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If there’s one room that absolutely needs to be welcoming when you have friends and family over to visit, it’s your guest room. While the communal areas of your home should, of course, also be comfortable, for those staying the night, it’s vital that the guest bedroom is a welcoming space, allowing visitors to relax, enjoy some alone time, and store their belongings in.
But if we’re being honest, for those of us lucky to have a guest room to spare, this space usually also doubles as an essential storage spot – holding items that we want to keep hold of, but that we don’t need immediate access to on a daily basis. In fact, that’s why there are a few items every guest room needs to stay organized!
As such, arranging the storage in a guest room is one of the most important considerations when it comes to making the room warm, inviting, and actually usable for guests.
5 guest room storage mistakes to avoid – to make the room feel more inviting
So what mistakes should you avoid in this space, in order to ensure visitors feel at home? This is what the experts, from professional organizers to interior designers, had to say.
1. Storing too many personal items
Though your guest room can be an incredibly useful storage space for any excess or lesser-used items, storing said items in this space could make some guests uncomfortable.
'Storing off-season or rarely used items in your guest room closets can leave your guests feeling like they're intruding, or are an afterthought,' interior designer Artem Kropovinsky, founder of Arsight, warns. 'Instead, dedicate the guest room closet to guests. And if you want to put something in there, keep it sparsely filled with essential items like extra blankets or hangers.'
Some experts suggest that, if you have space to do so, it’s better to store your personal items out of the way of guests when they stay in your guest bedroom. Interior designer Selena Lewis, of Selena Lewis Designs, says, 'if it can be avoided, I would not store personal belongings in the guest room, especially if you would possibly need to access those items while a guest was staying. When you have a guest staying, you want the guest room to feel like “their space.”'
However, if this isn’t possible, try to make some adjustments in order to make them feel more relaxed, professional organizer Heather Aiello, founder of The Organized You, says.
'Firstly, make sure you are not storing anything in the guest room that you don’t want the guest to see – this seems obvious, but it isn’t always! Similarly, clear at least half the closet for the guest to use.
'And if this isn’t an option, at least use stacking decorative bins or baskets with lids for your belongings, to deter people from looking inside, or to stop them feeling like they are intruding. These can also easily be moved to a corner in the room and still look nice,' she says.
Heather Aiello is the founder of home organizing company in the Boston area, The Organized You. She believes in creating solutions that you can live with when she and her team leave your home – her goal is to develop a customized solution for you to maintain now and in the future. She is also a member of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and various Boston area business groups.
2. Going overboard with storage solutions
It’s a great idea to provide as much storage as possible in your guest room, to ensure that your family and friends are able to settle into the space properly. But there is such a thing as too much storage – and this could be detrimental to the overall feel of the space.
'In a bid to provide storage solutions, one might go overboard with shelves, cabinets, and racks,' Artem explains. 'Negative space, instead, when used appropriately, gives the eye a place to rest and can make a room feel more balanced.'
As such, he suggests, 'instead of filling every nook and cranny, integrate versatile storage solutions that blend with the room's décor.'
This might include essentials only, such as a nightstand, and visible shelving, which means guests won’t need to root around in closed closets or drawers. 'A nightstand with some storage, be it a drawer or a shelf, provides guests a handy place for their basics,' Artem says. 'And skip the bulky bookcases and mount straightforward shelves on the walls. They save room and serve a dual purpose: holding guest items or displaying a couple of ornaments.'
3. Focusing on decor over storage practicality
'People want to make their guest room inviting by decorating it – and often, they ignore the function that makes one’s stay enjoyable and relaxing,' Heather Aiello explains. So while making the space look sleek, stylish and Instagram-ready is a worthy goal, make sure it's not done at the expense of guests' practical requirements.
Heather explains that nightstands cluttered with decor, for example, can be highly impractical.
'Everyone needs a place to plug in and leave their cell phone, PC, Kindle, etc. Knick knacks add a decorative touch, but they’re just not functional. Instead, you might want to have items here for their use, like a docking station, a power strip, and universal chargers so people can plug in,' Heather told us.
The same applies to desks. Instead of styling them with extra accessories, Selena says, 'if you are storing an extra desk in your guest room, make it useful. Place a mirror on top so it can be utilized as a vanity for your guests to get ready. Or, make sure the desktop is clear so guests can work at the desk if needed.'
Broken furniture that looks pretty, but that has no purpose, is also a big no-no. Heather explains, 'you might have an old dresser that belonged to Grandma, but that is broken and just not functional anymore.' If this is the case, it’s time to rethink your bedroom storage – no matter how aesthetically pleasing or sentimental it may be.
Interior designer Selena Lewis is the founder of Selena Lewis Designs, which is located in Atlanta, Georgia. She and her team love creating comfortable and beautiful spaces for their customers in a functional way that emphasizes how they operate as a family or household.
4. Not allowing a storage space for luggage
It’s likely that your guests will have a suitcase – or at least, a bag – full of their belongings. As such, it’s a mistake to not consider where they might store said luggage during the duration of their stay.
'Adding a luggage rack can really help,' Heather suggests. 'A luggage rack serves a dual purpose; it can assist when unpacking/packing and can be used as a storage tool. It is also easy to store and won’t create additional clutter to the room when your guest has left.'Foldable wooden and metal luggage racks by Hearth & Hand at Target are handy for getting guest rooms ready and they fold flat.
Similarly, it’s important to consider that your guest room needs adequate floor space, to allow your guest to move their suitcase around without issue. So if you have too much furniture or clutter taking up the floorspace, consider also how this might be impractical for guests.
5. Not choosing multi-purpose furniture
As mentioned, one of the main things that is likely to make your guest room feel less warm and inviting is if the room holds too much clutter, or lots of your personal items.
As such, one of the biggest guest room storage mistakes you can make (especially in small guest rooms) is not using multipurpose furniture; be it ottoman beds with storage underneath, pouffes with hidden storage, and desks that double up as bookcases.
These pieces will allow you to stash away any personal belongings while guests are round, without needing to move them to another room. Similarly, they’re also handy for keeping such belongings hidden from view – so if you have items that you want to keep private, solutions like these are a must-have.
How do you make a guest room luxurious?
Arranging the storage in your guest room properly is one thing, but making the room comfortable, inviting and luxurious in your decor choices is also important.
When decorating a guest room that will feel warm and inviting, Artem advises steering clear of using too much themed decor. 'While it might be tempting to style your guest room around a specific theme or trend, it can sometimes make the space feel more like a hotel than a home.
'Instead, keep décor neutral and add personal touches, such as a carefully curated selection of books, or art that holds significance.'
It can also be a great idea to add cozy touches that will make the room feel like a home away from home for visitors. This might include a candle, a bottle of water, or even a tea or coffee-making station, if you have the room. For an extra touch of luxury, you could even leave snacks for your guests, or additional toiletries.
Finally, little touches of cleanliness and comfort will make the biggest difference when it comes to making a room feel luxurious for guests. Before they arrive, make sure that you've put on fresh bedding (plain white sheets are always a good choice), ensure that you have the best mattress for a guest room, that there’s a new bag in the trash can, and that you’ve given the space a thorough dust and vacuum.
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Amy Hunt is a freelance lifestyle writer and editor primarily covering homes and interiors, wellness, travel and careers. She was previously Lifestyle Editor at woman&home, commissioning and editing the homes, books and features sections of the website,
In 2019, she won the AOP Digital Journalist of the Year Award, for her work on womanandhome.com. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, she has contributed to a range of publications including Ideal Home, Livingetc, T3,Goodto, Woman, Woman’s Own, and Red magazine.
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