Guest room furniture ideas - clever ways to kit out your spare bedroom

When it comes to kitting out your guest room with furniture, less can be more, and clever can look really smart

Guest bedroom with white dresser and yellow lamp
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Often the room that’s left until last to decorate, the guest bedroom has plenty of untapped potential that can be discovered with some smart guest room furniture ideas. 

Start by thinking about what you need to achieve: do your guest bedroom ideas need to multitask? Perhaps you need to be creative with furniture makeover projects, blending various pieces and styles, or making more space available if you are dealing with a small bedroom.

‘Spare rooms can often fall into the dangerous category of being a dumping ground,’ says interior designer Nicky Dobree. ‘Try not to let that happen by having good bedroom storage so your things don’t dominate the guest space.’

Guest furniture room ideas

Before you start plotting your guest room furniture ideas there are a few rules to remember. ‘When I am designing a room for holiday homes, I am careful not to over furnish – lighting, a desk/dressing table, a small chair or stool, a mirror and fresh flowers or a plant are often all you need,’ says Lisa Valentine, owner of holiday let Quay Cottage in Llandeilo.

‘Aside from the comfort of the bed, surface and storage are central when providing for a guest room and making your furniture choices,’ says Danielle LeVaillant, Head of Photography & Film, Cox & Cox. ‘There might not be space for a wardrobe, but guests need to hang their clothes, so consider a standing rail – or at the least a row of hooks behind the door.’

Emily Attwood, Founder Scooms adds: ‘Be sure to leave an empty drawer, space in the wardrobe and some hanging hooks on the door for storage. This will add to making an extended stay much more comfortable for your guests - the only problem is that your guests may never want to leave!’

1. Maximise storage space

Guest bedroom with white dresser and yellow lamp

(Image credit: Future PLC)

In an attic guest bedroom sloping ceilings can make it tricky to fit in hanging space or a wardrobe idea for visitors’ clothes. Swap a bedside table for a chest of drawers, providing lots of lovely drawer space instead. Add a hero table lamp and box or plate for bits and pieces such as jewellery or glasses once taken off – it’s those little touches that show guests how much you care.

‘Something by the side of the bed is key in a guest bedroom, providing a surface for a table lamp as well as a place to stow small items,’ says Danielle LeVaillant.

Danielle LeVaillant

Danielle is responsible for planning, creating, and delivering all visuals for online homewares retailer Cox & Cox. She is the creative mind behind the well-known clean visual style that is Cox & Cox and makes sure that every single shot strikes a coherent balance of aspiration and commerciality. Her natural passion for interior design and styling, coupled with her excellent eye for detail, led her to art direction and styling.

2. Turn old furniture into a hero piece

Green wallpaper in twin bedroom

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Budgets are often stretched thinly when it comes to decorating the spare bedroom, with furniture often ending up here from other rooms in the home, rather than buying new. Make a feature of any salvaged pieces, like a chest of drawers which has a lovely, well-worn patina, using it to set the style for the rest of the room. Try teaming with a floral wallpaper and metal bedsteads dressed with blankets to give a vintage vibe.

If the furniture you are left with in your guest bedroom doesn’t fit the bill, why not try your hand at an upcycled furniture idea? You’ll be amazed at the difference new handles and a coat of furniture paint can make (and guests will also be suitably impressed).

3. Plan in storage

White daybed with striped cushion

(Image credit: Future PLC)

When shopping for guest room furniture, look for pieces that combine bedroom storage ideas and style. Storage beds will allow you to keep clutter at bay – and you can choose from divans to wooden designs, and even day beds with drawers, all deal for stashing spare bed linen out of sight.

Be creative with any bed linen that you can’t tidy away – a rolled-up pillow in a fabric cylinder can become a bolster cushion for a day bed, just tie the two open ends with ribbon or braid.

4. Invest in bespoke

White bedroom with build in shelves

(Image credit: Future PLC)

‘More often than not, the spare bedroom will support you with storage that may not be available in the main rooms,’ says Emma Deterding, Founder & Creative Director, Kelling Designs and Kelling Home.  ‘Built-in joinery will make the best use of the space available and allow you to keep the room organised, which is important for when you have guests over, after all you want to provide them with a beautiful and restful sanctuary to sleep in.’

