Make sure your guests receive a 5-star treatment, thanks to stylish, super-comfy bedding ideas for guest rooms. While the furniture and layout of your guest bedroom ideas are important, it’s the bed – and bed linen – that guarantees a restful night’s sleep away from home.
‘The bed is the most important item,’ says interior designer Nicky Dobree, ‘so it needs to have a good mattress. Choose one that is medium-firm, enabling guests to sleep comfortably in most positions.’
Of course, you need to think about the basics too, duvet (and what tog to buy) are as important as the outer layers of duvet covers, pillowcases, throws and cushions. ‘Make sure the duvet, pillows and bed linen on the guest bed is as comfortable as the bedding on your own bed, after all, you don’t want your guests heading down to breakfast looking like they haven’t slept a wink,’ says Emily Attwood, Founder, Scooms.
When it comes to bedding (and the fun part of dressing a guest bedroom), ‘Crisp white sheets in cotton or linen will allude to the hotel-inspired feel, while opting for accessories in tones that compliment your headboard will tie the look together and add that all-important balance,’ says Emma Deterding, Founder & Creative Director, Kelling Designs and Kelling Home.
‘Dress the bed in your guest bedroom with an eye for comfort and style. Start with a natural fibre duvet and pillows of varying sizes to make the bed look inviting. A high-quality wool blanket folded over the bed or draped over a chair adds a pop of colour and instant warmth, allowing guests to adjust their sleeping temperature as needed.’ Bethan John, Co-founder, The British Blanket Company.
Bedding ideas for guest room
Ready to kit your guest bedroom out in style and make the bed look amazing? Try our edit of ways to dress the bed, impressing guests and ensuring they get a great night’s sleep too.
1. Work to a theme
Freshen up a guest bed with bed linen on a floral theme. Start with a neutral stripe duvet cover and pillowcases, folding a patterned quilt over the bottom third of the bed, picking out colours from it for cushions and a blanket.
Layering a bed suggests to guests that they will be super-comfortable as they can adjust the quilt/throw/blanket combination to suit their own personal sleeping habits.
2. Dress with wool
‘To make your guest room extra special, focus on creating a warm and comfortable environment where visitors can escape the hustle and bustle of the day and recharge with a good night's sleep,' says Bethan John, Co-founder, The British Blanket Company. ‘Use high-quality bedding topped with wool blankets and provide soft lighting to create a cosy atmosphere.’
Choose a soft colour palette to help this restful mood, with soft grey, sage and ecru all calming choices. ‘For your guest bed, opt for bed linen that is both luxurious and comfortable. High thread count cotton or soft washed linen are excellent choices as they are breathable and gentle on the skin,’ says Bethan.
3. Get the basics right
‘A great guest bedroom starts with a really comfy bed, lovely linen and soft pillows,’ says Chrissie Rucker, OBE, Founder of The White Company. White always looks fresh and crisp, while bed linen with a sateen edge adds a touch of hotel luxury.
Make sure you’ve plenty of pillows for your guests, mixing some hard and soft ones, so they can find one or two that are like those they have at home. A throw or blanket will keep them cosy if it gets cold at night. Choose one with co-ordinating cushions for a simple, yet classic look.
4. Treat guests to texture
Create a snuggly retreat for guests with a few cosy woollen blankets. Try the two-thirds, one-third stylist’s rule, with your base blanket covering up two-thirds of the duvet and a smaller blanket on top, folded to a thinner layer.
‘Adding a few extra textiles will make all the difference to your guest's sleep and keep them warm as toast,’ says Molly Freshwater, Co-founder and Creative Director, Secret Linen Store. ‘Call me indulgent but in winter I quite like two throws on my bed – the first acting as a base layer over my duvet which I may leave on when heading to bed and the second for a pop of colour or texture.’
5. Choose the best bed linens
Knowing where to buy the best bedding is a must for creating an inviting guest bed, but you also need to select the best materials.
‘When it comes to bed linen, brushed cotton is a fabulous choice for winter evenings, not only is it super cosy and warm, but the brushing of the cotton also ensures it’s super soft with a capital S,’ says Molly Freshwater, Co-founder and Creative Director, Secret Linen Store.
‘One hundred per cent linen is also another great fabric to consider. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s best primarily for warm, summer months. The natural fibres make brilliantly breathable bedsheets that keeps your body temperature regulated throughout the night – meaning guests are cosy in winter.’
Why not add a frilled throw to your guest bed? The soft frills will give a lovely inviting look to crisp bed linen. Choose natural shades, making it easy to mix in throws and cushions.
6. Pick a hero fabric
‘As with any bedroom, an upholstered headboard idea in a statement shape will help create a focal point that will also act as an anchor for the overall design scheme. Choose a shape and design you love, and whether you opt for velvets in bold colours, or a beautiful, patterned fabric, use this as the base for the rest of your scheme,’ says Emma Deterding, Founder & Creative Director, Kelling Designs and Kelling Home.
Take a tip from boutique hotels and add a throw to the base of the bed (or a bed runner). Designed to keep the bottom of the bed clean when guests lie on the bed with shoes on, it’s a great way of adding an accent colour too.
7. Be bold with pattern and colour
Create a room that will leave a lasting impression on guests, with plenty of vibrant pattern.
