Interior decor: guest room

Interior Decor: Welcoming Guest Bedroom Decorating Ideas

In this part of our interior decor series, we’re going to focus on some unique ways to elevate the design of your guest bedroom and make it extra comfortable for visitors.

A warm and welcoming guest room

A warm and welcoming guest room

Making Guests Feel At Home

A good host has one intention when hosting guests overnight: To make them feel at home.

However, regardless of how hard we try, chances are the houseguest will never feel perfectly comfortable unless they are close family member or friend that regularly visits. One of the most challenging aspects of being a houseguest is the discomfort of having to ask some fairly mundane questions that you wouldn’t need to ask at a hotel or in an AirBNB, in addition to being in strange surroundings that are not their own.

Questions like “may I have your wifi password?” or “do you have towels I can use?” These seemingly innocuous questions can often be uncomfortable to ask. How often have you hosted someone and said “help yourself to anything you need” and how often have they actually done that? The gesture is kind, but in reality, most people feel uncomfortable digging for towels in the linen closet or helping themselves to something from the pantry.

Most guests will abide by a certain decorum when staying at someone else’s home. It may be that they don’t want to overstep, seem needy or perhaps they’re just embarrassed to ask. Yet, as a host, we all know we just want our guest to relax, and there are a variety of ways to help them feel that way.

A wifi sign is a great way to make guests feel comfortable

A wifi sign is a great way to make guests feel comfortable

A Warm Welcoming To Your Home

Of course, any good host will warmly welcome their guest into their home, offer a tour and give them the standard line of “just ask if you need something”. Prior to their arrival, you will greatly put yourself and the guest at ease by anticipating as many of their needs as possible.

A welcome card for guests that can be left visibly in their guest room to help meet many of those needs.

The welcome note can include anything you think would be helpful to know. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Start with a brief welcome and list cell phone numbers for your family members and any other number they may need to reach you on.
  • If they will have access to a vehicle, let them know where it’s parked and leave a key with the note.
  • If they won’t have a vehicle and will be on their own to explore, consider including some taxi numbers for them to use or help them download the Uber or Lyft app if available in your area.
  • Point out where extra blankets, pillows, or any amenities are stored
  • Consider attaching a map of the area and a listing of interesting shops, tourist attractions or restaurants they may want to visit.
  • Include the wifi password for your home and any alarm code they may require
A small and yet elegant guest room with books and creature comforts

A small and yet elegant guest room with books and creature comforts

Creature Comforts of Home

There are a few basics when it comes to furnishing a guest room. Of course, you need a bed, but is there other furniture that’s really necessary and how do you choose furniture that says ‘please feel welcome’? Guests will feel more welcome to use things if they are left out rather than tucked out of sight. Leave items for their use, such as a water glass & jar, and alarm clock, reading

Leave Things Out

Guests will feel more welcome to use things if they are left out rather than tucked out of sight. Leave items for their use, such as a water glass & jar, an alarm clock, reading material, or toiletries out on the counter or side table. Looking in someone else’s drawers seems intrusive, while items left out are clearly intended to be available to the guest.

Picking The Perfect Bed and Linens

Beds are difficult to pick for guests because there are so many different styles of sleepers and everyone seems to prefer a different level of firmness. This challenge is only increased when you have a couple staying with you. If you don’t have a designated guest room, and the area they will be staying doubles as another room, there is nothing wrong with having a sofa-bed, a cot or a futon. In fact, modern futons and sofa beds can be quite comfortable for short-term use.

However, if you do have a dedicated guest room, you can opt for a real frame and mattress. Opt for at least a queen size bed if you have the space. If the room is not used very often, then it is probably not worth spending a small fortune on a PosturePedic or Sleep Number bed. Instead, take a look at some of the new online mattress suppliers. Companies like Tuft & Needle and Leesa offer less expensive options ($600-900) than mattress stores and they deliver directly to your home. They primarily offer foam mattresses, which are supportive while still soft and help limit how much movement you feel from the other occupant. For other options for guest mattresses, take a look at Ikea or check out our mattress guide. 

As far as linens go, be sure that the bed is ready for them upon their arrival with freshly laundered linens. Add top layers that allow the guest to add more or less insulation to the bed based on their needs.

The standard rule of thumb is to have two pillows on the bed for their use, but you may also consider placing extra pillows in a dresser drawer or on a shelf in the closet as well as a warmer comforter or duvet and an extra set of linens. When you are selecting linens and pillows try to find items that are, soft and comfortable. Since some people prefer a firmer pillow whereas others enjoy a softer pillow, you may want to have two options for them to choose from. One tip is to avoid any pillows or comforters filled with animal feathers as some people are allergic. If you are leaving extra linens, blankets and pillows in a drawer or in the closet, consider including a little note in their welcome package.

A small welcome basket to make them feel at home

A small welcome basket to make them feel at home

The Wardrobe and Storage

Unless your guests are staying long term, most guests will live out of their suitcases. However, it’s still a good plan to have some storage available should they prefer to place clothing in a dresser or hang a suit or dress up. If there is a built-in closet, consider leaving the door open as many guests won’t open a closed door even if it’s in a guest room. One tip is to have folding luggage stands like you would find in a hotel. This way your guest won’t feel compelled to keep their luggage on the floor.

