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The Ultimate Guest Room Guide (and Checklist)!

The Ultimate Guest Room Guide (and Checklist)!

Making selections for your own interiors is one thing, but designing a guest room makes those decisions suddenly feel more important.

For starters, you want your guests to be comfortable. And if we’re honest, there’s also a dash of pride there, too…you want to offer a real “experience” for your guests, and even show off a little of your good taste.

Which design and décor will leave guests GUSHING about their experience for months to come?

And what guest room features will keep those guests coming back?!

Whether you’re hosting someone for a single night or for more than a week, this step-by-step guide walks you through the most important design elements of your guest room. Then, the checklists help you piece your design together with the selections and furnishings that REALLY deliver the “experience” you’re after!


Step 1: Start “bare”

To design the best guest room, start with a blank slate.

There will be design AND décor elements that need to be updated, so clearing out the space will give you the physical and mental room to start imagining the new look and feel.

Keeping the guest room clear once it’s furnished also means keeping it devoid of personal storage from the rest of your house! No one wants to shove aside your stack of books or drawers of out-of-season clothing…


Step 2: Choose your “feel”

We talk a lot about look and style (and even have a quiz to reveal your interior design style), but how do you want guests to FEEL?

To invoke a specific feeling, I challenge you first to decide what that feeling is.

Do you want your guests to feel like they’re in a luxe experience or a cozy one?

In most cases, I hear people default to “cozy.” This can be done with specific textures…for instance, layer a throw rug or sheepskin on the floor, and layer blankets and duvets with different colors and textures for an instantly “cozy” feel.

If you do want to give the full luxury experience, be sure to stay accessible or it could look like the one space in your home where the kids can’t jump on the furniture. A lot of it comes down to practical luxury details like overstuffed pillows and elegant window coverings…


Step 3: Think beyond the bed and bath

You’ll have LOADS of fun equipping the guest bed decorative pillows and stocking the ledge by the bathtub with bath salts and shampoos…

But when designing a guest room, you’ll want to think about every detail—floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall.

If you have the space, for example, to add a chair or desk, do it! Stage the space for maximum utility so your guests can really “settle in.”


Step 4: Sprinkle in some eye candy

Once you have the feel and staging figured out, sprinkle in the “eye candy” that gives the style vibes you want to give off!

Imagine a soaking tub set against a wall of black tile…

…Or an ornate full-length mirror by the bed…

…Or an INCREDIBLE light fixture…

Let your imagination go a little wild with this one!! For more inspiration, check out our quarterly magazine


Your Must-Have Checklist for Guest Rooms!

Next, this is the checklist to prioritize the ultimate guest room selections that your guests will rave about!

I start with the “must-haves” and then play with some fun ideas in the “extra credit” items…


The Essentials

  • “Basics” basket – The collection of new toothbrushes, travel-size toothpaste, hand sanitizer and even snacks are best organized in a basket left out for your guests to peruse.

  • Hygiene – In times of pandemic, it’s also important to provide extra cleaning supplies, disinfectant sprays and wipes in addition to hand sanitizer.
  • A mirror – EVERYONE wants to check themselves out!! And they want to do so in the privacy of the guest room, not in the hallway by the main bathroom. Read up on what your mirrors reflect about your design style

Mirror by Anthropologie

  • Empty drawers – Leave a minimum of two drawers totally empty and set ajar so that it’s clear you’re inviting your guests to use them. Be sure to leave at least half a dozen empty hangers in the closet, too!!
  • A variety of pillows – Provide more than one pillow option (like feather, down alternatives and memory foam) to ensure your guests get their beauty sleep.
  • Air fresheners – Some kind of air purifier or deodorizer should be left in the guest room to combat mustiness (especially in guest rooms that are rarely used).
  • The right flooring – Whatever kind of flooring you have, ensure the first thing your guest’s feet touch in the morning is soft and warm. This means adding some cozy space rugs if the guest room isn’t fully carpeted…
  • Shower bench – A shower design with a built-in bench should always be the preference because the ages and physical abilities of your guests will This and other features of “designing for all ages” should be top-of-mind when designing your guest room…
  • Multiple towels – A stack of fluffy towels is one of the most hotel-esque features you can include!! Don’t forget to include towels of various sizes, too.
  • Water and a glass – Always keep a fresh container of water next to a clean glass.
  • Waste basket – Ensure you have a covered waste basket, because guests WILL accumulate trash!! And if it’s covered, they won’t have to look at their litter later…
  • Extra toilet paper and a plunger – No visitor wants to ask for either of these things, so keep them in a highly-visible space in the bathroom.
  • Motion-sensor lights – Any night light to help guests navigate—especially en route to the bathroom—will be as much a luxury as it is a safety feature!
  • The WiFi password – Place this where your guests will see it, because this is a must!!


Extra Credit

There are also those items that really ramp up the guest experience…and they’re so easy to add!

  • Reading material – Leave a couple current issues of lifestyle magazines out, or even a few books of short stories or essays.
  • Slippers – Include a couple pairs of comfy slippers to give guests their choice for size and feel. Walking around in socks or barefoot isn’t anyone’s preference!
  • Charging station – Even though your guest room probably has plenty of outlets, installing a charging station (better yet on the nightstand) gives guests a more comfortable way to keep their devices charged.
  • Smart speaker – You can even treat guests to a voice-enabled music player, alarm setter, weather report and local tour guide…voice-enabled smart speakers do it all!
  • Hamper – No guest EVER knows where to put their dirty clothing! Give them a space to stash their “dirties” so they can feel more comfortable.
  • Steamer – Instead of stuffing an iron and ironing board into the closet, give your guests a simple and graceful option to get the wrinkles out of the clothing they packed away.
  • The right curtains – Curtains designed to seal out all light and keep the guest room dark at night help guests fall asleep more easily, even though they’re out of their “normal” space. Check out your window covering options!


One of the true joys of interior design is showing it off to your friends and family. With guests coming into your home to stay the night, this is the BEST opportunity for them to not only admire but experience your design choices.

Creating the best guest room is like creating a self-sustaining oasis

To get started on your own guest room redesign, book an interior design consultation!!

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