Every guest – whether an elderly parent or grandchild, close friend or colleague – should feel welcome when staying in your home. While that welcome starts with a bright foyer and cozy sitting room, it culminates with the guest suite. The perfect guest suite supports sleep with soothing tones, textures and layered lighting. It offers a nook in which to work, read or relax throughout the day. Artwork, wallcoverings and rugs communicate your unique style, while an abundance of high-quality linens allows guests to curate the space to their individual preferences. In this post, we list our favorite guest bedroom design tips. From drawing inspiration from the great outdoors to prioritizing accessibility, read on for all our guest bedroom decorating ideas.
20 Guest Bedroom Design Ideas for a Calm and Curated Space
#1 Ensure Natural Light Exposure
First on our list of guest bedroom interior design tips is to ensure ample natural light exposure. Bounce that light around with mirrors and metallic accents to make the space feel bright, airy and a bit bigger than its small footprint. Prioritizing natural light exposure will ensure a small guest bedroom never feels cramped.
Pay particular attention to how light filters into your guest room when choosing colors and textures. Exposure plays an important part in determining how colors are expressed. For example, western exposure provides a romantic, golden glow. Northern exposure adds a blue tint.
Regardless, be sure to provide blackout curtains or room-darkening shades, so guests can sleep soundly. This is especially important for guests who might be jet-lagged! We opted for Roman shades in the guest bedroom at Mountain Lane Show House, and long-line drapes in the primary.
#2 Opt for a Neutral Color Palette
Next on our list of guest bedroom ideas is to opt for a calming, neutral color palette. You can choose a dark palette or a light and bright color scheme. Either way, these soothing tones will help relax your guests instead of stimulating them.
Plus, neutral colors appeal to a greater number of guests. They are rarely polarizing, which means the risk of provoking an adverse reaction to your pick of color palette is quite low.
Add color and texture with hand-embroidered linens, dynamic artwork and interesting accessories.
#3 Or Embrace a Theme
Alternatively, lean into a theme inspired by your travels, your interests, your home’s surroundings or the period during which it was built. For example, the owners of Camino Haciendas in Santa Fe requested a slightly different theme in each guest bedroom.
As a whole, the home connects to its surroundings. Each guest bedroom reflects something special in the landscape or culture of Santa Fe. The Lobo Room has an old-world feel that ties new and old together. A hide and leather pouf from Surya pays homage to ranchers, who were the first American settlers coming West. The Saints Room celebrates the beauty of a Southwestern sunrise through colorful bedding and lots of natural light.
Whichever theme you choose, have fun with it! Quoting Heidi Caillier in an article for The NYT, Tim McKeough writes that “‘a guest bedroom is a place to have a little fun.'” Much like a powder room, den or basement, guest bedrooms let you “‘go all out with color and pattern, to make a big statement.'”
A themed guest bedroom can serve as a fun conversation starter. Work with an interior designer to create a themed space that never feels kitschy.
#4 Mix Antique and Modern Elements for a Carefully Curated Look
Next on our list of guest bedroom design ideas is to mix antique and modern elements. Mixing old and new will help you create contrast — encouraging the eye to wander from one zone to the next.
Be selective with your decor objects and furniture to ensure the space is curated and collected — not cluttered. For help styling your guest bedroom, consult this post on the LUDC blog.
#5 Layer Bedding So Guests Have Lots of Options
We also recommend offering a variety of bedding, linens and throw pillows in your guest rooms. Layer the guest bed with high-quality sheets, fluffy duvets and warm quilts.
With a variety of bedding on-hand, guests can choose how much they want on the bed and won’t have to ask for extras. Plus, this creates a cozy space that makes guests feel welcomed and cared for.
#6 Create a Reading Nook or Workspace
Even if your guest bedroom is the smallest spare room, adding a reading nook or workspace can make it far more functional. Many guests who travel while on vacation still need a spot to check emails and draft briefs. Others enjoy journaling or reading before a good night’s sleep.
Adding a reading nook or workspace makes any guest bedroom a more inviting space. Plus, zoning a guest bedroom can make the space seem bigger than it is.
For our Hedwig Village project, we chose to add a window seat in the guest bedroom. This window seat serves as the perfect reading nook while offering a bit of extra storage space. If you do not have enough room for a library, consider pulling a few books and placing them on the nightstands before guests arrive. Selecting books your guests might enjoy is a lovely touch.
In the primary bedroom at Hedwig, we added a desk — complete with wall sconce and beautifully upholstered chair. If you have extra room, add both!
#7 Pick Fresh Flowers With a Clean Scent
Whether picked from the garden or selected at a shop, arranging fresh flowers is one of our favorite ways to welcome guests. However, your guest might not find it the most welcoming space if their olfactory sense is overwhelmed by an especially strong fragrance.
Avoid heavily scented flowers, room sprays or essential oils that might adversely impact sensitive guests. A clean, subtle scent is usually best.