Think about the space around your guest bed, with shelving lined with storage baskets perfect for guests’ essentials if you don’t have much drawer space.

5. Find space for a chair

Pink and grey bedroom with grey chair

(Image credit: Future PLC)

‘If guests are staying more than two nights, a comfy chair to read a good book is a must,’ says Julia Hands, Founder & CEO of Hand Picked Hotels.  Choose a design without arms if space is tight and avoid the temptation to add too many cushions or throws. Keep it simple with just one hero cushion.

Need a compact bedside table idea? Try a stool, with enough space for a glass of water, something pretty, like a vase with a few stems in, and a mobile phone charger. Take the bedside lamp off the table, with a wall-hung design above.

6. Combine a hobby and guest room

Attic room with built in storage and sofa bed

(Image credit: Future PLC)

A pale, yet interesting colour scheme, ample storage for craft supplies and a hanging rail as a clothes storage idea make this a multi-functioning guest bedroom. A daybed that opens into a bed provides occasional overnight guest sleep space, while a side table on casters can double as a bedside table, being moved bedside when needed.

Think about what you need from your guest room – if it’s very occasional use for overnight visitors, make it work for you first, then adapt it for guests, rather than having a room with a double bed that you hardly use.

7. Create drama with a statement bed

White bedroom with four poster bed

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Make a tiny guest bedroom idea one to remember for guests with a pretty scheme focusing on a four-poster bed – even a single bed can be impactful. Choose white-painted furniture and pale wallpaper and flooring to make a small space feel light and airy, with a mirror placed next to the window wall to help reflect that natural light further.

Combine storage and bedside space with a sturdy wicker chest – you can always add a tray to provide a level surface on top for a lamp if yours is a little undulating.

8. Add luxury with velvet upholstery

Peach bedroom

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Treat guests to a touch of luxe with a velvet upholstered headboard or bed – it’s a great way to make a bedroom look more expensive.  You can get the look for less with a DIY headboard idea for your divan base, some velvet fabric and a staple gun, or splash out on a lovely professional curved design that just screams ‘welcome’. 

Dress the bed with natural bed linens and throws, balancing the more luxe velvet with softer textures. Try a natural scheme with a touch of blush or trending peach as an accent colour.

9. Keep things ship shape with a trunk

White and blue twin bedroom

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Swap a bedside chest for a storage trunk, which when teamed with white, red and blue, lends a crisp nautical touch as a small bedroom idea. A trunk is a great way to quickly banish clutter before guests arrive.

Simple divan beds with upholstered headboards, make the most of this small guest room, thanks to their small footprint. Don’t forget to treat your divan base to a concealing valance – box pleat gives a neat finish.

10. Choose a trundle bed

White bedroom with iron daybed

(Image credit: Future PLC)

A pull-out trundle bed can give you the best of both worlds when it comes to utilising your spare room for you and for guests. Try to position your bed where it’s easy to pull the second bed out, while still giving as much floor space around it as you can.

When not in use, the trundle bed allows you to utilise your guest room as a second living space, perhaps a place to where you can escape with a book.


What furniture should you have in a guest bedroom?

Think multi-functional when it comes to furniture for a guest bedroom. Julia Hands of Hand Picked Hotels says, ‘Good-quality dressing tables can make very comfortable desks as long as there is a suitable chair, while a sofa bed can provide sleeping and casual seating. If there isn’t space for a wardrobe, then some hooks with good-quality hangers serve well. More than two nights and I would say a wardrobe – even a small one – is a must.’

‘A comfy bed is a must! Don’t leave your guests on a lumpy, old mattress or hard futon that you’ve had for years. Invest in a good quality bed and mattress that will be comfortable and last for many years of visits. You should also invest in the cosiest bedding. 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.

How can I make my spare room look nice?

‘I love preparing a room for guests,’ says Molly Mahon, founder Molly Mahon. ‘I love the idea that someone could come to stay with me and immediately feel at home. 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 great guest bedroom starts with a really comfy bed, lovely linen and soft pillows. Dress beds with extra cosy throws and cushions – soft flannel is a velvety soft option and perfect during the winter months,’ says Chrissie Rucker OBE, Founder of The White Company

Now the boxing day and January sales have kicked off, it's the perfect time to revamp your guest bedroom furniture ideas ready for the new year. 

Jennifer Morgan

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.