What to put in a guest room - experts agree these 12 things are all you need to create the perfect space for visitors

They’ll never want to leave!

Welcome grey tray
(Image credit: Future PLC/Holly Joliffe)

If you’re wondering what to put in a guest room, you’re already one step further to becoming the hostess with the mostest. But to truly wow your guests, we’ve asked the experts for their tips and tricks on what really makes a guest room shine. 

It may be that you’ve already brought your guest room ideas to life through your chosen paint colours and home decor, but turning a spare room into a guest room is so much more than that. To create the perfect space for your visitors, you need to anticipate all of your guests wants and needs and then fill it with all of the essentials. 

But if you’re worried this is going to set you back a fortune, don’t worry. You probably already have these guest room essentials elsewhere in your home, which means you just need to play a little game of musical chairs.

What to put in a guest room

‘Exuding comfort and cosiness, your guest room should allow any friends or family to feel right at home. While this may not be a space used often or heavily decorated, it’s still important to design a room that will accentuate your guest’s stay,’ explains Annah Kelly, Styling Expert for Bridgman

But what should you put in a guest room, exactly? Well, we’ve got the lowdown below. 

1. A comfortable place to sleep

Guest bedroom with neutral bedding and minimal decoration

(Image credit: Future PLC/Matthew Williams)

Even if your parties turn into all-night dance-a-thon in the kitchen, your guests will probably want somewhere to lay their heads eventually. That’s why it’s always important to give visitors somewhere comfortable to sleep in your guest bedroom.

And while you may be wondering where to buy a bed, you don’t necessarily have to deck out your guest bedroom in a full-size bed if you don’t have the space. There are many other alternatives, including the best sofa beds, the best chair beds, and even day beds that pull out into doubles.

Ultimately, you want to make your guest as comfortable as possible, but make sure you don’t overstretch yourself with this piece of furniture. If you have a small guest bedroom, opt for a smaller alternative that will fit the space better. 

2. Multi-functional furniture

Bedroom with large blue wooden headboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/Bee Holmes)

Does your guest room also double up as your junk room, your walk-in wardrobe, and your home office, all at the same time? If yes, there’s a high chance that you’re limited on space when it comes to furniture for your guests. That’s where multi-functional furniture has its place to shine. 

‘Guest rooms are often used for other purposes throughout the year, so investing in multifunctional furniture will allow the room to double up as an office, library or studio,’ explains Jonathan Clark, Creative Director of Shelved. ‘Multifunctional furnishings offer a seamless look and provide a multitude of options for both display and storage, without being clunky or disjointed.’ 

‘Consider incorporating a desk unit with a built-in bookshelf or a bed with an overhead bookcase; not only can these types of furniture save on space, but they allow you to add a touch of personality to the room.’

3. Plush soft furnishings

bedroom with double bed and side table

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you want your guests to feel at home in your home, try to make it feel as warm and cosy as possible. Because of this, it might be a good idea to stock up on some plush soft furnishings. 

You might even have some spare cushions or throws lying around the house or sitting in the loft, so you could make your guest bedroom feel like a hotel without spending any money at all. But whatever you do, try to add a few different textures throughout the room.

‘Incorporating a wide range of soft furnishings within your guest bedroom is a necessity if you want your guests to feel as comfortable as possible,’ explains Margaret Larson at Sustainable Furniture. ‘Thick and textured throws will not only add visual interest to the room, but they also ensure guests are warm and snug during cold winter evenings. 

‘As the bed is the focal point of the room, I recommend incorporating a variety of plump cushions. This will create the appearance of a fuller bed so guests know from the start that they're in for a comfortable night's sleep.’

Headshot of Margaret Larson
Margaret Larson

Margaret Larson, Managing Director of multi-award-winning Sustainable Furniture LTD, has long used her passion for transforming spaces to explore and test the latest home interior trends. Margaret enjoys sharing both interior and exterior design tips with readers to provide fresh ideas to spruce up their space.

4. Convenient storage options

Headboard with hidden storage

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

Whether you have guests staying for a weekend or a week, they’re going to come with baggage - but not the bad kind. And while you may use your guest room as a place to store your out-of-season wardrobe or your craft items, you should make sure you give your guests some storage options, too.

It could be that you temporarily clear out a whole chest of drawers and a wardrobe for your guests to unpack their belongings during their visit, or you could invest in smart bedroom storage ideas that will allow you to hide your belongings out of sight - for example, in the headboard! 

Ultimately, you need to give them somewhere they can call their own. Poppy Duffree from Organised Interiors says, ‘Consider an item of furniture that's exclusively for guest use, ideally some hanging space and shelving so that guests can unpack their clothing and feel at home.’ 

5. Extra bedding

Bedding and a book on a bed

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Everyone has their own needs and requirements when it comes to having a restful night’s sleep. Some people run hot, while others like to be snuggled up in as many layers as possible while resting their heads on a mountain of the best pillows.

That’s why you should also put extra bedding in a guest room to let your guests determine their own sleeping arrangements. You don’t need to go overboard on this task, though. A couple of extra blankets and a few different pillows will go a long way. 

