Guest bedroom ideas – 25 ways perfectly styled spaces for friends and family

These guest bedroom ideas are designed for super-stylish sleepovers, whether your space is dedicated to friends' stays or doubles up as something else

Guest bedroom ideas
(Image credit: Future / Brent Darby)

Our elegant guest bedroom ideas are perfect, whether you're keeping a room ready for surprise drop-ins, 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 with all your bedroom ideas.

Be daring and use patterns, or snug dark tones, and add cushions and layer fabrics. 

Susie Watson, founder of Susie Watson Designs (opens in new tab), 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.'

And in summer, ensure it's airy and cool. Guest bedrooms are all about making sleepovers comfortable.

Guest bedroom ideas

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 guest bedroom ideas that we think will inspire you.

1. Ensure guests' comfort is a priority

bedroom with taupe colorscheme and double bed with chaise armchair

(Image credit: Nate Sheets Photo)

We all want to sleep better, but as a guest, not getting enough good quality sleep is a worry, whether that be an unfamiliar mattress or an over-heated room. So, work to ensure that not only the bed is comfortable, but that the entire space is sleep-inducing.

'Whether it’s the spare room or a sofa in the living room, the area should be clean and cool, and guests should be able to make it as dark as possible,' informs Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, Silentnight (opens in new tab)’s sleep expert. 'If you don’t have blackout curtains, why not get them an eye mask ahead of their stay?'

2. Ensure the guest room is squeaky clean

Luxury bedroom with decorating bedding, ceiling light and curtains

(Image credit: Future / Chris Everard)

'Whether your door has stayed closed, the children have been den making, or it’s become a glorified laundry room, your guest room will need a good clean and sort out,' says Jo James, founder of Bedfolk (opens in new tab)

Cleaning a bedroom before guests arrive might need to be thorough if the room isn't used much for sleeping. 'Give all soft furnishings a wash, dust surfaces and bookcases, clear up any clothes, vacuum the carpet, open a window and make the bed up with fresh bed linen,' continues Jo. Airing the room well is a must, too.

'Preparation is more important than ever post-pandemic – bedrooms and bathrooms can be hotbeds for germs, so making sure you are taking precautions and cleaning regularly and efficiently between guests is essential at this time,' says James Montgomery-Castle, Soak&Sleep (opens in new tab)’s in-house Sleep Expert. 'There are some simple things you can do to make your life easier when hosting guests, like using mattress protectors, duvet protectors and pillow protectors which means you can really deep clean your spare bed when your guests go home.'

3. Invest in new bedding

Pink and white stripped wall, grey bed head

(Image credit: Olivine Design/photographer credit: Simon Brown)

'Reward your cleaning efforts with some luxurious bed sheets that will wrap visitors in comfort and calm,' explains Jo James. 'No-one enjoys sleeping on scratchy or worn out sheets that have been on the main bed for 10 years before being relegated to the guest room. An added bonus to perfect bedding is that your guests may feel so comfortable that they miss breakfast – extra sleep for you!

'A hotel style percale cotton is ideal to extend a real feeling of hospitality. It has a crisp and cool quality that you find in boutique hotels, making it an absolute hit with guests.'

4. Layer up for coziness

bedroom with grasscloth wallcovering and bed with patterned headboard

(Image credit: Rachael Smith)

Knowing how to style a bed with beautiful cushions and covers isn't just about aesthetics, but practicalities, too. Not everyone sleeps at the same temperature during the night. Cater to everyone’s needs and make your guest bedroom extra comfortable and easily personalized by layering the bed with blankets, throws, and pillows. Guests can then tailor the bed to their liking and personal comfort.

Different bedding styles can also feel different in terms of warmth so it’s worth knowing what will suit your room or home. Percale cotton is cooler to the touch and is suited to hot sleepers, whilst sateen cotton has a naturally heavier drape, making it ideal for those that feel cold in the night. The addition of a natural linen sheet can satisfy both sides of the camp as it is a natural insulator to trap more heat under a duvet at the same time as being temperature regulating and comfortable to sleep under on its own.

