Now we are finally allowed to host guests again, it's time to be inspired by all our lovely guest bedroom ideas and get that space (that's probably been doubling up as a home office for the past year) freshened up and looking at it's best.
What we love about decorating guest bedrooms is your get to create the dream room, one you wish yours looked like all the time, free from clutter, free from an overflowing closet, free from the ever-growing collection of skincare on the nightstand. You can create a hotel-like space within your own home, and be more daring with your decor too since it's not a room anyone will have to spend more than a couple of nights in so you can really go all out. And our bedroom ideas are here to help you do just that...
1. Make your guest room multi-purpose
Not everyone will have space at home for a dedicated guest bedroom, but if you're planning to host on a regular basis then it’s a good idea to have a room that can be easily converted to accommodate guests.
By making a room multi-functional, you're ensuring that you are making the most of that room, giving it use all year round.
One of the most popular dual-functional rooms in the home is the home office, which can usually easily accommodate a day bed that's set up like a sofa during the day, but can be pulled out into a double bed when guests come to stay.
The elegant guest bedroom design above by Beata Heuman (opens in new tab) makes the most of a home office. During the day it acts as a home office and reading room, but it doubles up as a guest room for when the owners have visitors.
Meanwhile, in this family home in Highgate, a music room features a day bed that doubles as a guest bed for visitors. The room features useful built-in storage which the owners use daily, and it's an inviting space to just escape to during the day.
2. Transform the attic
If all the rooms in your house are already in use, consider a loft conversion to add a guest bedroom. Transform a dark, cluttered attic space into a lovely light-filled space that your friends and family will love.
Lofts are the perfect place to create a guest or spare bedroom. By their very nature, they tend to only be used occasionally, so sloping ceilings and a confined space is less likely to be an issue for the user.
In this small house in Brixton, a home office was extended up to the roof, giving it more ceiling height as well as the opportunity to incorporate a guest bed at mezzanine level. The plywood-clad staircase cleverly incorporates storage and wardrobe space.
3. Consider eaves and alcoves
Casey Keasler (opens in new tab) transformed an awkward nook with a sloped ceiling into a cozy guest room space in this modern attic re-design. Trundle storage under the bed provides easy access to towels and linens, and also acts as pull-out steps so small guests can reach the bed. A small, wall-mounted reading light is a space-saver too, while the wood bed frame makes this space feel elegant, well designed, and cozy.
For grown-up vibes, place a low double bed under a sloped ceiling (as long as there's enough space to stand up next to it). The below attic guest room even incorporates a statement Seventies Italian chandeliers that drips sensuously from the ceiling.
4. Use curtains to divide when guests are visiting
Most people tend to have guests only on occasion, so it makes sense that those guest room spaces end up having other uses. Hanging curtains is a quick and clever way to divide a private sleeping zone from a space that is set up as an office, playroom, or other.
The top floor of this broken plan house features a multi-purpose room that can be used as a home office, relaxing space or as an extra guest bedroom.
The home achieves the same on a middle floor, where green curtains are used to separate an occasional sleeping zone from a matching green-colored bathroom. The bedroom is only accessed through the bathroom.
5. Or use curtains to inject some texture
In this apartment in London, the owner used velvety bedroom curtains to wrap around the basement guest bedroom, enveloping the space in cozy texture and turning a previously dark and drab basement bedroom into something that feels cozy and decadent.
6. Upgrade a garden building into a guest house or 'granny flat'
This clever garden guest house by London-based architects De Rosee Sa (opens in new tab) incorporates an open-plan living and kitchenette area, and can accommodate guests too. It even has its own shower room.
It's the kind of design we expect will become increasingly popular in the current climate, where people are working from home more often, so having an additional space to escape to is hugely beneficial – not to mention being able to offer grandparents and other guests their own space.
The garden room design features sanded floors, wood-paneled walls with gorgeous built-in shelves and storage, and an inky blue palette.
7. Dive in with a daring theme
When it comes to rooms that are used occasionally, and are not a main entertaining space (take powder rooms for example), it offers the opportunity to experiment with a decorating style that might be too bold for communal areas.
Alexandra Laird, Interior Design Manager of Burbeck Interiors (opens in new tab), said: 'When decorating your guest bedroom, you can afford to take some risks and push the boundaries. Use this as a chance to experiment and explore your design personality. The best boutique hotels don’t have cookie-cutter bedrooms, they are all a bit different, so apply this thinking to your guest bedroom and have some fun.'
We love the green velvet headboard used in this modern bedroom, which not only stretches right up to the ceiling but even wraps around fitted shelves, adding color, glamour and drama. Low hanging pendant lamps on either side offer an out-of-the-box approach to bedside reading lights.
8. Experiment with a bold color
A bedroom should have a clear overall theme and color palette, rather than a melting pot for different styles.
Just because you don't use it as your own bedroom doesn't mean the guest bedroom shouldn't be up to scratch design-wise. Go for a statement scheme, and pull the room together in a way that complements the chosen style.
The strength of the deep blue headboard and amber cushions are wrapped up in the softest of fabrics, giving the guest bedroom a traditional yet luxurious feel. The old-fashioned finishing touches mean the overall look is serene but far from bland.
9. Choose white for a timeless, neutral scheme
When in doubt, or if bold looks aren't your thing, then a neutral bedroom scheme is the way to go. A calm bedroom with natural colors and plenty of light will create a fresh and timeless look that won't date. Weave in lots of texture and natural materials to add interest, but stick to a pared-back color scheme.
Going for a white bedroom scheme with natural materials will often result in a more rustic, country-inspired look – perfect for country homes and cottages. Keeping a bedroom calm and un-fussy will create a welcoming, informal space in which to unwind.
