30 Tips for Turning Your Guest Bedroom Into a Retreat

Whether you're expecting overnight guests this weekend or months from now, be the host with the most with our tips.

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April 07, 2020

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

Photo By: Lauren Louise

Photo By: Robert Peterson, Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Jill Bueddefeld

©Image Courtesy of Thibaut

Photo By: Brittney Gazaway; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: Jonathan Rachman

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

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

Photo By: Brittney Gazaway; Styling by H. Camille Smith

Photo By: John Gruen

Photo By: Brittney Gazaway; Styling by H. Camille Smith

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Photo By: Marian Parsons

Photo By: Brittney Gazaway; Styling by H. Camille Smith

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

Photo By: Allie Holcomb King

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 Luxe

Treat your guests to a great night's sleep with luxurious bedding. Start with high-thread-count, 100% cotton sheets, then add a thick duvet or quilt and pile on lots of fluffy pillows.

See More Photos: Beautiful Bedrooms: Layered Bedding Looks We Love

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.

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 Four-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.

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.

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.

Create a Vanity 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 trendy, collected-over-time look.

Try Twinning

Twin beds aren't just a favorite of kids, they also offer private sleeping spaces for single adults, whether traveling alone or with friends.

Pile on the Pillows

Layered pillows aren't just pretty, they also serve different purposes. Large 26-inch square Euro pillows add a cushy layer to solid-wood headboards while decorative shams, or just pretty patterned sheets, dress up bed pillows. And, decorative throw pillows pull the bedroom's patterns and colors together.

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 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 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.

And, a Small Chair

Fill an unused corner with a small occasional chair to create a cozy spot for checking email or curling up with a good book.

Mind the Time

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.

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.

Add Impact With DIY Art

Art makes any room feel more alive and personalized. For a truly one-of-a-kind touch, frame a vintage scarf for a big pop of color and pattern on a budget.

Clear the Air

Live plants not only add a mood-lifting reminder of the great outdoors, they also clean the air of common indoor pollutants like benzene and formaldehyde and act as mini humidifiers, releasing moisture back into the home.

Cleverly Incorporate Storage

While the bed in a guest room may only see occasional use, you can put the area around it to work as everyday storage. Readymade lower cabinets and shelves, custom built around a bed, create a lovely bed niche surrounded by lots of hidden and decorative storage.

See More Photos: Coastal Bedroom Decorating Tips

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.

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.

Cue the Quilt

A quilt folded across the foot of the bed is a thoughtful finishing touch — both as an extra pop of pattern and as a cozy snuggle accessory on chilly nights.

See More Photos: Create a Cozy Guest Room With Farmhouse Flair

Bring In a Bench

Place a long bench at the foot of the bed so your guests have a handy spot for unpacking their suitcase or sitting down to remove their shoes.

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 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

Use What You Have

Don't rush out to buy new furniture if your guest room 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.

Make It Easy to Grab + Go

Whether hung behind the door or on the wall, an inexpensive accordion rack adds extra storage space in a pinch. Just tack it up to allow guests to hang the items they're most likely to forget before heading out the door — like coats, keys, hats and even umbrellas.

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.

Squeeze in a Tiny Table

A small bistro table won't take up much room in a corner but it'll provide a handy spot for charging their phone or sitting down to enjoy their morning coffee or a light snack.

Provide Healthy Snacks

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

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