- 1. Keep things neutral
- 2. Save space with wall-mounted furniture
- 3. Create the illusion of space with mirrors
- 5. Choose blinds over curtains
- 6. Go for a large ceiling light
- 7. Make a statement with a headboard
- 8. Keep decorations to a minimum
- 9. Utilise smart storage options
- 10. Define a small room with a big rug
Whether you’re hosting over the festive period or your mother-in-law likes to ‘drop in’ unannounced, having a guest bedroom ready and raring for visitors is essential. But if you’re working with limited space and funds, these small guest bedroom ideas on a budget should inspire you to make the most of what you’ve got.
Yes, you might already be clued up on the best guest bedroom ideas and the best small bedroom ideas, but what happens when you have a guest bedroom that’s a little on the small size? Although you might assume that you have to rein in your creativity, that’s not the case at all. The right home decor can look stylish and make a room look and feel bigger.
Of course, we understand that most people don’t have a bottomless decorating money pot (we wish), which is why we’ve asked the experts for their best tips and tricks on how to maximise space in your guest bedroom without breaking the bank.
Small guest room ideas on a budget
‘By focusing on smart furniture choices, colour palettes, and a clutter-free design, you can transform a small guest bedroom into a cosy retreat without breaking the bank,’ says Ava Wilson, Chief Editor at Unclutterer. To help you do just that, we’ve asked the experts for their top tips and tricks on how to bring small guest room ideas to life on a budget.
Ava Wilson, Unclutterer’s Chief Editor with 25 years in cleaning, started with a mop and now leads a team of 20. Merging hands-on experience with management expertise, she transforms cleaning into inspiring lessons. Ava's eco-focused insights make Unclutterer a go-to for sustainable cleaning wisdom.
1. Keep things neutral
A fresh coat of paint can completely transform a room, and while certain colours can make a large room feel smaller and more cosy, there are other colours that can make a small room look bigger. That’s the route you want to go down if you want to make the bedroom look bigger.
And while you could opt for colours such as terracotta or pale blue, keeping your colours neutral is one of the best ways to keep your guest bedroom clean, crisp, and suitable for every single guest that walks through your door.
Michael Rolland, Managing Director at The Paint Shed comments, 'Paint all walls the same colour - preferably white, but if not a light tone. By painting all four walls in the same colour, you lose the sense of a hard border between walls, and it helps them disappear from peripheral vision.'
'This brightness creates the illusion of a bigger space because it draws each wall away from the other, instead of imposing inwards on the room, while still being cosy and welcoming. Farrow and Ball’s ‘All White’ paint is a tried and tested option to make a room feel bigger.'
If you want to make the most of the small space that you have and create the illusion of a larger guest room, Sophie Clemson, Co-Founder and Director of The Living House, suggests, ‘For an uncluttered look, you could paint the shelves the same colour as the walls.’
2. Save space with wall-mounted furniture
Guest bedrooms are typically smaller than the average master bedroom, so you need to be smart when arranging furniture in a bedroom. If your aim is to make the space feel bigger, it’s best to assess the space you’re working with and the furniture that you have in it.
Camilla Lesser, Development Manager at Essential Living, says, ‘Reassess the current set-up of the room if possible, try to clear this space and move large and obstructive pieces of furniture out of the way.’ Then, save yourself some space (and money) by switching it out with some wall-mounted furniture instead.
Sophie adds, ‘Using wall-mounted furniture means you will still be able to see the floor, which is a great trick to make the room feel bigger. Instead of using chunky bedside tables, go for wall-mounted tables. They are great for tight spaces and can be very affordable.’
In fact, this GFW Harmony Wall Mounted Bedside Table Set from Argos will set you back just £80 for two. But bedside tables aren’t the only things you can swap out. ‘The same goes for the bed; choose a bed with legs so you can see underneath rather than a divan base,’ adds Sophie.
Sophie is co-founder and director of The Living House. An affordable online interior design company, who specialise in creating homes that work for busy families.
3. Create the illusion of space with mirrors
Mirrors not only give guests that home-away-from-home feel, but they also have the ability to play tricks on the eyes.
Sarah Lloyd, Paint and Interiors Specialist at Valspar Paint, says, ‘A full-length mirror is essential in a guest bedroom. If your guest bedroom is on the smaller side, the mirror will help to add the illusion of more space, especially if positioned opposite a window with incoming natural light. This is a great tip for winter when natural light is even more sacred.’
