A Room with a View

How to Create a Welcoming Guest Room: Part I

guest bedroom decoratingDo you have a room that needs an update focused on creating a restful and welcoming space for your company? If you enjoy receiving company that stays overnight, you might want to implement a few of these guest room ideas. Of course, if you are in the “company is like fish” camp, and don’t want guests to stay any length of time—you might want to make sure your extra bedroom resembles a storage shed.

I love welcoming guests—both at our Hot Springs, Arkansas bed and breakfast and at my home! Creating a comfortable space adds to a happy experience, so here are my tips for a guest room of any size.

1) guest room ideasDe-clutter. This may be the most important step for creating a comfortable space. Remove almost all of your stuff from the dresser top and bedside tables, allowing easy space for your guests to place their stuff without feeling they are invading your space. What should remain on a dresser top? Besides lamps, a cute little bowl for holding your guest’s jewelry and small odds & ends. Perhaps a small clock, although this is far less important with the ubiquitous presence of smartphones. If the dresser top is large, add an artifact such as a piece of pottery, a jar candle, or for a real welcome, a framed photo of your guests.

2) The bed. Comfort is key here! Unless your bed will collide your guests into the center from sagging, there’s probably no need to buy a new mattress/box springs. Just upgrade the comfort level of your current bed with a really fluffy, high quality mattress pad. Add to the bed a fine set of sheets (400+ thread count cotton sheets or microfiber). It goes without saying that the bed should be already made prior to arrival of guests, and looking pretty!

Next, you’ll need a good quality blanket and bedspread. If your blanket resembles the quality of a cheap hotel from decades past, get rid of it. Heavy comforter sets may look pretty, but be careful of the weight for sleeping. On the other hand, if it’s an old cotton blanket in good condition, use it! In the south, we definitely prefer cotton blankets and bedspreads, and in summertime the blankets may even be forfeited. Chenille or matelesse cotton bedspreads are available at inexpensive prices, if you need to purchase a bedspread.

3. guest bedroom ideasPillows. Old, hard or flat foam pillows have got to go. I recommend four pillows on the bed, with two soft pillows and two firm. Many people sleep with two pillows, and offering a variety of pillow choices is a nice touch. Are you a synthetic or a feather pillow lover? The quality of synthetic pillows has dramatically improved, and the issues of feather allergies has mostly disappeared with the new feather pillow techniques. So use what makes you happy!

What about those small decorative pillows on the bed? While a pretty touch, don’t go overboard with throw pillows on the bed unless you have a large room with an extra chair that can be dedicated to tossing all of the pillows. You don’t want guests tripping over these pillows in the middle of the night, and most of us prefer to not throw pillows on the floor. I prefer to keep it simple, with no more than 3 accent pillows. One round bolster works perfect!

4. The bed frame. Test it! That’s sleep on your guest bed. We tell new innkeepers to sleep in each of their guest rooms at least once a year. Not only sleep in the guest room, but pack a suitcase to get a better feel for how the space works. If your bed frame is creaky and squeaky, can you resolve the problem areas? If not, your guests will be awakened every time they turn over. We once had a guest bed with a painful footboard; guests were always banging their shins on the footboard. What a bad design!

There are many inexpensive alternatives to purchasing a new bed frame, including DIY projects. A headboard may be attached to the wall, not the bed, and creates a sense of space. Large pieces of art, a ladder painted and turned on its side, or even a piece of fabric covered plywood provide beauty in your guest room. An inexpensive metal bed frame completes the bed.

If you are investing in a new or different bed, what size should you consider? If you have the space, I recommend a queen bed. Most couples will be comfortable in a queen bed, and it takes up little additional room. A standard/full size bed tends to feel too small for most couples today.

Stay tuned for Part II of “How to Create a Welcoming Guest Room” for more guest room ideas for your home!

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