‘I love the idea that someone could come to stay with me and immediately feel at home,’ says Molly Mahon, founder Molly Mahon. ‘I feel more comfortable in a space that's got colour, layers, texture with many points of interest - that has an energy to it. So, for me, a delightful guest room is full of lots of colour and pattern, that all merges together comfortably.’
A guest room allows you to be braver than perhaps you would in your own bedroom. The trick to making your guest room still feel like a part of your home is to use the same colour scheme that runs throughout each room, but in stronger, bolder hits – like a hero wallpaper idea that uses accents from your living room.
8. Keep it symmetrical
In a twin guest bedroom, dress each bed as a mirror image for the ultimate boutique hotel vibe. Try a denim throw on each, with a simple hero cushion, then add a snug sheepskin for extra warmth.
Crisp white bed linen always looks great – hoteliers tend to use bed linen of 400-500 thread count. The higher the thread count, the softer the feel of the bed linen. Choose housewife pillowcases (ones without a flange), keeping the bed linen simple, which allows the throws and cushions to shine.
9. Tuck everything in
For a neat guest bed look, try tucking the duvet and throws under the mattress – this gives a lovely clean, crisp feel to the space. Layer a textured blanket over a velvet throw, with a formal arrangement of pillows – two larger 60 x 60cm ones placed behind your pillows, with two smaller 40 x 40cm ones in front.
Make sure bedside table ideas have all guests might need – a lamp, clock and few favourite books are a lovely touch. And do make sure there’s a chair or bench to pop the cushions on when guests are ready to climb into bed.
10. Be dramatic
Try a new look in your guest bedroom, experimenting with a colour style or palette that you might want to then try in your own bedroom. Dark grey can give a lovely cocooning effect, when teamed with plenty of texture. Try painting the wall behind the bed a dark colour, which can be a handy tool in a small room as visually pushes the wall away, making the space appear bigger than it is.
Use different shades of grey to add definition, with cushions an easy way to give a divan base more presence, doubling as a headboard
What should I put in my guest room?
Wondering what to put in a guest room? It's all about home comforts. ‘Take time to think about the extras, so leave some extra pillows and a throw in the guest room to ensure they have a restful night’s sleep,' says Emily Attwood, Founder, Scooms.
'A bedside lamp and non-ticking clock are also useful additions to providing a comfortable space. Towels, toiletries and necessities will add that extra touch, so be sure to provide enough bath and hand towels and leave them where your guests will think to look. A hairdryer and some toiletries like toothpaste and shampoo also add a thoughtful touch.’
‘When arranging the room, consider your own pet peeves as a house guest,’ adds Molly Freshwater, Co-founder and Creative Director, Secret Linen Store. ‘Don’t you hate having to bend down to dig around in your suitcase on the floor? And isn’t it a pain stashing dirty tissues into your pocket because there’s no bin? The art to hospitality is making visitors feel comfortable by anticipating their needs and it’s these little touches that will transform their visit into a five-star stay. Why not add a bench or chair at the end of the bed for them to throw their clothes and shoes on?’
‘Every guest room ideally needs to smell great - fresh flowers and foliage look welcoming and use a diffuser filled with a relaxing scent. A spritz of a favoured room spray on the day will be a welcoming touch,’ says Chrissie Rucker, OBE, Founder of The White Company.
‘A few magazines or books are great for making it a lovely place to retreat and perhaps a radio if they may enjoy a lie in with a cup of tea. And don’t forget a universal charger and a card with your WiFi code – saves them having to ask.’
How do you make a guest bedroom cosy?
‘I love preparing a room for guests, I give the room a really good clean and throw crisp sheets on the bed and fresh fluffy towels in a pile on the chair. We always place a small vase of flowers in the room, ideally from the garden, I feel it makes our guests feel really welcome and wanted!' says Molly Mahon, founder Molly Mahon.
'In the evening I love to pop up and turn on their bedside light and if it’s chilly pop a hot water bottle in their bed. I always like our guest to know how much we love having them to stay and feel that these little touches help express the joy of having them in our house.'
Meet the experts
Chrissie grew up in Kent and left school at 16 with 6 O-levels. She went on to study couture fashion and design, before working on magazines including Harpers & Queen,Vogue, Brides, GQ and House & Garden. She also held a PR role at Clarins, and founded The White Company in 1994. There isn’t an area of the business Chrissie hasn’t been involved in and understood the challenges of. Today, Chrissie’s vision and passion for The White Company remains at the heart of the business.
Molly is a British printmaker who started at her kitchen table and now runs a design studio which distributes designs globally. Having partnered with Christies, Firmdale Hotels, Cabbages & Roses and more recently Boden amongst others, Molly understands the power of pretty print and aims to offer the most modern and fresh prints and colours amongst our community.
Make sure the bed is the star of your guest bedroom with these tips.
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Jennifer Morgan is an award-winning editor, writer and stylist, with over 25 years’ experience writing, styling and editing home interest magazines. Jennifer was the deputy editor of Ideal Home from 2008-2010, before launching Ideal Home’s sister title, Style at Home in 2010. Jennifer went on to launch several craft magazines and websites, before going freelance in 2016, with a client list that includes John Lewis, Dunlem and Nordic House. Today, she writes for Ideal Home, Real Homes, Waitrose, Woman & Home, Sainsbury’s Magazine and Homes & Gardens. But it was during lockdown that Jennifer realised her dream of publishing her own magazine – Simply Scandi.
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