Of course, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a designer mirror to create this illusion of space. The M&S mirror the Ideal Home editors can’t get enough of is just £139, or this Essentials Full Length Wall Mirror from Dunelm is just £12! Alternatively, you could try finding second-hand options in charity and vintage shops or opt for online selling platforms such as Facebook Marketplace and eBay.
4. Opt for a sofa, chair or day bed
If you have a small guest bedroom that doubles up as a home office, it might not work in your favour to deck it out as a typical bedroom - especially if you only host occasionally. In fact, adding a full-size bed into a dual-purpose room will just make the space look smaller.
If you want to make the room look bigger while still having space to work from home, it may be that the best sofa bed or chair bed could suit your small guest bedroom better. Ashleigh Ellis, Director of Upholstery and Furniture at ScS, explains the difference between the two.
‘Chair beds are generally smaller in size compared to sofa beds, making them a better choice for more compact spaces. Obviously, sofa beds typically offer a larger sleeping area (generally up to a double bed size) so can accommodate more people comfortably.’
Both sofa beds and chair beds have their plus points and their drawbacks, but generally, your own needs and budget will determine which one will suit you better. However, Margaret Lawson from Sustainable Furniture says, ‘For those on a budget, a chair bed is far more affordable than a sofa bed, and it is possible to find a chair bed that is both stylish and comfortable for as low as £150.’
Alternatively, you might have enough space in your guest bedroom to add a slightly larger day bed that can pull out into a double.
5. Choose blinds over curtains
There are so many amazing bedroom curtain ideas out there, but if you have a small guest bedroom, it’s best to avoid them. While curtains can often create a cosy and warm environment, this cosiness can also result in a small bedroom looking and feeling even smaller. So, it’s best to choose bedroom blind ideas over curtains.
But what kind of blinds would suit a smaller guest bedroom? Daniel Hatfield, Brand Manager at Luxaflex, says, ‘In a small guest bedroom. it’s key to maximise the natural daylight but also keep out any draughts and cut back on external noise - creating a tranquil space for your guests.’
‘Space-saving and stylish window coverings such as roller blinds offer a great solution and are cost-effective. They're not just a design statement but practical, too, as these types of blinds aren’t bulky, and they fit neatly into the window’s recess.’
Plus, you also have the ability to choose stylish blinds that co-ordinate with the rest of the room. ‘Have your blinds created in a shade that reflects your main colour scheme for an instantly ‘pulled together’ look,’ explains Daniel.
6. Go for a large ceiling light
Small bedroom lighting ideas differ from larger bedroom lighting ideas, as you need to be sure that the decisions you make are working with your small bedroom rather than against it. Of course, this is the same when it comes to a guest bedroom - but a small space doesn’t mean you have to stick to small or boring lighting options.
To make a guest room look bigger without spending too much money, Sophie suggests, ‘Go for a large ceiling light that will draw your eye upwards and create a statement. It doesn’t need to be glitzy or expensive, there are some beautiful large paper origami-style ceiling shades that will create an impact. For other lighting in the room, look at wall lights instead of table lamps to free up some space on the bedside tables.’
7. Make a statement with a headboard
When you have a limited amount of space to work with, it’s important to ensure that everything you put in your small guest room has a purpose and makes a statement in its own way. And if you want to add a stand-out piece of furniture that doesn’t encroach on valuable floor space, opting for a statement headboard could be the way to go.
‘A statement headboard in your guest room will not only add visual interest to your space, but according to the principles of Feng Shui, it will also provide well-structured energy and an added layer of stability inside your bedroom space,’ explains Sarah.
However, think carefully before purchasing a statement headboard for your small guest bedroom, as the wrong shape could spell disaster for your space. Sarah suggests, ‘Invest in a curved headboard, rather than an angular or sharp shape, to keep things soft and welcoming.’
You don’t necessarily have to spend a fortune on this guest bedroom addition, either. If you wanted to, you could even DIY your own headboard like the one show above to save money.
8. Keep decorations to a minimum
Many people struggle with decluttering their homes, but this necessary household task has countless benefits. Not only can it be extremely therapeutic, but having space on shelves, bedside tables, cabinet tops, and other furniture can create the illusion of extra space. That’s why it’s always a good idea to keep decorations to a minimum in your small guest bedroom.