Storage Ideas for guest room

Storage Ideas for guest room

The Guest Bathroom

If the guest room has an attached bathroom, it’s an ideal place to store guest towels and toiletries. If the bathroom is down the hall but exclusive to them, let them know that it’s their private bathroom during the stay and they can feel free to treat it as their own. If you have a smaller home and they will be sharing a bathroom with your, family, here are a few tips to make them feel more comfortable:

  1. Give the bathroom a thorough cleaning before they arrive and be sure to remove items that are not for everyone’s use from the counter.
  2. Tuck a can of air freshener by the toilet. You’ll all be glad it’s there if you are sharing a bathroom.
  3. Keep shared amenities in view. In other words, keep a few extra rolls of toilet paper visible, a hair dryer on the counter and a box of tissue. Many guests won’t feel comfortable looking for these items or asking for them, but will be relieved if they see them and can easily access them.
  4. If they are using a shared bathroom or even a private bathroom down the hall, consider leaving a set of clean bath towels, hand towels and face cloths folded neatly in their guest room. This way the guest will know what towels they can use and won’t feel uncomfortable having to ask for a guest towel if they forgot to bring their own. You may also consider going an extra step and leaving a guest robe and a pair of slippers for them to use.
Leaving towels and toiletries visible is a great way to avoid uncomfortable questions

Leaving towels and toiletries visible is a great way to avoid uncomfortable questions

Electronics and Entertainment

Often guests will have different sleep schedules than you, and this is especially true if they have traveled from another time zone. However, some guests will feel uncomfortable roaming around your house after you go to sleep, so it’s always a nice touch to offer some entertainment and amenities in their room.

Here are a few suggestions of different items you may want to make available in your guest room:

  • Consider a television at the very least with access to cable or satellite. If the TV doesn’t have a guide that’s easily accessible, it’s a nice touch to leave a guide with the channel listings.
  • One idea is to have a DVD or BluRay player attached to the television with a selection of movies in the room for them to choose from. This way, if they’re night owls they have something to watch other than infomercials.
  • It’s always a good plan to have an alarm clock available for their use. However, consider one that is a docking station for their smart phone. This way, they can listen to music over the speaker or wake up to their favorite song.
A welcome book with all the info they need can be reused over and over again

A welcome book with all the info they need can be reused over and over again

  • Since most guest rooms will have a queen sized bed, it’s a good plan to have a nightstand on each side of the bed with a reading lamp.
  • Just like beverages, consider a basket of snacks for them to enjoy. This is always a nice treat and it can include various items such as pretzels, chips, chocolate or even fresh fruit. Prior to their arrival, it’s often worth asking them if they have any snacks they particularly enjoy.
  • If budget allows, it’s a nice touch to have a folding ironing board and an iron available for their use.

The Attached Guest Bathroom

If the guest room has an attached and private bathroom, you’ll want to ensure it’s well stocked so that your guest won’t have to worry about asking you for an item if they forgot it or run out.

Here are a few tips to make sure their stay is as comfortable as possible:

Consider marked towels to make it easier for guests to feel comfortable

Consider marked towels to make it easier for guests to feel comfortable

  1. Have a selection of various sized towels neatly hung or folded in the bathroom.
  2. Have a new and packaged toothbrush by the sink with floss and a travel sized bottle of toothpaste.
  3. Have a small bowl of travel sized hand lotion, shampoo, and conditioner
  4. Place a new roll of toilet paper on the roll and extra rolls in a visible but discreet area.
  5. Consider placing a hair dryer on the counter for their use.
  6. You may want to place a laundry hamper that’s labeled ‘linens and towels’ so they know where to put their used guest towels before they leave.
  7. Ensure that the wastepaper basket is empty upon their arrival
A warm and inviting guest room with blackout curtains

A warm and inviting guest room with blackout curtains

Design and Decor of the Room

When you are furnishing the room, there really isn’t any steadfast rule on the colors you should choose or the art you should hang. The best advice is to allow the room to showcase your personality as their host and yet still keep the room comfortable and cozy.

Consider lighter paint colors like dove grays and light blues or creams. Furniture can be equally light, or you can use dark woods for some contrast or metal for a more contemporary look.

When it comes to art, it should be fairly simple. It’s a good idea to avoid using family pictures. Cityscapes or local art are great ways to show off your city or town and the use of raw materials or ornate lamps is a perfect way to introduce some character to the room.

A handwritten card is a nice touch to welcome guests to your home

A handwritten card is a nice touch to welcome guests to your home

If there is a large window with natural light, consider adding blackout curtains if the sun shines in during the early morning. If there isn’t much natural light, consider multiple lighting options using overhead lights, wall lamps, floor lamps and table lamps. The guest should ideally have some control over how light or dark the room is.

For linens, blankets and towels it’s a good plan to stick with light and neutral colors. Avoid using homemade quilts and stick with generic hotel-style linens and towels that will be comfortable for any guest to use.


The only role of a host is to ensure that the guest is comfortable. It’s a relatively simple and yet very difficult role for many. By using these tips and tricks you can help ensure the comfort of your guest, and make sure that any interaction is free of embarrassment or discomfort. What tips do you have to keep guest comfortable in the guest room?

Article Name
Interior Decor: Guest Bedroom Decorating Ideas
The ultimate guide to furnishing a guest room and tips for hosting guests overnight.
1 reply
  1. Joe says:

    Very nice guide. I don’t currently have the luxury of hosting guests in our current space, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to be able to do. Having a dedicated guest room is ideal and taking the time to make it so guests don’t *need* to ask for anything is the ultimate goal. I know most times I have stayed with friends, I have been most comfortable when I don’t need to bother them for these kinds of things!

Comments are closed.