9 Guest bedroom design mistakes and how to avoid them

Ensure your guests have a comfortable and relaxing stay by steering clear of these common bedroom design mishaps

Guest bedroom design mistakes to avoid
(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

If you love to play host, often have guests to stay and fancy yourself as a bit of an amateur hotelier, then you'll want to know exactly how to avoid the most common guest bedroom design mistakes.

When coming with your perfect sleeping space for visitors, you'll be sure to come across plenty of bedroom ideas, but knowing how to turn these into your ideal guest bedroom ideas and not falling foul of common mistakes, is another game altogether.

A guest bedroom should be a welcoming and restful space for visiting family and friends to retreat to and relax in, so you want to know that the room you are creating will tick all their boxes. 

You might have a guest bedroom that also serves as a home office or snug, so making sure the space is both comfortable and practical is hugely important.

Martin Waller, Founder of Andrew Martin, says ‘A guest bedroom should feel like a home away from home for those visiting. On one hand comfort and practicality should be a priority; on the other, a chance to be a little more adventurous with pattern and colour.’

Guest bedroom design mistakes

No matter what the size of your room, avoiding these guest bedroom design mistakes will ensure a space that will receive rave reviews from visiting friends and family.

1. Not providing guests with cosy bedding

Guest bedroom design mistakes to avoid

(Image credit: Future Plc/Dominic Blackmore)

A well dressed bed will lure your visitors to their slumber and give your room a boutique-hotel vibe. Layer up throws and blankets and opt for statement cushions as a finishing touch. If it's a particularly cold season, keep extra blankets in a basket nearby so guests can add more layers if they feel chilly. 

You want to know your guests are in for a comfortable nights sleep so not only do you want the bed to look good, but feel good too. Knowing which are the best mattresses to buy will ensure your visitors will be lulled to sleep in an instant.

2. Forgetting the addition of an armchair

Guest bedroom design mistakes to avoid

(Image credit: Future Plc/David Brittain)

An armchair in your guest bedroom provides a space not only for reading, but also a place to keep clothes too. Often a bulky wardrobe isn't needed in a spare room (unless you have guests that tend to stay for extended lengths of time), so an occasional chair could be the space-saving answer you are looking for.

Vicky Silverthorn, professional organiser at You Need a Vicky says, 'You don't need to furnish a guest bedroom like you would your main bedroom, so think carefully before buying large bedside tables or wardrobes.' 

'Putting aside empty cupboard space for guests who are only staying for a weekend and keep their belongings in a suitcase anyway (sometimes there is no need to unpack for an overnight stay) may not be a practical thing to do.'

That said, if you think you could do with the extra storage space for keeping books or other knick-knacks, bedside table ideas are a great one to look into.

3. No wall mirror

Guest bedroom design mistakes to avoid

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

If your guest room is mostly used as a home office or chill out room for the kids, a mirror can be overlooked as an essential. But not only will your visitors appreciate having a place to check their appearance, it will also help to open up the space and bounce natural light around the room. 

4. Forgoing a rug

Guest bedroom design mistakes to avoid

(Image credit: Habitat)

Whether you have hard flooring or carpet, a rug like the Jute and tassel rug, £60, Habitat is a great way to add warmth and cosiness to your guest bedroom, as well as adding colour, texture and pattern to you space. Not only do they keep toes toasty on chilly mornings, they are a great way to zone a space as well as connect it, even in small bedrooms. Go oversized with the edge sitting under the bed.

Jemma Dayman, Buyer, Carpets at Carpetright says, 'When planning your guest bedroom, take the function of the room into account and avoid flooring that is impractical. While you may want to choose your flooring based off what looks good, keep in mind the use of your guest room.'

'Comfort and luxury are a top priority for guests, and so you should avoid flooring that is uninviting and cold. Instead, opt for flooring such as carpet, which is soft underfoot and sound absorbing to help guests relax away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house'.

5. Only one light level

Guest bedroom design mistakes to avoid

(Image credit: John Lewis & Partners)

To create a cosy ambience, think about including a range of bedroom lighting options. While a ceiling light is great for illuminating the whole room, having some low light, side or table lights will help to achieve a cocooning space. Wall, as well as low-level ceiling hung lights, are not only a space-saving option, freeing up small bedside tables for your guests' belongings, but create an attractive symmetry to the room too.

Julian Page, Head of Design at BHS says, ‘When it comes to lighting a guest bedroom, focus on the cosy aesthetic. Soft mood lighting is key as a way to wind down and relax. Achieve this with bedside lighting, which can also double as a handy task light, providing proficient lighting for tasks such as reading a favourite book in bed. If you’re aiming for something different, try a bedside wall lamp or even a pendant!’

