Summer is here, and many of us are gearing up
for visits from seasonal guests. With this in mind, it’s time to spruce up that
extra room – and make it inviting, appealing and ultra comfortable for
visitors. Achieving a warm and inviting guest room doesn’t need to be an
expensive, time consuming endeavor – following are some suggestions:
- Simplicity rules. In a guest room, less is more,
since it should appeal to both sexes and to all ages, if
possible. Decorate in a clean, simple style and palette by restricting your use
of color to three or four hues, including a shade of white – which will give
the room pop. When developing the color scheme, start with a fabric you really
love, and choose one or two colors from that fabric. This fabric can be used on
pillows only – it doesn’t have to dominate the room – and you don’t need to
choose the predominate color in the fabric, just the ones you like the best.
- Choose the style. Decide
whether you want a contemporary, traditional or eclectic motif. When we design
an eclectic interior, we try to keep to a 75 to 25 percent ratio of one style
to another. Keep in mind that using predominately traditional furnishings with
a few contemporary pieces is easier to accomplish than the reverse.
- Comfort counts. Appoint the room with comfortable
items, e.g. high thread count, 100 percent cotton sheets, ultra soft pillows, European
style pillow shams, plush towels and scented candles. A great mattress and box springs are critical
– and you’ll make guests extra happy if you add a quality mattress pad. Also,
to accommodate all ages and body types, make sure the bed is not overly high or
low. The mattress pad and box springs should top out at 28 inches and be no
lower than 25 inches. Also, keep in mind that your nightstands should be at
about the same height as your bed.
- Eliminate Clutter. Don’t
fill the room with unnecessary items. Keep it clean and simple, so guests will
have plenty of room for their own belongings. Above all, clear the guest room
of all personal items.
- Lighting is essential. Bedside lamps and
additional accent lights, such as desk lamps, wall sconces and chandeliers will
all ensure that your guests can see properly and read comfortably in bed. Avoid
using ceiling lights, unless decorative, as they can create a harsh ambience. For
flexibility, have a dimmer installed two inches above the top of each
nightstand. Enhance other lights with a three-way
dimmer at the room entry.
- Shield the sun. Make sure the room has adequate
window treatments so your guests can have some privacy and sleep late. Adding blackout fabric to the backside of your
drapery will ensure total darkness. Have the drapery installer put in two
overlapping drapery tracks for each window, so when panels meet in the center
of the window, they are overlapping. Unless you do this, you will end up with a
crack of light, which can be very annoying. If you opt to use blackout shades, consider
a drapery valance, as it is the most effective way to hide the necessary
hardware, and can also act as a decorative element.
- Keep your guest room alive. Fresh flowers are a
must for any guest room – a small vase with a few stems on the bedside table is
always a welcoming and thoughtful touch. Use flowers with fragrance, if possible. I
prefer to use a colorful flower, accented by a stem or two of white flowers and
a tuber rose.
- Provide ample storage space. In addition to the
prerequisite closet, guests may like extra space to store travel accessories
and clothing. If possible, equip the room with a chest or bureau. If you do not
have enough room for a bench at the end of the bed, wooden luggage racks are a good
- Stock up on amenities. Provide an assortment of
items – shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes and toothpaste, soaps and lotions –
so your guests will not need to ask for anything. Other items to have on hand:
sharpened pencils, scratch paper, magazines and books, maps and guide books.
- Mirror, mirror.
Mirrors add depth and dimension to any room. Hang a small mirror for quick
touch-ups, a horizontal mirror usually works. Install a vertical mirror in the
closet or on the back of an inconspicuous door. Add molding around the mirror
so it has a more refined look.
- Area rugs. For wood
flooring, a large decorative area rug is a good choice. In any event, place a
small, soft rug on each side of the bed, as it is much more comfortable in the
morning when the feet hit the floor!
- Comfortable seating. So your guests can sit and
relax together, add an upholstered chair, bench, writing desk or other
furniture pieces that allow a place to sit, put on make- up or write a note. When
possible, place a chair near a window so your guest has a quiet spot to
- Spic and span. Finally, get out the vacuum
cleaner, broom, dust mop and cleansers and make sure your guest room is dirt
and dust free!
Before your guests come, spend some time in the
room and check out the fine details. See what works and what doesn’t. Is the
lighting right? Is there an alarm clock? Are there cobwebs in the corners? Is
there enough storage space? How is the room temperature?
Better yet, spend a full night in your guest room
to make sure it is just right – but be forewarned, your guests may not want to