6. A mirror

Green guest bedroom with bright bedding

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jon Day)

If you’re stuck on what to put in a guest room, just think about what you’d want in your bedroom. And no bedroom would be complete without a mirror, right? Not only are they practical from a guest’s perspective, but they can also be pretty handy if you’re limited on space. 

‘In small bedrooms, guests may feel cramped and struggle to relax,’ explains Margaret. ‘By incorporating a mirror it provides added depth through the illusion of more space. This can go a long way in helping guests feel more comfortable. A mirror is also helpful when it comes to checking outfits or doing your makeup, so it is a small detail that can come in handy when guests are staying in your home.’

You can choose whatever type of mirror you’d like, too. It may be that you choose to buy a standard full-length mirror, or you might opt for a smaller, stylish mirror. 

7. A guest basket filled with goodies

Welcome grey tray

(Image credit: Future PLC / Tim Young)

Guest baskets are a new trend, and they’re one of the best ways to take your hosting skills up a notch. Essentially, a guest basket is a basket of goodies that you put in a guest room for your visitors to enjoy. You could fill it with anything from essential toiletries to local foods or even kid-friendly options.

Thankfully, there are so many guest basket ideas out there to give you inspiration, and you can choose to add as much or as little as you’d like. But we’d always suggest providing your guests with water and a few snacks to ensure they never go hungry or thirsty. 

8. Fresh towels

Bed with chair bedside table

(Image credit: Future PLC / Tim Young)

No matter whether they have their own en-suite or whether they’re using a shared family bathroom, you should always provide your guests with their own fresh towels. First and foremost, this is a lovely touch. But more than anything, it reduces the risk of your guests using your towel by accident. 

‘Although towels don’t add much to the appearance of a room, it is important that guests feel as comfortable as possible and have all the amenities they require when staying in your home. Neatly folded towels at the end of a bed can mimic a hotel style interior, making your guest bedroom appear far more upmarket,’ explains Margaret. 

If you need help deciding which towels to buy, our guide on the best towels is full of Ideal Home-approved towels that we know your guests will love. 

9. Little luxuries to add that special touch

Guest bedroom with stripy wallpaper and floating bedside cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you want to take your hosting skills up a notch, giving yourself some time to add some luxury items will really make a difference. These don’t have to be expensive, though.

Tricia Guild, OBE. Founder & Creative Director of Designers Guild says, 'Simple touches such as adding a small vase of flowers and a scented candle can really make guests feel at home too. We recommend choosing a candle scent that fits the season - a low-cost, yet sophisticated touch.'

If you do have a slightly larger budget, you could even give your guests their own bathrobes - which can come in extremely handy if your guests have to use the shared family bathroom. 

10. Important house info

Bedroom with a cushion headboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

No matter if you’re hosting lifelong friends or your son’s new girlfriend, it’s important to make every guest in your house feel at ease and welcome. However, staying in someone else’s house can often make people feel uncomfortable. That’s why putting certain information in your guest room can instantly give them peace of mind.

This information could outline anything, from where they’ll find the spare key to friendly reminders about shoes in the house and even a few little facts about the family cat. Of course, there’s one very essential piece of information you should include, too.

Poppy says, ‘As the saying goes, 'home is where the wifi is', so having the wifi username and password printed out and on a table in the room would also be a much-appreciated thought!’

11. A bin

Guest bedroom with bed layered in blue and pink blankets

(Image credit: Future PLC/JoannaHenderson)

It might not be a glamorous thing to put in a guest room, but would you rather your guests had their own bin to dispose of their rubbish, or you have to clean up after them? While we have no doubts that you’ll clean the guest room after they’ve left, this task will be so much easier if you don’t have to pick all the rubbish up off the floor. 

So, pop a bin in the corner of your guest room and let your guest tidy up after themselves a little bit. A small wastepaper basket you’d normally put in a bathroom should do the trick nicely. 

12. A handy coffee station

Tray of biscuits and coffee on bed

(Image credit: Future PLC / Tim Young)

Hosting can be pretty exhausting, so we wouldn’t blame you for wanting to drink your coffee in peace in the morning. But if you want to ensure you can do this solo, why don’t you put a coffee station in your guest bedroom?

This way, your guests can make their coffee in their own room and give you more time to properly wake up before putting on your hosting smile again. It’s a win-win situation and also gives you the chance to level up your old coffee machine.

Yes, pop your old coffee machine into the guest bedroom and take the opportunity to buy one of the best coffee machines on the market for your own caffeine boost! 


What you should have in a guest room?

When preparing a guest room for visitors, you need to take a moment to anticipate all of their potential wants and needs. So, think about what you need when you’re at home - you need somewhere to store your belongings, you need clean towels in the bathroom, you need a comfortable place to sleep, and you need your home comforts. 

When you’ve added these essentials, you can then think about the little touches that will put a smile on your guests’ faces. In our eyes, you can never go wrong with a full guest basket.

How can I make my guest room more special?

Adding luxury and personal touches can instantly make a guest room more special. You could fill a basket full of their favourite things, you could hang a robe on the back of the door so they can enjoy a spa experience, or you could greet them with a vase of flowers. 

Even something simple like giving them their own wardrobe or putting a fragrant candle on the bedside table should instantly give your guest room a boost. 

Now your guest room is kitted out in the essentials all you need is the guests! 

Lauren Bradbury

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.