#8 Add a Luggage Rack to Keep Suitcases Off the Floor
Help your guests keep their suitcases off the floor by adding a luggage rack. Not only will one of the luggage racks pictured above prevent your guests from straining their backs.
They also a bit of extra texture, color and warmth. We love the stool pictured above on the left from Room&Board and the rack from West Elm pictured on the right.
#9 Outfit the Bathroom with Toiletries and a Towel Warmer
Whether your guest bedroom has an on-suite bath or not, adding brand-new toiletries with clean ingredients and gentle scents is a must. Another way to enhance your guest’s stay is to install a towel warmer! Though simple and typically inexpensive to install, towel warmers are one of the little luxuries every guest can appreciate.
#10 Set Up a Sitting Area
If your guest bedroom is slightly larger and can accommodate a few additional pieces of furniture, consider a sitting area. Sarah Di Marco underscores the value of a separate seating area in a recent article for Veranda.
Di Marco writes that every guest can and will “appreciate an area within the home to retreat for a bit of alone time.” Offer your guests that much-needed respite with a private lounge area in their bedroom.
#11 Install a Vanity If Your Guest Room Does Not Connect to a Bathroom
If your guest bedroom does not connect to an en-suite bath, consider adding a vanity. Provide a carafe of water and a few toiletries in the drawers of the vanity when hosting friends and family. If possible, mount a full-length mirror too.
#12 Sleep in Your Guest Room Before Visitors Arrive
Our twelfth tip might not have much to do with guest bedroom interior design, but it is still incredibly important. We recommend that hosts sleep in their guest bedroom before visitors arrive to ensure it is a comfortable space.
Test the mattress and adjust bedding until you sleep comfortably through the night. Add a rug if your toes are shocked by a cold floor the following morning. Small updates can make all the difference in your guest’s experience.
Every host wants their guests to have a memorable stay — but it must be memorable for the right reasons!
#13 Select Wall Sconces Instead of Table Lamps
Your second bedroom might not have enough space for a bedside table — or the slim nightstands you selected might lack adequate surface space. Whatever your small space woes, we recommend opting for wall sconces instead of table lamps.
They free up space better used for a glass of water or a nighttime novel. At the same time, wall sconces make your guest bedroom feel like it belongs in a boutique hotel. Chances are, you might install wall sconces in your own bedroom after seeing how they look in the guest space!
#14 Make the Space Accessible with Closet Lighting
Accessibility is incredibly important when designing shared and intimate spaces. Whether your guests are elderly, young children, or differently abled, everyone has their own unique needs. Embrace tenets of universal design when decorating your guest bedroom — and other spaces throughout your home.
Install a light fixture or two in the guest room closets. Ensure the floors are neither too slippery and that rugs will not catch on shoes, walkers, wheels or canes. Check the height of the bed and avoid frames that sit too low to the ground.
#15 Draw Inspiration from the Outdoors
Next on our list of guest bedroom design ideas is to draw inspiration from nature — especially that which surrounds your home. Decorate with flowers from your garden — or choose bedding with beautiful floral embroidery.
Pick a rug woven from natural materials. Select a wallpaper with climbing vines or falling leaves. Images of and odes to nature are both soothing and invigorating.
#16 Consider a Four-Poster Bed or Mammoth Headboard for a Bit of Drama
For a bit of drama, consider a four-poster bed or mammoth headboard as the focal point of your guest bedroom. As Camille Okhio warns in an article for Elle Decor, “don’t be afraid to choose a bed that packs a punch.” A four-poster adds a stunning architectural element — elevating even the simplest of spaces.
#17 Add a Cocktail Bar or Coffee Nook
Next, we suggest adding a cocktail bar or coffee nook to your guest bedroom. We designed a lovely little vestibule with custom molding for the space between primary bedroom and bath at Hedwig Village.
Ensure your guests end their evening with a calming night cap or start their morning with a hot cup of coffee. If neither option suits you nor your guests, provide a carafe of filtered water and a few bottles of sparkling.
#18 Place a Large Nightstand Between Two Beds
Many guest bedrooms are designed to accommodate children, families and non-romantic pairs. If your guest bedroom includes two twin beds or other sleeping arrangements, consider placing a large nightstand between the two.
This will reduce the amount of furniture in your guest bedroom. It will cut down on clutter and minimize the chance someone might bump their knee in the night.
#19 Create a Special Space to Store Jewelry
For a special touch, create a separate space for guests to store their watches and jewelry during their stay. For the guest bedroom at Hedwig Village, our team selected a white and gold Hunt Slonem Portrait Plate. Find the exact piece here.
#20 Clear Out the Closet
Last but certainly not least, be sure to clear out the closet, drawers and any other storage space before welcoming guests. Provide ample space for guests to hang their clothes and store other items.
Which guest bedroom tips made your list? Let us know in the comments below.