6. Shying away from a headboard

Guest bedroom design mistakes to avoid

(Image credit: KD Loves)

A headboard like this Emma kingsize headboard in Oak Leaves in Raspberry £1,600, KD Loves, in your guest bedroom could be just the item you need to make a stylish statement, the bigger the better! 

Martin Waller, Founder of Andrew Martin says, ‘Don’t be afraid to choose a more outlandish style of headboard as this only adds more character. We no longer need artwork in bedrooms when we have a headboard shaped to elaborate perfection or upholstered in a bold-patterned fabric acting as a piece of artwork itself’

Headboard ideas are great for giving a boutique-hotel vibe to your guest bedroom.

7. Opting out of curtains

Guest bedroom design mistakes to avoid

(Image credit: Future Plc/Dominic Blackmore)

Flooring to ceiling bedroom curtains are a luxurious window dressing that will help insulate the room, block out direct sunlight and frame your windows beautifully. They also make a great room divider, if you want to hide away your home office space or gym equipment. Opt for black-out curtains if they are covering windows, but you can get away with unlined if they are just zoning a space. 

8. Not measuring your furniture

guest bedroom design mistakes to avoid

(Image credit: Sofology)

One of the biggest guest bedroom design mistakes you can make, is not measuring your space before ordering furniture to fill it. A common mistake when looking for modern bedroom ideas is to get carried away with the overall aesthetic, order furniture that you love, then the problem of trying to fit it into you space when it arrives.

Gisela Lancaster, Buying Manager, at Sofology says, 'When planning your guest room, avoid furniture that is too large for the space you have. Measure your space beforehand to ensure that the room will fit your chosen furniture. With a sofa bed, for example, you will need enough room to accommodate when it is both folded as a sofa and in use as a bed.'

9. Ignoring storage needs

Guest bedroom design mistakes to avoid

(Image credit: Future Plc/Joanna Henderson)

Even if your visiting guests don't need a place to store things, you might still need bedroom storage ideas on hand, to organise your own items so make sure to plan it in stylishly.

To create a storage bench, turn a bookcase into smart storage that can sit at the end of your bed- perfect for basketfuls of bedding or shoes. Here gold feet made from door handles give it a pretty finish.

Fitted storage is another option that although might seem pricey will be worth the investment.

Rachal Hutcheson, National Retail Manager, Sharps says, ‘A common mistake made when planning a guest bedroom is not considering its multifunctional uses. Many people write off guest bedrooms as storage spaces, however ensuring your room is welcoming and comfortable for guests should be a priority.’ 

‘You don’t want your room to feel cramped and uncomfortable, but you still need to make the most out of the storage space available. Consider bespoke fitted wardrobes, which are designed to the exact measurements of your room and can provide twice as much space as freestanding wardrobes. Fitted wardrobes offer a solution for decluttering your guest bedroom that is not only stylish, but also creates an inviting space for guests.’

What should a guest bedroom have?

A guest bedroom should have most of the essentials a main bedroom needs, such as a bed and somewhere comfortable to sit, but you can be a bit more flexible with how these items work within the room, especially if the space has a dual purpose. 

A best sofa bed is a great piece of furniture to include as it will give you more space within the room when guests aren't staying over, but will still provide you with a comfortable bed. 

Lighting is also important to create a cosy atmosphere, so think about having several lighting levels to achieve this. 

A small tea and coffee station is a nice idea too, but might not always be practical in all rooms. Even a carafe of water left out for guests is a thoughtful idea, as Angel Strawbridge reveals as one of things to do for the perfect guest bedroom.

How can I improve my guest bedroom?

To improve your guest bedroom and make it a space your guests will love, ensure you include lots of creature comforts such as cosy blankets, a couple of books or magazines, a lovely scented candle, a bale of fluffy towels and perhaps some biscuits or snacks.

Including a fluffy robe and some guests slippers is a nice touch as is  personalised welcome card or note. A tray laid out on the bed with a selection of snacks and a hot drink for when guests arrive is a thoughtful thing to do too. 

Fresh flowers always go down well as not only do they look lovely but their scent will fill the room too.

All these thoughtful touches will create a lovely guest room for visiting family and friends and ensure they leave rave reviews! 

Holly Walsh
Content Editor

Holly Walsh has been Content Editor at Ideal Home since 2021, but joined the brand back in 2015. With a background of studies in Interior Design, her career in interior journalism was a no-brainer and her passion for decorating homes is still as strong as it ever was. While Holly has written for most of the home titles at Future, including Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, Homes and Gardens and Style at Home, Ideal Home has always been her ideal home, and she can be found sharing her expertise and advice across both the printed magazine and the website too.