20 Tips for Turning Your Guest Bedroom Into a Retreat

Expecting overnight guests? Steal style from boutique hotels to turn your spare bedroom into a five-star getaway.

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July 08, 2019

©Image Courtesy of Thibaut

©Image Courtesy of Thibaut

Photo By: Lauren Louise

Photo By: Sarah Busby; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Jill Bueddefeld

Photo By: Jonathan Rachman

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

Freshen Up

Fresh flowers are a must but creating an arrangement doesn't have to be a chore. Pick up a few bunches at the grocery store or local florist, snip the ends then plop them in a vase. Tulips are a natural choice because they're available year-round and their droopy shape lends itself to fuss-free arrangements.

Make It Plush

Create an environment that promotes a great night's sleep. Start with high-thread-count, 100% cotton sheets, then add a thick duvet and pile on lots of fluffy pillows.

Toss In a Throw

A cozy throw blanket, either folded neatly across the foot of the bed or casually tossed across, pops in a little extra color and will also come in handy on chilly nights.

Invite Them to Relax With a Good Read

Stock bedside tables with current magazines or books that are a quick read. Literary-minded guests will appreciate the chance to wind down after a long day of activities. Design by Sarah Richardson

No Guest Room, No Problem

Faking a guest bedroom is easier than you may think but skip the thin, camping-style air mattress. Instead, invest in a self-inflating mattress with a built-in frame or inflatable base to keep your guests up off the floor (and make getting in and out of the bed much easier). And be sure to top it with luxurious linens for added comfort. Use old suitcases or wooden crates to stack up a bedside table and layer in living plants to clean the air.

Get the How-To: Easily Craft a Designer-Worthy Breakfast-in-Bed Tray

Make Space in the Closet

If your guest bedroom closet has become overflow for items you no longer wear (too small, too big, out of style), consider this the perfect time to clean it out and donate or sell pieces you no longer want. Your guests will thank you for being able to hang up their clothes on arrival and long after your guests have left, you'll enjoy having a little more storage space of your own.

Don't Forget Your 4-Legged Guests

Pet parents will greatly appreciate thoughtful details, like a pet bed, treats and food/water dishes — all things they may have forgotten to pack or not had room for in their luggage.

Dress the Windows

Add inexpensive blinds, roller shades or ready-made draperies to any windows that aren't covered. A guest in your home is on vacation and will appreciate a dark room for sleeping in. If late nights are part of your plans, consider purchasing blackout drapes, which will more efficiently block out early morning sunlight.

What's the Wi-Fi Password?

It's a fact of modern life: Even on vacation, we really can't live without our phones. Save guests from asking this crucial question by printing the info onto card stock and framing it.

Add Bedside Lighting

Task lighting, like this adjustable desk lamp, allows night owls to enjoy a good book or catch up on email without disturbing the rest of the house. Design by Sarah Richardson

On the Clock

Ensure that guests don't miss any planned activities (or an early morning flight) by placing a small clock in their room. If the clock is a new purchase, test its noise level first by holding it close to your ear — no one wants to lie awake all night listening to tick-tock.

Create a Dressing Area

Shop the house to find items like a small table or desk and chair that can function as a vanity. Don't worry if they don't match; mismatched styles and finishes lend a collected-over-time look. Design by Sarah Richardson

Help Them Feel at Home

Use a deep basket to stash guest towels, a robe and extra blankets. Place it visibly in the room so guests have everything they need to freshen up on arrival.

Add a Mirror

Hang a small mirror in the guest room to provide a spot for touching up makeup or putting on jewelry. If space allows, a long dressing mirror is an even better addition.

Let Them Help Themselves

Take a cue from five-star hotels and stock the guest room with mugs, a teapot and small packets of coffee and tea so guests can help themselves to a warm cup whenever they'd like. Design by Sarah Richardson

Put Even the Smallest Spaces to Work

Designer Layla Palmer turned an underused bathroom into this sunny (and super cute!) guest room. Just 6'x6', the former bathroom was too small for a full-size bed but just right for a daybed and nightstand, perfect for a visiting child or single adult.

No Nightstand, No Problem

Don't rush out to buy new furniture if your guest bedroom is missing a few pieces — just improvise. Designer Erinn Valencich brought in a weathered garden step to serve as a bedside table. Its rustic patina adds charm while the steps create display space.

Stock the Necessities

Everyone forgets to pack at least one thing when they travel. Cover their bases by stocking dresser drawers with a few travel-size essentials.

Provide Healthy Snacks

A low dish of apples not only adds a pop of color; it also puts healthful snacks within guests' easy reach. Best of all, this light snack won't ruin their appetite for dinner.

Make It Personal

If your overnight guests are family or close friends, it's always a nice touch to display photos of happy times spent together; everyone enjoys a trip down memory lane. Photo courtesy of Erin Southwell

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