I am lucky enough to have a room in my house that is strictly a guest room. (Well, it does get used for extra storage, but it’s mostly strictly a guest room). I believe if you’re going to go to the trouble of dedicating part of your house to guests, it should be a welcoming space. Staying at someone’s house as a guest (while it can be fun) is often stressful. You can help your guests feel more relaxed by providing them with a calm and relaxing room to stay in… so here are my tips for doing just that…read on to find 10 ways to create a comfortable guest room.
Use the Biggest, Most Comfortable Bed Possible
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Of course the size and comfort of the bed depends on the space you have available (and how much you can afford to spend on the bed). Most people find a bed that has lots of room to spread out in more comfortable than smaller ones. And everyone will sleep better on a high quality mattress rather than the 20-year old hand-me-down. (I do actually sleep in my guest room once in a while just to make sure the mattress is still good).
I used to have a double bed in this room which left more room around the edges. But a double bed is pretty tight if you have a couple staying over, so I upgraded to a queen sized bed and still made it work.
Have Easy-to-Access Light Switches
Have a light that turns on with a switch at the door. Most guests don’t know your home (or their temporary bedroom) as well as you do. If guests are coming in after dark, it’s much easier for them to navigate the room if they can just turn on the switch at the door…otherwise, they are trying to make their way through an unfamiliar room to a lamp switch while attempting not to trip over or break anything (and that is not a way to create a comfortable guest room).
Similarly, have a light that turns on with a switch by the bed. If a guest needs to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, or simply wants to read a little before bed, it’s much easier to just turn on the lamp beside the bed, than to get up out of bed and try to find the light switch on the wall in the dark. I didn’t have a lot of room beside my guest room bed so I installed swing arm lamps on the sides of the bookcases. To make them prettier, we glued some beaded trim to the bottom of them…the little beads glow when the lamp is turned on.
Provide Some Entertainment
Sometimes guests need a little time to themselves. By providing books on different topics, a TV, and a writing spot, my guests have a choice of things to do in their room for some “me” time.
I bought these bookshelves as unpainted, wood shelves from Lowes…just added a couple of coats of varnish (sanding in between so that the finish is smooth) and put them together to come up with lots of storage. I like the fact that they have doors on the bottom because I can use that space for storage.
The TV stand below is actually an old bathroom vanity. It has a marble top that matches the color of the drapes and bedding, and is the perfect height and size for the TV. Being round, it also doesn’t have any corners for people to bang into…since I put in the queen size bed, the space is a little tighter than it used to be 🙂
Leave Some Space For Them
Try to leave an open flat surface somewhere in the room where guests can lay out their suitcase. That makes it easier for people to get at their belongings. I have an old washstand that is the perfect size for this function. If you don’t want to use up the space with a permanent piece of furniture, you can always get a fold out luggage rack like they have in the hotels.
Have somewhere (other than the bed) that guests can sit. Since my guestroom is not that big, I use a bench for this purpose. It provides a lot of seating room without taking up much floor space.
Provide a Full-Length Mirror
Often when guests come to visit, there is a party, dinner or some other kind of outing planned that might require them to dress up a little. Providing a full-length mirror lets them feel comfortable that they look good.
Think Of The Little Things
Just in case your guests need an alarm clock, provide one in their room that works and is set to the correct time. One of my friends had a plane to catch early in the morning, and ended up getting up an hour earlier than she needed to because I had forgotten to set the clock in the guest room back when daylight savings time ended (a somewhat grouchy and tired friend left on a little bit of a sour note).
I also have 2 cats. While everyone who comes to stay knows this, some people are allergic to cats and choose to visit anyway. For those people, I make sure to have a box of kleenex handy.
A phone is always handy (as long as you have an all-inclusive long distance plan, or don’t mind paying the charges).
Give Out Your Wireless Password
Some people have their wireless password hanging like a picture in the guest room. I give out little “guest” cards that include things like my phone number, address, wireless network and password…that way they have all of my information handy in case they need it. Anyway you do it, providing the wireless password is a courtesy everyone appreciates, and if they don’t have to ask.
I create these cards in Word and print them on my printer. They also come in handy if I’m having a party and someone wants to know this information.
Control The Light
Make sure that guests can control the amount of light that comes into the room (and prevent outsiders from looking in) by hanging drapes and/or blinds (I have both).
Different people are used to sleeping in different conditions…try to make sure they can get a good sleep by allowing them to control how much (or how little) light can get into the room.
Provide a Place for the Pillows
If you have decorative pillows on the bed (like I do), make sure you have somewhere in the room that they can go. Guests feel uncomfortable if they have to guess whether or not you’re ok with those pillows being piled on the floor.
I have a little bench under the window that is the perfect size for storing pillows when they are not on the bed.
Supply Extra Bedding
Different people have different preferences when it come to sleeping comfort. Some like feather pillows, some like foam. Some like to be really warm, others don’t. Some like lots of pillows, others only want one. While you won’t be able to change the mattress, you can provide different types of pillows and extra blankets so that guests have some control over their sleeping environment.
One of the reason for my extra pillows on the bed is to make sure that there are both foam and feather options available. I also have a regular duvet and down-filled duvet on the bed. It’s perfect for people who like it warm, and easy to remove for those who want it cooler.
Do you have other tips for making a comfortable guest room? We’d love to hear them in the comments section below.
Have comments or questions on how to create a comfortable guest room? Tell us in the section below.
This post was originally published on August 4, 2015 but was updated with new content on March 12, 2023.