How To Create The Perfect Guest Room

It has been said that guests are like like fish – neither should hang around for more than two days. However, given the dearth of trains over Christmas, and the length of the entire business, that is an adage that often has to be suspended at this time of year. So, you need to try and make the experience as pleasant/bearable for everyone as you can and that starts with creating the perfect guest room.

image from via

Now obviously, most of us don’t have a bathtub in the spare room but you need to try and make this room as comfortable as possible. Not least because if someone is staying for a week, then encouraging them to perhaps have a little break from time to time can be a good thing for everyone.

This room below is spacious and decorating in restful whites and greys with lots of different textures. A perfect escape from the hurly burly of large familes.

image from

If at all possible, then space for an armchair or small sofa is a great idea for a guest room. Parents may feel they can’t bear to watch any more cartoons and the chance to escape to a quiet space with a comfy chair and possibly even a television or radio for a spot of news usually restores frayed nerves all round.

Adding a chair to a spareroom will make it more inviting
image from pinterest via Karlijn de Jong

In addition to a chair, the spare room must have a mirror. We kept forgetting to put a mirror in our spare room to the distress of my mother who feels that she would like a little privacy to “put her face on” in the morning and doesn’t want to be queuing for the bathroom with everyone else.

image from the Casa Do Conto, in Porto, Portugal

Now while you don’t want to go too far the other way and create a room that is so boutique hotel, no-one wants to leave, it’s handy to have a small table and desk if at all possible. Given that many of us have multi-tasking sparerooms that double up as studies anyway, this shouldn’t be too difficult. Guests can use the desk for their make-up/washbag or as a makeshift dressing table.

guest room with a desk and a chair

In terms of the accessories, a mobile clothes rail, you know the sort of thing you can pick up in Ikea, means that guests can hang clothes if there are no wardrobes in the rooms. Make sure there are bedside lights and an overhead light with an easily accessible switch. There’s nothing worse than fumbling around in the dark and an unfamiliar environment.

Wall-mounted bedside lights from Note the desk and ottoman for clothes too

Extra touches such as a carafe for water and a couple of glasses, towels – which can also hang over the clothes rail to dry – and a clock – because who remembers to pack theirs – is a good idea.

I have been searching for a vintage luggage rack like this which would fold up flat when not in use (and could even live under the sofa bed) and is perfect for the suitcase, or clothes or towels when guests arrive.

this was on etsy but sadly someone else got to it before me

Another idea for grandparents, which I always mean to do and have never quite managed, is to make up a box with a nightie, slippers, toothbrush and paste and all those little things they need which means they don’t have to carry them in suitcases. You could even do this as a Christmas present. Now there’s a thought.

While we’re on the the subject, this might be useful

Eight of the best sofa beds

How to create the perfect home office

Mad About … The Boutique Hotel Look






Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. I just wanted to say Thank You so much for the use of your guestroom during London 2012!! You don’t mention a TV in the spare room in this blogpost, but it certainly came in handy for me to watch Olympic highlights in bed… x

Comments are closed.