How to prepare a guest room for Christmas – 5 festive tips, from cleaning to decorating

Perfect your holiday hosting with these steps to prepare a guest room for Christmas

A white panneled bedroom with a wooden single bed, adorned with white robin bedding, a green throw blanketm and a small teddy. Mince pies and milk sit on a nightstand beside.
(Image credit: Sophie Allport)

Guest bedrooms see more use during the last couple of months of each year than they do the rest of the year combined.

From Thanksgiving to the New Year we often have a constant influx of visitors coming through our homes – but how do you prepare a guest room for Christmas to make them feel at home during the busy holidays?

From adding things every guest room needs to stay organized to decorating with some bedroom Christmas decor for a festive touch, the experts do this to make their guests feel at home during the holidays.

How to prepare a guest room for Christmas

How you prepare the space may depend on how many guests are staying and how long they are staying, the basics are always the same – from common cleaning tips to ensuring guests have suitable storage and privacy.  

1. Clean guest spaces from top to bottom

A lasy using a cloth and spray to wipe down a make up desk

(Image credit: Getty Images)

No matter what time of year you have guests, working through a pre-guest cleaning checklist is important to ensure no corner is left dusty and no linens unwashed.

When it comes to guest spaces that you don’t use as frequently, such as bedrooms, Alicia Sokolowski, cleaning expert and founder of AspenClean reminds us to remove dust first, as it accumulates more quickly than you might think, even in rooms you don’t use. ‘You might clean your windows and mirrors regularly in the rooms you spend time in but forget about your guestrooms. So wipe them down to make sure they are streak-free and sparkling,’ she adds.

Once you have dusted, you can move on to cleaning the floors, using a vacuum cleaner to help remove all dirt and debris, as well as any dust that may have become dislodged when cleaning. ‘Mop hardwood floors or tiles using a natural floor cleaner, too,’ she adds.

‘Finally, for cleaners, try to choose green, eco-friendly ones,’ Alicia recommends. ‘It will be better for your and your guests' health, maybe your furry friends and the planet. Always check the labels and certifications (don't trust all the cute bunny symbols, for example).’

Dr. Bronner Almond Pure-Castile Soap | View at Amazon

Dr. Bronner Almond Pure-Castile Soap | View at Amazon
I love how this soap smells so much like Marzipan. It is perfect for use as an all-purpose cleaner around my home for a festive fragrance that gets me a step closer to my home smelling like a bakery.

Alicia Sokolowski
Alicia Sokolowski

Alicia is the President and Co-CEO at AspenClean. AspenClean provides all-natural, chemical-free cleaning services that have revolutionized the cleaning industry and changed the way people clean their homes. It was the first detergent to be certified by the EWG. With over 17 years of experience, Alicia specializes in creating a healthier, green alternative to chemical-based cleaning products and services.

2. Make space in storage for belongings

bedroom with wardrobe

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Whether organizing a small guest room or decluttering a guest suite, it is important to clear away some space in guest bedroom storage to allow guests to hang or fold clothes away during their stay – even if it is just for one night, reminds APDO's president & founder of Sorted! Siân Pelleschi:

‘Like at any time of the year, it’s important to let your guests feel welcome in their sleeping space. Declutter the space as much as possible and allow space for them to have both clothes and toiletries out (or put away) where possible.’

Siân Pelleschi
Siân Pelleschi

Siân Pelleschi is a decluttering and organizing addict. Since starting her business, she has completed over 1000 appointments working with a diverse range of clients from those with young families, downsizing, and bereaved to the neurodiverse and those with hoarding behaviors.

3. Wash guest bedding, even if it hasn't been used

Christmas bedroom

(Image credit: Furniture And Choice)

Guest linens that have been folded at the bottom of a cabinet or sat out on a bed unused can begin to smell musty over time, meaning doing laundry should be a priority on your to-do list, says Maria Mooney, cleaning expert at Truly Free. This also helps to eliminate dust mites that might set off guest allergies, she explains. 

‘The chilly Christmas season is the perfect time to add an extra layer of comfort to guest rooms, so be sure to have warm, cozy blankets and duvets for your guests to use and ensure they have a restful night of sleep. 

