Special Touches That Make Guests Feel Welcome

Ten designers share their best etiquette and decorating tips to ensure your overnight visitors will feel pampered from the moment they arrive.


Your Hotel Away From Home

Soft, touchable texture and a neutral palette help to make this space a soothing haven, but designer Jeff Andrews recommends taking the guest room even further: "It should be on par with any luxury hotel, with great bedding, fluffy towels, a white robe, bathroom amenities, a good television, and even wireless internet."

Give Them Flowers

In this cozy guest bedroom by designer Laura Umansky, a canopy bed provides both extra privacy and a touch of romance — but it’s only one of many special touches. "I like to place a small flower arrangement in the room on the day of arrival," she says. "It gives the room a nice pop of color and makes it smell great!"

A Little R&R

A plush sitting area, complete with a breathtaking view, is the main attraction in this spacious guest room by designer Kristi Nelson. "Providing guests with a place they can go to relax, read, listen to their own music or watch their favorite television programs is a benefit for all," she says.

Put Color First

Designer Kristi Nelson also pays particular attention to the color palette when decking out a guest room. "Color is where emotion and energy live so it’s the first and best way to create exactly the ambience you wish to establish for guests," she explains.

Let Location Be Your Guide

Take your home’s location into consideration when planning your guest room. Here, designer Lauren Porter infused this bright space with pops of playful orange and turquoise to give it a coastal feel appropriate for its waterfront locale. Her mission was simple: "I wanted it to feel like a hotel room on a tropical island."

Comfort, Function and Fantasy

According to designer Jill Sorensen, comfort, function and fantasy are all you need for a pleasing guest retreat. She accomplishes that here thanks to plush twin beds, thick drapery and a fanciful burst of turquoise courtesy of the campaign chest-turned-nightstand.

Lighting Is Vital

While the star of this room is the handsome four-poster bed, designer Jennifer Dyer is quick to recognize an often-underappreciated key player. "Having adequate lighting is vital," she says. "There’s nothing worse than a room that’s too dark. Make sure you have bedside lamps for reading that you can switch on or off separately from the overhead lighting. This creates a dreamy ambience."

Beautiful Bedding

When it comes to bedding in a guest room, designer Frances Herrera likes to keep things simple, opting for hotel-style sheets and duvets with a simple coverlet on top that can be switched out from guest to guest for a fresh look. "It’s nice to be able to personalize the room depending on who will be staying in it—from bright pink to floral or a fun chevron," she says.

Balance Masculine and Feminine

"The standing wall mirror is not just functional, but it serves as a piece of art," says designer James Wheeler of the standout element in his glamorous, moody-blue guest room. "The curved lines add a feminine touch to a predominately masculine interior."

Give Them a Gift

While building a solid design foundation is important to designer Abbe Fenimore, she learned her best guest etiquette from her grandmother. "I love leaving small gifts on the bed for each guest," she says. "It’s a personal touch that lets them know you are glad they are there! Growing up, my grandmother always left something fun for us on our pillows when we visited. I couldn’t wait to run back to the room to see what it was!"