How To Create the Ultimate Guest Bedroom

Navy gingham wallpaper in a bedroom with white wainscoting and a black four poster bed styled with white sheets and blue and green art deco custom pillows

Setting out to create the perfect guest bedroom may seem like a lofty goal, but it’s easier than you might think to put together a cozy, welcoming space for family and friends. First, think back to your own travel experiences. “As you are setting up a guest room, think about the best hotel you have stayed in and what made that hotel room so comfortable and easy to use,” suggests Molly McGinness of Molly McGinness Interior Design. Feeling inspired? Read on for designer tips on how to style a fabulous guest room that will make your loved ones—and you—want to stay a while. 


Make It Cozy

Sleeping in a new place can be challenging for some, so you’ll want to make your guests feel as comfortable as possible to promote some solid ZZZs during their stay with you. “The guest room should have layers of luxury for a comfortable stay,” McGinness says. According to the designer, you’ll want to stock up on the following: great bedding with plush pillows (and a variety of sleeping pillows in the closet as people have different preference for pillow fullness) additional blankets in the closet, a carafe of water next to the bed, a luggage rack for their suitcase, extra hangers in the closet, a few well placed hooks, beautiful art, functional window treatments and lighting that is easy to operate as you enter and leave the room. Don’t forget a rug, either, notes Savannah Stone of Ainslie Design Studio. She notes, “A rug anchors the room, adds texture, dimension, color, and helps make the space look larger.” 

Coastal bedroom with white walls and a white bed styled with blue patterned duvet and blue tiger custom pillows

Pictured here: Frida Blue pillows 


Be Mindful of Lighting>

Another key to do before guests arrive is to think about lighting within your space. “The window treatments should offer privacy and lighting control,” McGinness says. “I like to layer shades under drapes and possibly a layer of sheers behind the drapes. One of these layers should be blackout, either the shade or the drapes.”

Blue ikat custom curtains hanging on a window with woven roman shades in a white bedroom with a blue striped headboard styled with colorful pillows

Pictured here: Alice Curtains

Then, she says, ensure that you incorporate a mix of electrical lighting options throughout the space. “An overall light operated by a switch as they walk in the room is convenient and generally covers all tasks,” she explains. “Then I would add table lamps or sconces at the bedside location, perfect for bedside reading or just lowering the light level.” Seagrove Design’s Rachel Pintarelli is also a proponent of sconces in the guest room. “I recommend putting each sconce on its own switch that can be easily accessed from the bed,” she says. “If you’re worried about the long term commitment or cost of hardwired fixtures, opt for a plug-in style with coordinating cord covers and an easily accessible switch.” Finally, you can also place a table lamp on the dresser or add a floor lamp in a reading nook if you desire. 

Blue abstract custom curtains hanging in front of a window next to a navy blue chair and blue lamp with rattan lampshade

Pictured here: Hockney Sky Curtains and an Eden Blue PIllow


Be A Little Bold

A guest room is different from a primary bedroom in many ways, one of which being that you won’t set foot in the space every evening while attempting to unwind from the day. While many people crave simple, soothing primary bedrooms that promote rest and relaxation, the guest room can therefore be a bit more fun. “I like for my guest spaces to be a little over the top, whether it be a dark and moody paneled room or a brightly colored wallpaper with an oversized throw,” shares Susan Klimala of TKS Design Group. “Since they are spending a limited amount of time in the room, why not have a little fun and create a fantastical vacation escape for guests that will make them smile?” Pintarelli agrees that having fun with prints is a must. “Using a mix of textiles—curtains or shades, rugs, bedding, throw pillows, furniture upholstery—is one of the easiest ways to incorporate unique patterns and texture into your space,” she says. “A textured or patterned wallpaper will also add interest and depth.” 

Black gingham wallpaper in a bedroom with a green velvet headboard and yellow quilt next to a white nightstand and a window with black geometric curtains

Pictured here: Ginger Navy Wallpaper and Fern Velvet Fabric. Design by Kim Armstrong Interior Design

Hannah Skaar of August Jane Interiors notes, “Sometimes my clients want to go bolder these accents to give their guests the feeling of being in a boutique hotel, but with the comforts of staying with friends or family.” She suggests installing Denton Orange or Frida Pink wallpapers. “They are just the unique accent needed to elevate any guest room design,” she states. 

Orange patterned wallpaper roll

Pictured here: Denton Orange wallpaper

Style An End of A Bed Bench

If you have space at the end of the bed, add a bench! “Having a bench at the foot of the bed provides a place to sit, an extra surface for belongings, and storage underneath for shoes and bags,” Pintarelli explains. A folding suitcase rack is a great alternative for those short on space, she adds.  


Set Aside Some Welcome Goodies

White modern bedroom with beige headboard with blue abstract pillow, blue gingham pillow and blue velvet pillow

Pictured here: Hockney Sky pillow, Ginger Sky pillow and Sky Velvet pillow

Treat your friends and family as though they’re guests at a 5-star hotel when they come to visit. “I like to leave out a pitcher of water with glasses and some chocolates,” shares Alida Coury of Alida Coury Interiors. “I find it nice to also offer them a robe and slippers for trips outside the bedroom in their pjs or after a shower,” she adds. “It's those little touches that are meant to be a big hug for guests when they are away from home.” 


Looking for some guest bedroom inspo? Check out our #JustAddPepper page.