By Jennifer Ebert published
These smart guest bedroom ideas are perfect for when you're preparing for holiday arrivals or just a long-awaited visit from family or friends.
A trick often missed when revamping a guest room is to make it feel as comfortable as other rooms in the house. Whether you want the space to feel bright, soothing, spacious or cozy, always put comfort first.
Be daring and use patterns, or snug dark tones, and add cushions and layer fabrics.
Susie Watson, founder of Susie Watson Designs, says: 'A guest bedroom should feel like a home from home, and during the winter months warmth is key. You can create a cozy space by layering colors and textures, using cushions, quilts, throws and lamps.'
So whether you’re after quick tricks that you can pull off in an afternoon or are in need of ideas and inspiration for a complete guest room revamp, we’ve come up with a host of bright bedroom ideas that we think will inspire you.
Guest bedroom ideas
1. Use the right lighting in a guest room
Good lighting is just as important in a guest bedroom as it is in a master bedroom.
When it comes to planning a guest bedroom, smart bedroom lighting ideas should not be an afterthought.
‘Bedrooms are all about creating atmosphere and mood lighting plays a key role,’ says interior designer Nicky Dobree.
‘It’s important to have layers of lighting, with a good reading lamp by the bed a must – it’s so frustrating to climb into bed then find you’re not able to read.’
If your room lacks floor or table space, consider having one hung on the wall instead.
2. Make your guests feel welcome
To ensure your guests feel welcome on arrival, clean the room, light a candle or use a diffuser, leave out clean towels and a few toiletries, or add a vase of fresh flowers, as shown in the bohemian bedroom idea above.
‘You’re creating a hotel feel, which is always a lovely treat,’ says Hotelier Julia Hands. ‘Make sure there’s a plug point for chargers and hairdryers too.’
For Julia, it is all about the welcome: ‘As an hotelier, it’s the only chance you have to make sure guests feel instantly relaxed and at home. A hand-written note on the bed always goes a long way, alongside fresh flowers, scented candles and magazines.’
Interior designer Nicky agrees: ‘It’s the small details that count. As a guest you want to feel welcome, so arriving in a room that’s been specially prepared for you is wonderful.’
3. Give your guest bedroom a dual-purpose
‘Spare rooms can often become a dumping ground,’ says Nicky. ‘Try not to let that happen by having good storage.’
Look to clever bedroom storage ideas and solutions, such as under-bed boxes, wall-hung cabinets, baskets, and even hooks. These are all great ways of containing clutter.
If designing the room from scratch, go for a bed with drawers and a traditional blanket box if space allows.
4. Choose the best mattress to suit different people
‘The bed is the most important item,’ says Nicky, ‘so it needs to have a good mattress. Choose one that is medium-firm, enabling guests to sleep comfortably in most positions. There is nothing worse than sleeping on a mattress that feels as if it has been slept on by many others.’
5. Establish the bathroom sharing etiquette
Always put clean towels in your guests’ room.
‘Establish a schedule of who likes to shower in the morning or have a bath at night,’ explains Nicky, ‘and everyone should leave the bathroom clean when they’re finished.’
6. Give a guest room a luxe look
If you're wondering how to decorate a guest bedroom and it’s sophistication you’re after, a statement headboard covered in a bold patterned fabric is a great starting point.
Introducing vibrantly colored walls and tactile fabrics to the mix is a good way to intensify the luxurious feel of the scheme.
7. Turn a guest room into a home office when not in use
It’s practical for an infrequently used guest room to double as a home office.
If you're wondering how to arrange a small bedroom that doubles as an office, the key is a well-proportioned sofa bed that will sit back against a wall when not in use. For a restful feel, ensure the room isn’t overwhelmed by technology.
8. Merge the practical with the beautiful
Where space is tight, consider pieces such as swing-arm wall lights at either side of the bed to help keep the look streamlined.
Limiting the color palette to similar hues on walls, furniture and bedding is a visual trick that can be used if you're wondering how to make a small bedroom look bigger.
9. Give a plain guest room a colorful update
Use color to separate the guest room from the rest of the home. It is the perfect space to experiment, so do step out of your comfort zone when decorating this room.
A confident use of bold, block bedroom color ideas offset by flashes of pattern will create a sophisticated look that reflects the feel of a weekend away.
10. Conceal a mattress with layers of bedlinen
Have an unsightly bed frame on show? Hide it. Layering a sofa bed with luxurious oversized throws is one of those smart bed ideas that will not only provide a comfortable night’s sleep, but is also a good way to conceal the mattress frame.
