How to Design a Guest Room

Make overnight guests feel genuinely welcome and comfortable with a thoughtfully planned guest bedroom.

By Jan Soults Walker

Having friends or family overnight can be more pleasant for them—and you—when you take time now to pull together a guest room that meets their needs and makes everyone feel at home. Here are some things to consider.

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Andrea Schumacher

Privacy, please

Depending on your floor plan, it's ideal if your guest room is in a quiet area of your home and features a door and window treatments that can close for privacy. Bonus points if the guest room has access to its own bathroom—preferably one equipped with a shower as well as counter space (or clear open shelves) so guests can set out their own toiletries.

Comfort makers

Start with a good quality mattress and sheets so guests wake up happy and rested. Position a bedside table on each side of the bed with a table lamp or adjustable-arm reading lamp above. A drawer in each table provides a spot for some conveniences, such as a pen and paper, a nail file, and mints.

Provide a place for luggage, such as a folding floor rack or a broad dresser top. Empty a few dresser drawers for guests to use. Likewise, include empty hangers in the closet or add an over-the-door organizer with hooks and a hanging rod to the back of the bedroom door.

Include a small wastebasket on at least one side of the bed.

Easy does it

Depending on the amount of time your guests plan to stay and the time of year, provide an extra set of sheets and blankets for cold nights. They'll also appreciate a stack of clean towels and washcloths or new nylon shower poufs, as well as a fresh bar of soap or liquid shower soap.

You can make your guest room especially luxurious by adding a mini-fridge stocked with bottled water and fresh fruit. Include a basket in the room filled with other light snacks.

Something extra

Think of activities your guests might enjoy to pass the time. You might include music, books and magazines, a cozy seating area with lighting, a desk, and guidebooks and maps for your area.

A test drive

One of the best ways to find out if your overnight guests will be truly comfortable is by spending the night in your own guest room. You'll quickly discover if everything meets your standards of hospitality and will have the opportunity to make adjustments so you're ready whenever friends or family want to stay.

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