5. Use the right lighting in a guest room

An example of guest bedroom ideas showing a blue bed with a blue and white patterned headboard

(Image credit: Future / Jake Curtis)

Good lighting is just as important in a guest bedroom as it is in a master bedroom.

When it comes to decorating 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 (opens in new tab)

‘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.

6. Make your guests feel welcome

A bed with a gray and white patterned headboard and yellow bedding next to a black bedside table

(Image credit: Future / Dan Duchars)

To ensure your guests feel welcome on arrival, 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.’

'It’s the little touches that really make the difference. Calming bedside lights rather than a glaring bright overhead light,' says Jo James. 'A carafe of water with glasses on the bedside and a towel on the end of the bed. Storage if guests are staying for longer than one night will help them live in organized harmony. Bathroom spares for forgotten essentials. A flickering candle on a nightstand to relax and aid good sleep, books and magazines to help them wind down well and a universal phone charger to avoid the dreaded dead battery – these touches will make guests feel welcome as soon as they arrive.'

7. Give your guest bedroom a dual-purpose

An example of guest bedroom ideas showing a white bed built into an alcove next to shelving

(Image credit: Future / Carolyn Barber)

‘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. 

8. Choose a mattress to suit different people

An example of guest bedroom ideas showing a four poster bed with green and white bedding and pictures on the wall

(Image credit: Future / Brent Darby)

Finding the best mattress to suit all-comers is vital to ensuring your guest bedroom is comfortable.

‘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.’

9. Establish the bathroom sharing etiquette

An example of guest room ideas showing a marble bathroom with a blue rolltop bath

(Image credit: Future / Brent Darby)

Not all guest bedrooms have ensuites, but you can make your guests feel comfortable by putting clean towels in their room and making it clear when they are welcome to use the bathroom. 

‘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.’ 

10. Give a guest room a luxe look

An example of guest room ideas showing a blue wall behind a bed with an orange and white headboard and white wall lamp

(Image credit: Future / Damian Russell)

If you're wondering you can give your guest bedroom ideas a boost and it’s sophistication you’re after, headboard ideas are the way to go; a 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. 

11. Turn a guest room into a home office when not in use

A guest room which doubles as an office space with orange throws on the beds

(Image credit: Future / Mark Bolton)

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 to look at bedroom layout ideas with a desk or even bedroom office ideas. Hidden desk ideas or a well-proportioned sofa bed that will sit back against a wall when not in use are all clever ways to create a double-up space. For a restful feel, ensure the room isn’t overwhelmed by technology. 

12. Merge the practical with the beautiful

An example of guest room ideas showing a blue paneled wall behind a bed with a navy blue headboard and a monochrome throw

(Image credit: Future / Emma Lee)

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

13. Give a plain guest room a colorful update

An example of guest bedroom ideas showing a maroon wall behind a bed with a wooden headboard

(Image credit: Future / Alexander James)

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. 

14. Conceal a mattress with layers of bedlinen

An example of guest bedroom ideas showing a bed with pink bedding and cushions, and a headboard made out of hanging cushions

(Image credit: Future / Carolyn Barber)

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. 

15. Factor in multifunctional furniture in a small guest bedroom

A wooden dressing table with an upholstered stool in front of patterned wallpaper

(Image credit: Future / Jan Baldwin)

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. 

16. Create a five-star look in your guest room

A large bedroom with a white bed, and a lounge area with chairs, a coffee table and a large ceiling light

(Image credit: Future / Richard Powers)

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.

17. Set up a space for dressing

A bedroom with a gray wardrobe and dressing table with a stool

(Image credit: Future / Emma Lewis)

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.

18. Use symmetry for a cohesive design

Twin single beds with gray and white bedding and two round mirrors above

(Image credit: Future / Jan Baldwin)

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.

19. Opt for a well dressed guest room

A pink bed with white bedding in front of floral wallpaper

(Image credit: Trove by Studio Duggan)

'A guest bedroom provides the perfect opportunity to step a little outside of your comfort zone,' says Tiffany Duggan, director, Studio Duggan (opens in new tab)

'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.'

