Guest bedroom ideas that will make you the host with the most

Welcome your visitors with a carefully considered home away from home

There's a lot to bear in mind when hosting friends and family. Stylish guest bedroom ideas will help set the scene for a dream visit.

A thoughtful guest room not only provides your visitors some private space, but it's also an opportunity for you to experiment with design. While with personal bedroom ideas you're after a space you can spend a great deal of time with, this isn't the case for guest rooms.

As transitory, short-term spaces they're perfect for getting creative. Aside from decorating, guest room ideas have different practical requirements, such as storage, than your master bedroom.

In addition to designing the space with guest bedroom decor, you'll need to give it a quick refresh before welcoming guests. Start by decluttering any ephemera that has snuck in over the months. Then open the windows and give the room a good clean. Finally, dress the bed with fresh sheets and spritz with a gentle linen spray to satisfy all the senses.

Guest bedroom ideas

No matter how large or small, guest bedroom ideas can make all the difference in your visitors enjoying their stay.

1. Start with the bed

guest bedroom with white wall and bed with pillows

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

A comfortable bed is a must, especially if your room is often used by guests. If you can't justify a new frame, invest in a new mattress. Choose a strong classic style that won't date and position centrally for easy access and maximum impact.

'If storage is pivotal, pick a divan over a classic bed frame,' advises Adam Black, Co-founder, Button & Sprung. 'This will allow you to maximise the storage space available without taking up any additional floor space; which is especially important for small bedrooms. Drawer storage seamlessly blends within the divan base to safely store away any bedroom essentials.'

2. Upgrade your bedding

bedroom with white walls and bed with pillows

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

'All guest beds should have four standard pillows, so that guests have the option of sleeping with either one or two,' recommends Jo James, Founder and Creative Director, Bedfolk. 'If you want to go all out, you could even offer a soft/medium and a medium/firm on each side so guests are able to create their perfect comfort level.'

'Another absolute must bedroom design tips is a pair of square pillows,' continues Jo. 'This is both for practical purposes (reading, morning cup of tea) and to make the bed look extra comfortable and plump. A throw adds comfort, texture and a subtle splash of colour. It is also a great extra layer for colder nights and the perfect light layer (partnered with a flat sheet) in the warmer months.'

'To finish off any guest bed, add towels to the foot of the bed, for the ultimate ‘night away at a hotel’ feel. Warning, they might never want to leave.'

3. Get the lighting right

bedroom with green walls and wall mounted bedside lamps

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Snook)

Layered lighting, ideally dimmable, is a must whether it's guest or master bedroom ideas you're looking for. Include a pendant or downlighters for overall light, a standard lamp to light a corner, and bedside lights for late-night reading.

‘Wall-mounted bedside lamps provide an elegant tailored feel,' says Rohan Blacker, Founder, Pooky Lights. ‘As a rule of thumb, they are best positioned so the bottom of the bulb is 45cm above the mattress to avoid any glare.'

4. Work with even the smallest of spaces

guest bedroom with white walls and shelves on wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Even if you only have the tiniest of box rooms to let your guest bedroom ideas loose on, you still have plenty of space for creativity. In small spaces, a slim, comfy cabin bed will probably take up much of the floor space, so work everything else around this. Mount reading lights and use wall units to act as somewhere to keep bedtime reading material, or to decorate with some prints.

Bedroom storage ideas aren't of the utmost importance in a room intended for short stays - hooks on the back of the door, or a small bench should suffice. Baskets on a high shelving unit is perfect for storage of items you don't need on the regular.

5. Include a dressing table

bedroom with round mirror on dressing table

(Image credit: Future PLC/Davide Lovatti)

A small desk or dressing table is a lovely touch in a guest room. Even a super slimline option will be welcomed.

These spaces provide an area for guests to lay out jewellery, apply makeup, or catch up on work with their laptop. Ensure there is good bedroom lighting so every use is catered for, and there's a plug socket nearby for hair dryers or charging cables.

6. Cater for the kids

bedroom with bunk and sofa beds

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dan Duchars)

It's not just adults who need somewhere to stay. If you have the room, a dedicated child's spare room is a fun addition to a home. Alternatively, make sure your kids room ideas can accommodate cousins or friends when needed.

Keep the floor as empty as possible to allow the maximum space for play, and integrate storage and beds elsewhere. Bunk, trundle and sofa beds are perfect for these spaces, as are under-bed storage and built-in cubbies.

7. Colour drench for impact

bedroom with blue wall and wardrobe

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Giles)

One of the most exciting things about decorating guest bedroom ideas is the option to go all-out. Since visitors tend not to stay for extended periods of time, you can push the boundaries further than you might otherwise.

