Top tips for decorating a guest bedroom

If you want to be the perfect host, the best way to make a lasting impression is decorating a homely guest bedroom. Don't make the mistake of replicating the blandness of a hotel room - your guest bedroom can have personality, but be careful not to let it become a dumping ground for all your clutter or your guest will feel claustrophobic. The best guest rooms designs provide all the home comforts you would expect to find in a good hotel, but with a personal touch.

Create an inviting bedroom

  • Save the miniature toiletries when you next stay in a hotel and keep them in a basket on the dressing table in case your guest forgets to bring anything.
  • Keep a few classic books and a selection of magazines in case your guest does not bring anything to read.
  • A unisex dressing gown and a pair of one-size-fits-all slippers will be a welcome touch.
  • A scented candle will take away the stale smell in a room that is not used very often.
  • An alarm clock is an essential item in a guest room, as most people forget to bring one but it is disorientating if there is no way to keep track of time.

1) Choose a neutral bedroom colour scheme
When choosing a bedroom colour scheme go for either warm hues to create an inviting feel or calming neutral tones. A coastal bedroom style can work very well for a guest room as it is peaceful and unobtrusive. If you have a statement piece of artwork or photography that you want to be the focal point, use this as the palette for your colour scheme. Beware of using a family photograph though, as you don’t want your guest to feel like an intruder in somebody else’s life. Pick out accent colours in the wallpaper or bed linen and find one or two decorative objects such as a vase or candle to place on the bedside table or dresser.

2) Keep the design style gender neutral
When designing your guest bedroom avoid choosing a style that is overly masculine or feminine as you don’t want to alienate guests of either gender. If you use patterned bedroom wallpaper keep it to the bed head wall and if you choose a floral design keep it bold so it is does not end up looking like your grandmother’s spare room.

3) Choosing a bed
The bed should be instantly seductive with different textures and tones of fabrics that make you want to jump straight in. A couple of plumped up cushions make a bed look well-dressed and inviting. Fold a silky quilted throw over the foot of the bed to create a luxurious feel and also give your guest an extra layer of warmth that they can choose to take or leave. A couple of extra pillows in the wardrobe mean your guest can make themselves completely comfortable without the awkwardness of having to ask you for anything. Pile up a selection of fresh towels in a matching colour scheme to the room on the bed or chair. A thick pile rug by the side of the bed is a treat underfoot when your guest first wakes up. Read our guide on choosing a bed for more practical buyers advice.
Aside from creating a comfortable, inviting bed – it may also need to be practical, especially if you’re short of space. Fold away beds and stylish sofa beds are practical and there are a number of budget design available from high street shops and online stores. For more information, read our tips on choosing a sofa bed.

4) Bedroom furniture
A bedside table and reading lamp or spotlight are key items and, if you have space, have one either side of the double bed so that couples can choose to read or sleep independently. Stock the wardrobe with padded hangers as they may not be practical in a normal bedroom but your guest probably won’t have too many clothes and they are much better for keeping suits and jackets. Both a full-length mirror and a dressing table mirror with a good light for putting on make-up are a must, as if you really want your guest to feel at home you need to provide all the essentials that you wouldn’t do without in your own room. An arm chair gives your guest somewhere to put clothes for the next day and somewhere to sit and read. A small table for writing and a dressing table will give your guest a little extra surface space to spread out their belongings. If you need to buy

5) Think about noise, lighting and cleaning
While some people can sleep anywhere at the drop of a hat, others can struggle with the smallest annoyances. Glaring lights from street lamps or loud plumbing can make it impossible for some guests to get a good night’s sleep. Do your guests a favour and consider staying in the bedroom yourself for a night so you can spot that gap in the curtains or those annoying noises – and prevent them from bothering your guest when it’s their turn to stay. There’s no point decorating a beautiful guest room if they can’t sleep.

And, finally, although it sounds obvious – make sure you’ve given the room a good clean, especially if you don’t use the bedroom very often yourself. Get ready to clear away those cobwebs and read our guide tocleaning a bedroom thoroughly.