20. Decorate with a theme in mind

Gray twin beds in front of white, gray and green floral wallpaper

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

Twin bedroom ideas are useful if you regularly host guests that don't want to share a room. Shared bedrooms can feel disunited, so follow our tips above about symmetry, but also look at giving the room a decor theme, and add personal touches to make it feel welcoming – if you're hosting guests for the holidays, for example, 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.

21. Focus on the small details

An example of guest bedroom ideas showing a colorful bedroom with a bed with a rattan headboard in front of colorful floral wallpaper

(Image credit: Future)

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.

22. Enhance a small guest bedroom

An example of guest bedroom ideas showing a red sofa bed with cushions in front of a white wall with hanging artwork

(Image credit: Future / Carolyn Barber)

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.

23. Put the focus on comfort

How to decorate a guest bedroom illustrated by a red and white canopy bed with blue walls and drapes.

In your zeal to be creative in every other area of your home, don’t forget the guest bedroom, says Irene Gunter, founder of Gunter & Co (opens in new tab)

‘To make it inviting, think about texture. Fabric walling doesn’t have to cost a fortune and will transform the space, making it look sophisticated while feeling cosy and warm.’ By the same token, use proper Roman blinds or curtains. Also be a bit punchier with pattern or colour. ‘You can risk it here,’ says Irene.

Make sure the guest room doesn’t have a neglected ambience, by hanging as many pictures as you’d have in your own bedroom. Details such as fresh flowers – or even superior quality faux flowers – will make the spare room look ready for action if any last-minute guests arrive. Thoughtful furniture additions will make all the difference, too.

Above, Emily Todhunter of Todhunter Earle (opens in new tab) has placed a vintage daybed in the window alcove, while a sofa stands at the foot of the bed. ‘When staying with someone, it’s a bonus if there is a comfortable armchair or sofa,’ says Emily. ‘It creates a lovely place to read, nap or take in a beautiful view.’

24. Invest in plenty of storage

Bedroom storage

(Image credit: Barlow and Barlow)

No one enjoys living out of a suitcase, so guests will welcome somewhere convenient to hang clothes alongside plenty of shelf space. Here, a built-in wardrobe and dressing table neatly make use of the space under a pitched roof, and mirrored doors have the effect of extending the space. 

Bear in mind that not everyone will want to share a double bed, so consider who stays regularly, and browse twin bedroom ideas or shared bedroom ideas for other options.

25. Leave shoes at the door

Shoe rack in a bedroom

(Image credit: Future / James Balston)

Encourage your guests to kick back and leave their shoes and the door, ideally swapping to slippers or bed socks. There is some evidence that germs can spread on the soles of shoes so you don’t want them being padded through your home. Instead, have simple shoe storage ideas, such as a basket at the front door or outside the room, where shoes can be left and welcome your guests with their indoor footwear.

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 (opens in new tab)

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 (opens in new tab), 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 (opens in new tab) 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.' 

An example of guest bedroom ideas showing a green wall behind a bed with black and white bedding

(Image credit: Little Greene)

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 this year.

How do you decorate a small guest bedroom?

If you're limited for space in your guest room and are looking for small bedroom ideas, a daybed is a good way to make rooms of limited dimensions seem bigger. They also provide a little extra small bedroom storage - ensuring that the room is working harder, too. In this scheme , interior designer Natalia Miyar (opens in new tab) has used an elegant palette accented with vibrant pattern to bring energy and freshness to the room. 

The linens you choose can make a difference, too. ‘In small guest rooms, dispense with a substantial bedspread. Use a thin pique design instead, which doubles up as a blanket. It means you don’t have to find somewhere to store a spare quilt,’ recommends interior designer Nina Campbell.

How do you make a guest room cozy?

A trick often missed when revamping a spare room is to make it feel as comfortable as other rooms in the house. Add cushions and layer fabrics, or carve out a snug sleeping area and decorate with dark, cosseting tones. If the room layout is narrow and you need learn how to arrange a small bedroom, a single bed might slide in horizontally under a window. Then one option is to hang a curtain at each end of the bed, creating an alcove. 

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.