? Be our guest and start with this style quiz.

Words by Staci Sturrock