I'm an interior designer – and this is how I style an inviting guest bedroom

From color scheming inspiration to small but thoughtful touches, these are the steps I take to make guests feel comfortable and welcomed

Bedroom with bed, bedside table, lamp and bench
(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

Guest bedrooms tend to be a little neglected when we update our interiors through the seasons. 

With Easter fast approaching, a time when you may be welcoming friends and family to stay, I have rounded up my top tips on how to style and decorate a guest bedroom to be practical, welcoming and a little luxurious – minus the effort and expense! 

1. Declutter your guest room

Storage trunk in bedroom

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

Guest bedroom ideas need to feel refined yet relaxing, welcoming and not overly fussy. Decluttering and rethinking bedroom storage ideas will keep clutter to a minimum. 

Pay particular attention to luxurious textiles, the right lighting and thoughtful touches – for me, these are the most important components to a serene guest bedroom. 

2. Layer fabrics for comfort

Pink room ideas

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

When it comes to layering textiles, my motto is ‘more is more’. Layering different textures, fabrics and materials, not only provides visual interest, but they also bring a sense of luxury and comfort to a guest bedroom. 

That is not to say you must layer multiple patterns and colors if that’s not to your taste. You can still build your soft furnishings in neutral, earthy tones, using interesting textures and natural materials to really bring the scheme to life. 

3. Let rugs inspire a new color scheme

Bedroom with rustic wooden walls and bed with decorative green bedspread

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

A rug is a great starting point when creating your guest bedroom scheme. Bedroom rug ideas are my go-to quick fix for elevating any room – not only do they add color and texture, but they are also a practical choice if you need to soften hardwood floors and bring warmth underfoot. 

In the colder months, opt for a deeper pile rug, and as we approach Spring you may want to switch this out for a woven wool or jute rug – as natural insulators these materials work well all year round too. 

A rug also provides the base for your bedroom color ideas – identify your favorite colors in the rug and carry these through your soft furnishings, lampshades and art work for a calm and cohesive finished look.

4. Style up the bed

Bedroom with bed, bedside tables and lamps and bench

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

The bed is a crucial part of any guest bedroom. An abundance of cushions and coordinating throws are, in my opinion, key to making a guest bedroom feel inviting and sumptuous. 

I love to layer bedspreads – one with a textural design and subtle colors and another in bolder tones and vivid patterns, such as a Kantha or Suzani. 

Try styling the bed with two pairs of matching cushions – opt for stronger tones in either a larger-scale print or block color at the back and then use smaller-scale prints and softer tones in front. Don’t be scared to use pattern in a guest room – florals, geometrics and stripes work wonderfully together if color is used in a clever way. 

5. Limit the color scheme

bedside table and bed and lamp

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

Choose two core accent color ideas in varying shades and introduce a third accent color which features more than once in a room – here the pink in our Piazza Block Printed Cushions coordinates with the Ziggurat Rug, bringing unity to this blue and green scheme.

6. Use lighting purposefully

bedside table, lamp and bed

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

Designing a guest bedroom is all about creating restful moments. Getting the bedroom lighting ideas right is key to achieving this and for creating a welcoming ambience. 

Bedrooms need soft light for bedtime, task lighting for reading and also brighter light options. Different light layers can be achieved using light from different sources – wall lights, bedside lamps and perhaps wall mounted task lights. 

Bedside lighting ideas are particularly important in a guest bedroom – not only do they serve purpose in providing a warm glow, but they are also great tools for bringing a scheme seamlessly together. 

I often coordinate my lampshades to the prints and colors used throughout the room – try a statement lampshade for a fun pop of color. For a more pared back look, opt for a matching pair of lamp bases and lampshades – this will create balance in the bedroom. 

Or if your taste is more eclectic, choose mismatched lamps and lampshades but be sure to coordinate your colors to create visual harmony. In this room, I have chosen to coordinate the Rattan Lamp base to the Rattan Headboard, giving the interior a rustic, artisanal finish. 

7. Add thoughtful finishing touches

dark blue guest room bedroom with rattan headboard, artwork, Scandi style side table, table lamp, patterned bedding, blue cushion and blanket

(Image credit: Birdie Fortescue)

Thoughtful, final touches are important in guest bedrooms which may have a tendency to feel a little cold and empty, owing to the fact that they aren't filled with personal ephemera. 

Practical additions such as a carafe of water, and considerate accessories will help the room feel lived in and make your guests feel at home. Use decorative pieces to inject personality into your guest bedroom – well chosen magazines, a scented candle or interesting sculptures. 

I always love to complete a guest bedroom with a vase of fresh, garden flowers on a nightstand – they always bring the outside in with a wonderful, natural scent – known to have a calming effect.

Discover more from Birdie at Birdie Fortescue.

Birdie Fortescue
Contributing Editor

Birdie’s creative journey started when she worked at Percy Bass, an interiors shop and design service on Walton Street.  Birdie then went on to join Imogen Taylor’s team at Sibyl Colefax & John Fowler’s old premises in Mayfair. Many buying trips later and with a decorative antiques course from the V&A Museum under her belt, Birdie decided to set up her own antiques business. Establishing the business in Norfolk in 2014, Birdie initially focused on sourcing homeware from Scandinavia, pieces that weren’t easily found in the UK, before creating her own designs. Birdie writes for Homes & Gardens about interior design.