4 things to consider when setting up your guest bedroom
You’ve just discovered you have house guests arriving in a few days. This may impact you in a couple of different ways.
If you’re easy going and tend to wing most things in life with minimal prior preparation, knowing guests are coming to stay will barely raise your heart rate.
Or, if you’re the type of person that likes order, structure, and everything to be in its place, it's more than likely, hearing you have guests arriving will bring on a heightened state of anxiety.
Whatever your outlook, there are ways to prepare for the imminent arrival of house guests that will minimise your stress levels AND ensure your guests have a comfortable stay.
Do you have a guest bedroom or a spare room?
Close to Christmas, Easter, or someone in your family’s significant birthday, guests may come to stay for a night or two (or more.) Anyone with a large family, or with family living either interstate or overseas (you may have seen less of the overseas friends and family during Covid) may already have a spare bedroom set up to welcome relatives without the need for too much rearranging.
But what if you don’t? What if your ’spare’ room doubles as an office, or a sewing room, a games room, or a storage room for all that excess ‘junk’ you don’t want to see every day.
Or, what if you’re a regular user of your guest bedroom because your partner is a heavy snorer and you’ve given up sharing the same bed every night of the week. Sleep is a non-negotiable biological necessity. Fact!
Thankfully, we don’t need the interior design skills of a Shaynna Blaze or Darren Palmer to magically transform a space into a comfortable and inviting guest bedroom. You just need a little prior preparation and planning.
Oh, and one small thing to consider when setting up your spare bedroom: How long do you want your guests staying?
The more comfortable they are, the longer they may stay. I’m not suggesting you don’t want to create the most comfortable environment for your overnight guests. Only you know how many nights you want Aunty Jean, the Smiths from New York, or your high school friend to stay.
But for the purpose of this story, let’s discuss the things you can do to create the perfect guest bedroom.
1. Provide a comfortable bed
Don’t go thinking just because the bed in the guest bedroom is not used often that an old cast-off bed will do. You want your guests waking up feeling rested and refreshed. Consider selecting a bed that is firm but comfortable.
The obvious question to ask here is what is your budget?
Remember, you don’t need to lose sleep over trying to select the right mattress, we can help there with our No BS guide to choosing a mattress.
How big is the room?
An ensemble is a good option because usually they are less bulky and come with a boxed base and spring mattress which easily adjust to the posture and weight of the sleeping person.
Who will be sleeping on it (mostly) – couples / singles / adults or children?
Once you have an idea of who will be sleeping on it the most, consider foam or pocket spring.
A mattress topper will make a firm mattress softer. And always provide a mixture of pillows (firm and soft.)
2. What additional furniture should you add to your guest room?
Make sure there is space for your guest to hang some of their clothes. A freestanding wardrobe or built in provides storage options and even if you use some of that space, clear some room for your guests. Provide a range of hanger options – for pants, dresses, and shirts. An over the door hanger, or hooks on the backs of doors can provide hanging space if a wardrobe doesn’t fit. (Or if the wardrobe is ‘full’ of your personal items.)
Consider a flat surface or a drawer for guests to empty their toiletry bag without it cluttering the room.
If staying for longer than one night, most guests prefer unpacking their luggage / weekend bag. Is there room to store the bag in the wardrobe? Or place it on a luggage rack? Consider purchasing a fold up luggage rack – it will take up minimal space when not in use and will be handy for accessing bags at the right height when in use.
Bedside table You can get creative here – storage boxes with a cloth thrown over work, or any medium height object. Check out Pinterest for inspiration if you’re stuck for ideas. Where possible add a lamp and preferably have at least one with adequate light to read by. Lamps provide softer lighting options for guests. They can be left on if going out in the evening, so your guests don’t need to stumble around in the dark when they come home.
You want your guests to be comfortable if they need to do work in the room. Or they may wish to play computer games? If there is adequate space, create a study nook by adding a desk or shelf with a chair. If there is no room for a desk, provide a tray table so they can sit up in bed and comfortably balance the laptop.
Iron and ironing board? Many households store these cumbersome items in the spare room – handy if your guests wish to iron something the night before.
3. Entertainment and appliances
There may not be much time for watching TV, but some guests may like to view the morning or evening news. If you’re adding a TV to the guest room– make sure to leave the remote easily accessible and any notes on how to stream shows (if you have streaming services.)
Do you have space for a comfortable chair for your guests to sit in?
Refreshment station. Do you want guests making tea or coffee in the room? Some guests might like a cuppa in their own room rather than coming into your kitchen and possibly waking the household.
Are you sharing Wi-Fi? If so, have the password access in a prominent place so they can refer to it easily.
An extra power board for charging items is thoughtful.
4. Be minimalistic with the Décor and accessories
Decide on your colour theme and stick to it. Keeping the tones neutral (hint: simple and tasteful) will cover both male and female guests. Continue the same colour theme with towels and face washers.
Keep the room clutter free. Do not go overboard with personal touches. Adding ‘a few’ personal touches will make your guests feel at home. But remember, your guest should not be overwhelmed or feel uncomfortable because you want to share your collection of nude paintings in the guest room! Nor do they need to see your 10-year collection of seashells on display. One or two select knick knacks is sufficient.
Your guests will want to put their phone, watch, glasses, or book down somewhere. Provide a keepsake dish you picked up on your travels which can double as a jewellery dish. Some fresh flowers add a nice personal touch. (Definitely no artificial ones – they are dust collectors.)
If there is an ensuite, consider providing complimentary toiletries. Your guest may have flown with carry-on luggage only and may have left theirs behind.
Curtains or blinds? Make sure they are easy to use, not falling apart and provide privacy from your neighbours and the early morning sun
Bedding should be clean and fresh. Maybe leave an extra blanket in the cupboard in case it is cooler for your guest, or place a throw on the bed, if you have air conditioning and the guest may find it too cold in the room.
With a little preparation you can create a guest bedroom that visitors will want to come back to. And somewhere you can occasionally escape to for your own little getaway!