11. Factor in multifunctional furniture in a small guest bedroom
Being the smallest bedroom, or having to do double duty, shouldn’t stop a guest room from being a well-functioning and comfortable space.
Smart small bedroom ideas, such as investing in multifunctional furniture, are essential if your guest bedroom is on the smaller side.
A sofa bed or desk that doubles as a dressing table allows the space to be easily transformed for overnight or weekend visitors.
12. Create a five-star look in your guest room
For the ultimate luxury bedroom for your guests, put together a scheme that resembles a first-class hotel suite.
Keep the hospitality element front of mind, and don't be tempted to create a space that's personal or idiosyncratic. Leave surfaces clutter-free, as guests will bring their own possessions.
13. Set up a space for dressing
When considering guest bedroom ideas, remember that no one enjoys living out of a suitcase, so guests will welcome somewhere convenient to hang clothes alongside plenty of shelf space.
Built-in wardrobes and dressing table ideas can neatly make use of space under a pitched roof, and mirrored doors have the effect of extending the space.
14. Use symmetry for a cohesive design
Simple bedroom ideas and design decisions can make a guest room work hard when two people are sharing.
In the picture above, the bedside table has two drawers, one for each guest, and the lamp divides the table top to mark a space for each person's bedtime reading, while the checks and stripes suit most tastes.
15. Opt for a well dressed guest room
'A guest bedroom provides the perfect opportunity to step a little outside of your comfort zone,' says Tiffany Duggan, director, Studio Duggan.
'Guests are likely to only be visiting for a relatively short time, and so we like to approach a space just as we would an eccentric boutique hotel; a patterned wallpaper with a feature headboard in a bold color always works particularly well.'
16. Decorate with a theme in mind
If you're hosting guests for the holidays, be sure to add a festive touch to the room.
Keep decorations more subtle and sophisticated than elsewhere in the house – it is, after all, a place to sleep – by maintaining a tight color scheme, such as green and silver.
17. Focus on the small details
Make sure your guest room doesn’t have a neglected ambience, and remember to hang pictures and mirrors, and add fresh or faux flowers to the room. Leaving reading material, like magazines or books, is also a lovely cozy gesture.
18. Enhance a small guest bedroom
A daybed is a good way to make rooms of limited dimensions seem bigger and ensure that they are working harder. Use a welcoming bright color, and finish with ambient accessories, like throws, books, flowers and art.
What should you have in a guest bedroom?
‘Apart from the bed and a bedside table, a guest room also requires somewhere to store – or at least hang – clothes, especially if guests are visiting for a party and need to hang a dress or suit before the event,’ says Hotelier Julia Hands.
‘If there isn’t space for a wardrobe, hooks with good-quality hangers serve well. More than two nights and I would say a wardrobe – even a small one – is a must, along with a comfy chair.’
Less is often more when it comes to guest bedrooms. Avoid furniture that looks intriguing, but is not practical. ‘I am not a fan of ticking clocks either,’ says Julia.
How do you style a guest bedroom?
‘When styling a guest bedroom, it is best to keep the decor simple and tasteful,’ explains designer Nicky Dobree.
It’s your home and you should feel happy and comfortable, but don’t forget it is you that they’ve come to see. The room should reflect you and your home but don’t over-personalize it with too many pictures and ornaments.
Irene Gunter, founder of Gunter & Co, suggests to ensure you use proper curtains or Roman blinds, and also to be punchier with pattern or color, adding: 'You can risk it in here.'
In small guest rooms, decorative options include choosing a neutral backdrop and then adding pattern and color, or taking a bolder step.
Interior designer Penny Morrison says: 'Dark lacquered walls are smart in a study and pictures stand out well against them. When the room turns into a guest bedroom, bright lampshades can be introduced to add color accents, alongside boldly patterned cushions and throws for extra coziness.'
What is the best color for a guest bedroom?
The best color for your guest bedroom is the one that makes you happy, and chimes in nicely with the rest of your home.
To recreate the individuality that a boutique hotel offers, don’t be afraid to push boundaries by mixing the bold and the bright in terms of color. For ultimate comfort, invest in sumptuous yet colorful bedlinen and choose accessories with character for depth of interest.
If you are after a calming color palette, a green bedroom is a great choice for your guests. Used to evoke a semblance of peace, serenity and tranquility, green is having something of a moment in 2021.
Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space.
Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.
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