Ava says, ‘A few well-placed items like a small painting, a mirror, or a potted plant can add charm without cluttering the space.’ But that doesn’t mean that you’ll be left with a clinical guest bedroom that’s devoid of personality.
She adds, ‘'Add a few personal touches like a small vase, a stack of books, or a cosy throw blanket. These small additions can make the space feel more welcoming.’ You just need to make sure that you don’t go overboard or clutter the room with unnecessary items that don’t serve any purpose or add that special touch.
9. Utilise smart storage options
No bedroom would be complete without bedroom storage ideas - and this is the same in a guest bedroom. And while your guests won’t be staying for the long haul, we’re sure they’d still appreciate being able to unpack their clothes and have space to spread out their personal items.
You should always think about space before adding in any storage options, though. In a small guest bedroom, large free-standing wardrobes or a giant chest of drawers will just make a space look smaller - and these big pieces of furniture will also cost you a fortune in the process. Instead, opt for smarter storage options that will benefit your small guest bedroom in many different ways.
‘Utilise multifunctional furniture with storage capabilities, like an ottoman with storage inside or a bed with drawers underneath,’ says Ava. ‘Wall-mounted shelves are also a great way to store and display items without taking up floor space.’
10. Define a small room with a big rug
Layering textures can instantly up the style ante in a bedroom, but it can sometimes make a small room look even smaller. Because of this, it’s best to keep bed linen and accessories to a minimum and floor coverings simple and effective. That’s where a large rug comes into the picture.
Sophie says, ‘Go large when choosing a rug for your small bedroom as it will make the bedroom feel larger. An oversized rug that extends under your furniture will draw the eye wider, creating an illusion of space and making your room feel more open.’
Plus, whatever bedroom rug idea you choose to bring to life can be used to compliment the rest of the room, add a pop of contrasting colour, or even cover up the ugly carpet you don’t want to spend money on to replace. You just need to make sure that you choose the right size rug for the right space.
You don’t have to remortgage your house to buy a large rug for your small guest bedroom, either. This Habitat Distressed Mirage Patterned Rug is just £55, and you could even pick up this Isla Rug from Dunelm that has an RRP from £19 and comes in ten colourways and eight different sizes.
How do you set up a guest bedroom on a budget?
The cheapest way to set up a guest bedroom is to use what you already have instead of purchasing all-new furniture to deck out the space. It may be that you have a spare rug lying in the loft, you might have a chest of drawers in your hallway that no longer gets used, and you might even have a spare bed if your kids have flown the nest.
Of course, it may be that you have to buy new furniture for a guest bedroom. If that’s the case, ditch high-end designer shops in favour of high-street brands that offer similar styles on a budget. Then, you should be able to set up an entire guest bedroom for just a few hundred pounds, including a new bed and furniture.
How do I get the most out of my small guest bedroom?
It’s important to use all of the tricks of the trade to make a small guest room look bigger. This can easily be done by making smart space-saving choices. For example, swapping a full-size double bed for a sofa bed or day bed, ditching large pieces of furniture in favour of floating shelves or hanging rails, and keeping clutter to a minimum.
By keeping as much of the floor and as much of each surface free of ‘stuff,’ you should be able to make the space feel much bigger. Adding in a large mirror can also create the illusion of more space.
How to decorate a small bedroom in low budget?
You don’t have to spend a fortune on decorating a small bedroom. Sometimes, all you need to do is give the walls a fresh lick of paint, remove or change the layout of old furniture, and add a few personal touches here and there.
If you want to make the space look bigger, shelling out for affordable rugs, blinds, and space-saving storage will work in your favour. Thankfully, it’s not hard to find cheap options that are still sturdy and stylish.
So, how will you be decorating your guest bedroom?
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Lauren Bradbury is a freelance writer and major homes enthusiast. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from the University of Chichester in 2016, before dipping her toe into the world of content writing. After years of agency work, writing everything from real-life stories to holiday round-ups, she decided to take the plunge and become a full-time freelancer in the online magazine world. Since then, she has become a regular contributor for Real Homes and Ideal Home, and become even more obsessed with everything interior and garden related. As a result, she’s in the process of transforming her old Victorian terraced house into an eclectic and modern home that hits visitors with personality as soon as they walk through the door.
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