How many of us pay much attention to our guest room? If it isn’t used often then it may have become a dumping ground – the place where the ironing board is permanently set up ready for the ironing, somewhere to stash the suitcases or empty boxes or even the office.

With the ability to host visitors once again, there has never been a better time to revisit your guest room and make it in to a space that will make your guests feel special.

Hotel Chic

Image of a bedroom. The wall behind the bed has a panel painted to frame the bed painted in dark green. The panel is continued out across the ceiling for a short distance to give the effect of a canopy.

The feeling you are aiming for is that boutique hotel or B&B. OK your guests may be friends or family who are more concerned with the fact that they have come see you than the condition of the room where they are sleeping, but it is still nice to make that space a bit special. Any visit is a chance to escape so you want your guests to have that feeling that they might get when on holiday. You don’t need to go over the top but do put a little more thought in to your decor. A good starting point is to consider places you have stayed where the decor has appealed to you and see if you can transfer that look, or elements of it, to your spare room. However, do consider whether it’s appropriate for your location – UK rather than abroad.

At the very least give your room a fresh coat of paint, that alone will immediately make a difference. Use warm, earthy and rich tones. These are perfect for a bedroom which is principally used at night. You could use a statement wallpaper or one idea I like is to use paint to create a half tester effect over the bed which featured in BBC’s Interior Design Masters (see the image above). Paint a block behind the bed but take it up on to the ceiling to create a canopy effect.


Image of a simple light fitting comprising a brass fitting with bulb but no shade. The woven flex hangs down so that the fitting can be plugged in to a socket.

Lighting is very important in creating a mood.

There are different types of lighting – ambient lighting which is general lighting usually in the form of a ceiling light, task lighting which is designed to assist in tasks such as reading or crafts and decorative lighting which is designed purely to add interest to a scheme. In the bedroom you are likely to have an overhead ceiling light but you also need to provide lighting for your guests to be able to read in bed and possibly, if you have a seating area or a table for a laptop, a table lamp or desk lamp. If space either side of the bed is limited and you don’t have room for bedside tables that can fit a bedside lamp then the alternative is wall mounted lights. If you don’t already have these and you don’t want to go to the trouble and expense of having these wired in it is very easy to find plug-in versions that are suspended from simple brackets. A statement pendant lamp or chandelier give us that hotel vibe.


Image of a bedroom. There is a botanical wallpaper behind the bed with a curved rattan headboard. The bed is dress with with bedding and a selection of cushions and throws in soft pink and natural colours.

When it comes to furniture, your choice will primarily be decided by whether or not your spare room is purely a bedroom or whether it has to serve a dual function such as guestroom and home office and also by the size of the room. If your spare room is only going to be used as a guestroom then your main piece of furniture will be the bed. Opt for the biggest size that is consistent with the size of the room and what other furniture you need to accommodate. A large bed with plenty of space is always a luxury.

If the room has to serve a dual purpose it might be that you have to opt for a sofa bed and in choosing a sofa bed it’s important to consider what is it mainly going to be used for. Is it going to be used primarily as a bed or will it in fact be used more as a seating area? In the case of the former then obviously how the bed functions as a bed will be more important whereas if it is more often going to be used for seating then it will be more important to assess how comfy it is to sit on. In terms of other furniture your guests will need somewhere to store their clothes such as a chest of drawers and preferably some where they can hang clothes. If you don’t have wardrobes then there are very stylish freestanding hanging rails available. As referred to above, you need somewhere guests can put a book and a glass of water.


Image of a bed with white bedding. The bed is placed against a half paneled wall. The paneling is built out so as to create a shelving area on which there is a plant, a vase and some books

Bedding is a crucial element of your spare room and again take your lead from boutique hotels. Buy the best quality you can afford, the higher the thread count the better the quality. Linen it is a good choice because it’s a natural fibre which means that your guests will be warm in winter and cool in summer. White bedding always looks classy and I think it’s a nice touch to have a selection of pillows available with differing degrees of firmness so that your guests have a choice. Dress the bed with cushions and throws which also adds colour.

Finishing Touches

Here are some suggestions to elevate your guests’ experiences add those finishing touches that demonstrate that you have really thought about your guests’ comfort.

  • A carafe and glass for water.
  • A tray with tea and coffee making facilities
  • A cosy dressing gown
  • A selection of luxury mini sized toiletries or just a hand cream
  • Travel hairdryer
  • A small box with a few biscuits
  • A small vase of flowers, preferably from the garden.

And Finally …

Fragrance. My final bit of advice is to make sure that your guest room smells nice. First and foremost open the windows, there is nothing better than a room that is freshly aired. When it comes to adding fragrance I must admit that I am not a massive of plug – ins or diffusers – I find they can be overpowering. To introduce natural fragrance choose flowers that have a slight perfume. My personal favourites are freesias but roses, lilac or stocks also have a lovely perfume. A good quality scented candle always adds that boutique hotel feel.

Oh and if the weather is chilly, pop a hot water bottle in the bed!

If you are planning to welcome guests and need some help in refreshing your guest room then call me on 07745 876182 or e mail me at for a free no obligation 30 minute chat to discuss the options. As well as in person consultations I also offer e design packages. For in person consultations I cover the Wirral, Cheshire, North West and North Wales