I’ve long thought of the guest bedroom as an invitation to the home—somewhere you can welcome guests in with warmth and kindness. And as I’ve sought out guest bedroom ideas for styling the space, I’ve wanted the final result to support that ethos. That line of thought led me back to a famous Maya Angelou quote: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I aim to live by the prolific writer’s words—and that includes how I conceive of my home.
Actions that land on the heart are lasting. From a smile on the subway to remembering a birthday—there are plenty of ways to make an impact in others’ lives. And when it comes to our homes, simply opening them is the greatest start. From there, we can create a place for someone to feel so cozy and loved—and these guest bedroom ideas do just that.
Featured image of Sanetra Nere Longno’s bedroom by Michelle Nash.
Before we get started, it’s worth noting the obstacle. Guest bedrooms, if we are lucky to have one, tend to be on the smaller side. (The same goes for a couch or nook for a guest.) But where space lacks, interior design creativity reigns. I tapped the insight of three interior designers, Jennifer Walter, Owner and Principal Designer of Folding Chair Design Co.; Amy Youngblood of Amy Youngblood Interiors; and Susan Spath, Principal Designer of Susan Spath Interior Design and president of Kern & Company, for their insight. With each of their guest bedroom ideas, these designers prove how fun it can be to design this room—and how lasting of an impression it can make on how your guests feel.
7 Guest Bedroom Ideas for Creating a Warm and Welcoming Space
Image by Kate Zimmerman Turpin of her minimalist Sunday House
1: Treat the Guest Bedroom as if It Were Your Own Room
Just because it’s a “spare” room of sorts doesn’t mean it gets the spare treatment. Think of your room, then think of your favorite hotel, and merge the two. Splurge on plush pillows and extra blankets. And luxe bedding is always key, believes Jennifer Walter. “We always order with comfort in mind,” she says.
#2: Prioritize the Bed
“I feel that a guest room should really be about a comfortable sleeping space for your guests,” says Amy Youngblood, who puts the emphasis on the bed. If a king fits, go for it. They’ll always remember the sleep they had at your place. Susan Spath loves including a built-in headboard that extends behind small end tables, “which can make the room very tactile and add a cozy feel.”
Image by Melissa Gidney for Jenni Kayne at the Folded Hills Winery & Ranch
#3: Stock the Essentials
How many times have you forgotten to pack your toothpaste? Keep a bag of common toiletries on the bedstand, from cotton balls to mouthwash, to accommodate for anything your guests may be missing. This says, I got you and it rids any awkward moments of them having to ask for another tube of toothpaste, again.
#4: Provide the Creature Comforts
In addition to forgotten toiletries, Walter loves to include a basket with extra washcloths and slippers. “This is so the first guest can slip them on and use them during their stay,” she says. “Most people forget to pack slippers, but tile and wood floors can get chilly. Even when hanging in other rooms, it’s nice to slip on something else while visiting.” Spath says to go even further by providing guests with plush bathrobes and a favorite book on the nightstand.
Image of Chanel Tarlo’s guest house by Molly Culver
#5: Keep It Light
“I typically opt for a more neutral, lighter palette,” says Youngblood. Think cooler light blues, creamy whites, and warm beiges. Generally, lighter tones appeal to more people, she says, “and it also gives the sense of more space” if the room is on the smaller side.
#6: Be Mindful of Space
If you dedicate most of the room to the bed, be wary of the size of other pieces of furniture. Walter says to go smaller on the nightstands. “As a guest, you’re usually not storing so much in the side tables,” she says. “We’ll often do a side table on one side and a small round ottoman on the other. That way, the ottoman serves as both a drop spot and a seat if space is tight.” Spath agrees, adding that hanging lights over nightstands is a great way to avoid taking up the entire space for a lamp. And Youngblood says to consider a taller nightstand because it has a smaller footprint.
Image of Camille Styles’ primary bedroom by Michelle Nash
#7: Make It Soothing
There’s something about a magical scent that stays with you, even long after your visit. Walter and Spath say to incorporate candles into the guest bedroom, ideally something soothing, and an indulgent body lotion. What’s better than candles? A fresh bouquet.