‘I recommend using a non-toxic laundry detergent like Truly Free’s Laundry Wash, available at Walmart, for the cleanest clean without exposing your guests to harmful chemicals and toxins.’ 

Maria Mooney
Maria Mooney

Truly Free has been a leading producer of eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products for family homes for over six years.

4. Add some festive touches

Christmas bedroom decor ideas with pink painted stripes on wall

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Bedrooms may be some of the more unexpected places in the home to decorate for Christmas, but adding a simple festive touch can make your guests' stay that little bit more magical, suggests Jamie Hord, professional organizer and founder of Horderly. 

His tip is to make sure you're not overdoing it in this space and only ‘sprinkling Christmas in so that it feels cozy and in spirit. Consider adding in a little tree with fairy lights, have lamps or sconces for all mood light options, and offer a scented holiday candle,’ he recommends.

For a truly nostalgic touch, add in a Christmas stocking at the end of the bed filled with goodies to welcome your guests in – a Christmas card, some self-care items such as relaxing face masks, sweet treats, and a pair of fluffy socks or slippers to use around the house makes for the perfect Christmas welcome.

For a luxury touch, consider personalizing the stockings for your guests to take home, too.

Personalized Knitted Stockings | View at Amazon

Personalized Knitted Stockings | View at Amazon
These custom-knitted stockings are a perfect simple gift for guests, ideal for filling with little treats or stay-over essentials

Jamie Hord professional organizer
Jamie Hord

Jamie is the co-founder of Horderly, a professional organizing company that brings order to countless homes and offices, from the most cluttered New York City apartments to some of the largest homes nationwide. The team's goal is to make their clients’ lives clutter-free, streamlined, and more functional.

5. Ensure guests have spare essentials on hand

A neutral bedroom with a grey padded headboard, and black and gold christmas decor and pillows

(Image credit: Furniture and Choice)

When staying in someone else's home, it is easy to feel awkward asking for some extra essentials, so ensure they are laid out ready for the guest to use as they need them, recommends professional organizer Jamie Hord. 

‘I like to offer two different types of pillow options on the bed and extra blankets available in case they want the extra layers and towels easily available,’ he shares. ‘A few other things to keep in mind when setting up a guest bedroom are a sound machine, phone charger, luggage rack, hooks for towels or a robe, a floor length mirror, and a hanging rod with empty hangers.’

A white bed with a white bedside table, topped with a lamp, a vase of red flowers, and a wrapped gift

(Image credit: The Fine Cotton Company)

Stephanie Deininger, professional organizer and founder of The Organized Flamingo, adds that it can be handy to also include a piece of paper with all the important info about the house such as the WiFi password and details about where to find other essentials around the home (such as the coffee maker, as well as instructions on how to use it). 

‘After all, this is not their home and they might know where things go or how to find something,’ she says. ‘Things I'd point out are WiFi login info, where they can get clean towels and place dirty items, and any special instructions on how to use a device or door. Give them answers to the questions they may feel embarrassed to ask directly.’

This is not just a good tip for getting your home guest ready for the holiday season, but year-round – such as preparing a guest room for Thanksgiving.  

Stephanie Deininger
Stephanie Deininger

 Stephanie has been helping businesses and people get organized for over 20 years. She is also a member of NAPO National and NAPO Colorado Chapter (National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals).


Should you give a gift to a host at Christmas?

When going to someone else's house for Christmas, it is customary to take a gift, both to help celebrate the season and as a token of your appreciation for hosting, be it for the evening or a few days. Consider giving a traditional gift and bringing something for the Christmas meal.

How long should a guest stay at a house?

How long a guest stays with a host will depend on the guest's relation and the occasion they are visiting for. A safe rule of thumb is to only stay for around three days, however, especially during busy seasons such as the holidays to avoid treading on the host family's toes.

It is not just your guest rooms you need to spruce up and prepare for incoming guests. It is also a good idea to prepare an entryway for Christmas guests to make welcoming friends and family a seamless experience and get a kitchen ready for hosting too, for perfect nights in with tasty homemade dishes without added stress. 

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.