How to Create a Guest Room They’ll Never Want to Leave


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We always had big plans for the guest room.  But after 8 years in our house, it always seemed to fall to the bottom of the priority list.  In fact, our guest room/ library/ office was slowly becoming a dumping ground for all the stuff we wanted to keep, but had no place for.  It housed books, old newspapers, gifts that we’d actually forgotten to give to people, old clothes, toys, stuffed animals… oh yeah, and a futon for a bed.

In all fairness, it was a very comfortable futon (I sprung for the double thick mattress), but still.  I’m coming up on 40 years old futons just don’t say “mature adult.”

Honestly, I would love to show you a picture of the room before we started fixing it up, but Mr. O was a little more enthusiastic about getting it clean than I expected.  By the next day he’d removed a lot of the junk, so a picture never happened.  But here’s a pretty close approximation:

Okay, so that’s from the show “Hoarders” but it’s shamefully close to how that room felt to me.

When we knew we were going to have a long-term guest, I realized there was no way they could stay in the room as it was.  I started to think about how nice hotels make people feel comfortable, and then how I could take it one step further.

A comfortable bed is key.

In this case, we knew who would be sleeping on our bed, and I happened to be with her when she bought her mattress.  I just bought the same mattress, sized for our guest room, and called it a day.  If you’re not that lucky, I recommend buying a mattress you’d like to sleep on.  You never know, someday you might.  When I had the flu Mr. O slept in the guest room to get away from my germs and when I can’t sleep I go in there to watch tv without waking him up.

Give guests someplace to sit.

Sure they can sit on the bed, but if you have room, a simple chair can give a guest room a whole new level of comfort.  Guests can read, watch tv, or just have a less squishy place to put on their shoes.  I picked this one up at a barn sale and will eventually refinish it, but for now both our guest and her furry friend are enjoying it.

Think about lighting.

Our guest room has a ceiling fan with a light, and that’s fine… but.  It doesn’t really say warm and comfy.  A simple touch lamp in between the bed and chair is perfect for reading or nighttime routines.  I added a floor lamp by the mirror for more ambiance and, for female guests, make up application.

Keep decorations simple.

You don’t want guests to feel like their invading your personal space, so try to keep family pictures and momentos to a minimum.  A few simple touches are plenty.  The goal is to make the room feel finished, but not overdone, and as though there’s room for your guests to make themselves at home.

Soft colors invite relaxation

At the end of the day, you want your guests to feel able to relax in the space you’ve provided.  I went with a soft blue on the wall to replace the too-bright yellow that was there, with a medium gray as an accent color.  Between the colors and all the natural light, the whole room makes you say, “ahhhhh.”

We made the mistake of telling Miss O that once our long-term guest moves out, the room is going to be hers (and we’ll make her room the guest room).  She made herself right at home.  I’ll take it as a good sign.

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