This beach house in Australia gives guest bedrooms the same muted color scheme as the rest of the home, plus added texture with tongue and groove wall paneling.
10. Use clever space-saving designs in smaller guest rooms
Dealing with cramped quarters? Affix a small shelf next to the bed in lieu of a table – it's all the space you need for a reading light, book, and small bud vase. Opt for wall-mounted lights instead of clunky table lamps, and if you want to incorporate a desk area or vanity table then consider designs that pop-up like a shelf, but can fold down again to be flush against the wall.
For a more luxurious look, why not commission a built-in statement headboard with recessed shelving, and hidden wiring and electrics for hotel-style, easy access, bedside lighting?
11. Add a reading light
Reading lights are inexpensive but are a thoughtful touch and are space-efficient too. Wall mount one just above the bed and make sure it can be switched off with out your guest having to move from their comfy reading spot.
12. Choose wall lights for a clean and modern look
Aside from bedding, lighting is another sure-fire way to update the look of the guest room. Wall lights offer a cleaner, more modern look than table lamps as they are less clunky, take up less space, free up bedside table space, and are free from tangled wires.
13. Hang bedside pendant lights for a fresh alternative
Forego classic bedside lamps for a fresh approach; hanging bedside lamps from the ceiling. This creates a cleaner, less messy look and is space-saving too as it frees up space on the bedside table.
14. Don't forget the little things
We think that the most important features a guest bedroom should have are the little details.
It's these additional touches that make your guests feel at home. Interior designer, Georgina Wood (opens in new tab), said: 'Guests will remember the little things, so it’s a good idea to provide your guest with creature comforts like a dressing gown, fresh linen, an eye mask and toiletries, and including a bottle of water and fresh flowers in an elegant vase will really welcome them into your home.'
For example, including furniture, such as a sofa or armchair, will allow your guest to be able to relax without getting into bed. A full-length mirror will always be appreciated, as are reading lamps and reading materials.
Often overlooked, a wastepaper basket is absolutely essential in a guest bedroom so they can discard their rubbish. To go the extra mile, leave a carafe of water with glasses on the bedside table.
15. Often hosting the grandparents? Choose a low bed
When decorating a guest bedroom, it’s important to think about who may be staying in it, as this can have a significant impact on your design.
Cater for older relatives by investing in a comfortable and accessible bed. A low bed doesn't have to remind you of student digs – this colorful family home in Tulsa features a strikingly stylish low bed design.
16. Opt for a pull-out day bed
Of course, a guest bed can take up quite a bit of room, and with many homes adapting in a world post Covid, homeowners are starting to view their guest rooms as multi-functional spaces. A day bed (that pulls out as a guest bed) is the perfect option for rooms that serve other purposes the rest of the time.
Investing in good quality bed linen will make a fold-out bed feel much more comfortable and luxurious. Make it cozy and comfortable with accent pillows and throws.
The home office in this Victorian terrace in London doubles as a spare bedroom, so this divan was placed in the corner as it pulls out as a double bed.
IKEA's Hemnes day bed (opens in new tab) is one of the best IKEA sofa beds. There's a reason it's such a popular choice in modern homes. It may look simple, but it works (we speak from experience). It frees up floor space so that the room can be used as a playroom, reading room or home office, as the guest bed can be set up as a daybed/sofa. Three large drawers underneath offer plenty of storage for guest bedding, freeing up space in the linen cupboard, and keeping guest linens separate.
17. Add playful and personal touches
To prevent the space from lacking in character, give it a fun framed poster, photograph or artwork. We love the gallery wall in this eclectic style guest bedroom, designed by Turner Pocock (opens in new tab).
18. Don't skimp on the bedding
One thing that guests will hate is a bad night’s sleep in an uncomfortable bed, so it’s important to invest in a good quality bed and mattress or mattress topper.
The bedding and sheets should be nice and fresh for your guest and it’s important to allow guests to regulate their temperature when they sleep, so try including multiple layers, such as a quilt and a blanket.
You should always include at least two pillows (or four on a double bed), while a headboard will allow guests to sit up and read if they choose.
19. Consider incorporating an ensuite bathroom
For large guest bedrooms – or loft-based ones – consider installing a partition wall with an en-suite bathroom on the other side. This will offer guests privacy, and prevent awkward run-ins or queues outside the main family bathroom.
20. Or to save space, incorporate bathroom features within the room itself
A freestanding bath in the bedroom adds a note of decadent luxe, plus gives guests that real hotel feel. And is a great option if you can't squeeze a bath into the ensuite too.
21. Offer seating
Creating a lounge area in the guest room will give off a luxe, hotel-style vibe, and give guests a private space to retreat to when they need to.
No space to add a sofa, chaise or armchair to a guest bedroom? Consider a bench at the bottom of the bed, or a window seat instead. A window seat doesn't just make the most of the view, it's an opportunity to hide built-in storage too. This window seat area below is used for storing linens.
22. Offer upstairs guest bedrooms private outdoor space
And finally, for guest bedrooms that are a little out of the way – like this top floor guest bedroom – consider creating access to a private outdoor space. This not only keeps the room looking and smelling fresh, but will also give an accessible area for guests to enjoy away from the main house.
Lotte is the Digital Editor for Livingetc, and has been with the website since its launch. She has a background in online journalism and writing for SEO, with previous editor roles at Good Living, Good Housekeeping, Country & Townhouse, and BBC Good Food among others, as well as her own successful interiors blog. When she's not busy writing or tracking analytics, she's doing up houses, two of which have features in interior design magazines. She's just finished doing up her house in Wimbledon, and is eyeing up Bath for her next project.
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