Bedtime Stories: Dress Your Guest Room to Impress

| Updated: November 17, 2016

This story originally appeared on

With the holidays just around the corner, it’s time to consider the best ways to host your houseguests. The following checklist has 12 ways to make overnight visitors as comfortable as possible. We follow a guest’s journey from arrival to awakening, pausing to reflect on the elements that will transform a simple guest room into a true retreat for harried travelers.

1. Personalize the space. Let’s begin with first impressions. A stylish and uncluttered space is a given, but including a surface upon which to write welcome messages to new arrivals will personalize the room and set a tone of gracious hospitality. One way to do this is by painting a feature wall with chalk paint. Here, empty frames draw attention to brief quotes, but you could also fill in guests’ names or draw walking maps to favorite coffee shops or landmarks.

Master Retreat

2. Add a bedroom bouquet. Fresh flowers are always appreciated as a gesture of hospitality. For a few dollars — or for free, if you happen to have a cutting garden — you can show guests that they’re important enough to you that you took time to beautify and freshen up their space in anticipation of their arrival.

3. Make unpacking easy. Luggage racks in a guest room take a cue from the hotel tradition of giving guests a designated place to set down suitcases for ease of unpacking. This way visitors won’t have to stoop down uncomfortably to unpack their suitcases on the floor, and they also won’t be tempted to lift their not-so-clean wheeled luggage onto the bed.

Related: Keep These Measurements in Mind When Designing a Bedroom

Country Crib
Contemporary Bedroom

4. Stock up on storage. A storage chest might be the most versatile addition you could make to a guest bedroom. Leave it empty for guests to stow their things, or fill it with extra blankets and pillows. This bedroom takes storage a step further with underbed drawers that slide out, and the bookshelf behind the bed can be filled with reading material or other curiosities to entertain guests.

Related: Hang a New Headboard 

Baby Makes Three

5. Provide a place to hang things. If you’re tight on space and are carving a guest suite out of a small, closetless room, here’s a hack you might offer your guests as an alternative to an armoire or a closet. A wall-mounted clothing rack like this will give them a stylish place to hang the items they’d rather not leave to wrinkle in their suitcase.

Coastal Cottage

6. Wrap them in luxury. After a lively day exploring the best your city or town has to offer, your guests will feel pampered in thick bathrobes as they get ready to wind down for the evening. Especially if the guest bathroom is not attached to the bedroom, one-size-fits-all robes will allow guests to traverse the hallway comfortably and modestly.

master bathroom

7. Make their towels easy to find. Having to rummage around for clean towels after a shower is uncomfortable or awkward for guests. Whether you stock them in a basket inside the guest bedroom or on a shelf in the bathroom, make sure your guest towels are in plain view and easily accessible. Speaking of towels, offer the full range of sizes: washcloths, hand towels and larger bath towels or bath sheets.

Maybeck in Mahogany

8. Give them bedding options. Comfort is so subjective, and optimal conditions for a good night’s sleep are highly personal. Dress your guest bed in a relatively thin bed covering and then offer extra blankets of varying weight and warmth so that your visitor can make the bed according to personal preference. Starting with thin layers is ideal because it’s easier to add warmth by layering additional blankets on than it is for overheated sleepers to make a thick, heavy comforter suitably cool. Likewise, some people love to be ensconced in a heap of pillows, while others prefer a single firm pillow under their head. Make like a hotel and provide a variety of pillows so guests can feather their temporary nest to their liking.

Related: Dress It Up With a Duvet

Myrtle Beach Renovation

9. Think about the children. Families traveling with a child will appreciate an extra bed, cot or trundle for their little one. Here, a Murphy bed can be easily folded down from the wall as a built-in solution. A more budget-conscious alternative would be to hide a trundle or foldable cot under the bed. If you click the photo here and dive further into this project, you’ll also notice the abundance of wall outlets in plain sight that would allow guests to charge their devices bedside. When designing a bedroom to maximize guests’ independence and comfort, be sure that your furniture doesn’t hide all the outlets.

Nest Learning Thermostat

10. Offer climate control. Comfort at bedtime is closely tied to room temperature. Some people require practically subarctic temperatures with thick duvets piled high, and others prefer warmer environs. While probably no guest ever expects to be as comfortable in someone else’s bed as at home, mounting an easy-to-use thermostat in the room can go a long way toward communicating that your guest’s comfort is of paramount importance to you and that it’s all right for them to adjust the temperature.


11. Add thoughtful extras. For an extra-special hotel-style luxury, add a tea or coffee station to your guest room with an electric water kettle, mugs and maybe a French press. If you don’t have room for a mini fridge for the half-and-half, you can still stock bottled water, fresh fruit and snacks to keep your guests hydrated and sated throughout their stay.

Restoring Architectural Gems

12. Make the most out of every inch. But if you have room for a mini fridge, by all means go for it!

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