While bold colour-drenched bedroom paint ideas might get tiresome quickly in your everyday space, in a spare room it creates a fun boutique hotel atmosphere.

8. Create a calming oasis

bedroom with plant in pot and bed with pillows

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If your home has a tendency to get get slightly chaotic and loud, then it's lovely to create a calm and serene space for guests to retreat to. Take inspiration from Scandi-chic by limiting your bedroom colour schemes to neutrals, decorating with natural woods and adding pops of colour through fresh greenery.

As a bonus, you can co-opt this space when not in use if you need to take a break yourself!

9. Work in easy storage

bedroom with ottoman storage at end of bed

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Your guest room may not have space for a wardrobe. Or, if it has one it's likely to hide away out of season clothes until they're needed again. 

Guests won't be bringing much with them, so a bench at the end of the bed, with boxes or baskets underneath provides both somewhere to stash items, and a surface to lay outfits on.

10. Add interest with a feature wall

guest bedroom with green wardrobes and floral panelled wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/Dominic Blackmore)

Add an illustrative feature wall to a guest bedroom with a statement wallpaper. For the most modern interpretation, use the wallpaper on a large panel rather than on a whole way.

This is perfect is you have a random length of wallpaper to hand, or if you want to try out a new design on a wall before committing to it elsewhere.

11. Keep luggage in mind

bedroom with grey wall and twin beds

(Image credit: Future PLC/Davide Lovatti)

Visitors are sure to bring bags with them, so a thoughtful touch is to ensure they have a surface to place these on. Benches at the end of a bed, or a stylish luggage rack, allow your guests to open up their suitcases to unpack, or easily see what they have.

This way you prevent dirty bags from sitting directly on your linens, or creating chaos on limited floor space.

12. Layer up neutrals

bedroom with white walls and bed with pillows

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

It's tough to go wrong with neutral bedroom ideas, and this is remains true for guest rooms. They will suit just about any type of visitor, while providing a calming and light retreat.

Introduce depth and texture with chunky throws, rustic woods and tactical rugs.

13. Give yourself more options with a twin layout

white bedroom with beds and lamps

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jason Ingram)

Twin beds are a great option for guest bedroom ideas. To save on space, allow the two beds to share one bedside table. After all, they won't be keeping too much on here. Provide a water jug, coaster and trinket dish for jewellery. However, do include two lights so each guest can read with ease.

For ultimate flexibility, choose twin beds which can easily come together to form a double when preferred.

14. Upgrade the attic

bedroom with white wall panelling, wall lighting and under bed storage

(Image credit: Future PLC/Caroline Barber)

Attic bedroom ideas are perfect for creating guest rooms. By their very nature, they tend only to be used occasionally, so sloping ceilings and a confined space is less likely to be an issue for the user.

You may not have any window coverings in these spaces, so ensure you invest in a blind or curtain so your visitors aren't woken up at the crack of dawn.

15. Pare it back

white bedroom with twin bed, woven rug and chest of drawers

(Image credit: Future PLC/David Woolley)

Make a small room feel bigger for your guests by limiting furniture to essential pieces only. You really only need a bed, a bedside table and some form of storage for bits and pieces.

If you can, keep the space under the bed clear in these smaller rooms. These will help open the space up further when not in use, and work as a perfect suitcase-storage spot when guests are over.

16. Decorate with calming shades of grey

Grey bedroom with upholstered headboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/Polly Wreford)

Grey bedroom ideas aren't going anywhere, so be a people pleaser by using them in your spare room. Stick to warmer toned greys to create a cosy, rather than cool, atmosphere. Crisp white sheets will add a touch of brightness and give off that chic hotel-like feel.

17. Clever storage

bedroom with wooden flooring and wall mounted clothes hanger

(Image credit: Ikea)

When guests drop by for an overnight or weekend stay, room to hang a change of clothes is invaluable, but a space-encroaching wardrobe isn't the only way. Instead, look at wall storage.

Buy a ready made option, or create one by hanging a minimalist rod from straps to create a place to hang clothes. Hooks provide extra storage, too.

18. Provide a welcome pack

white tray with wooden tooth bushes and toothpaste

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Bevan)

Apart from the obvious like towels (make sure you provide one large bath towel, a hand towel and a washcloth per person) it's worth supplying a small welcome pack for your guests so they feel at home. Include a few luxuries like a scented soap, an unusual cream, a special shampoo and small tube of toothpaste.

What should you have in a guest bedroom?

Guest bedrooms should be inviting and welcoming spaces, but you don't want to start adding in unnecessary items. Busy guest bedroom decor will feel cluttered and get dusty easily. 

You need a bed, of course, and at least one surface. If you're tight on space in your guest bedroom ideas then a small chest of drawers can double as storage and as a bedside table. If you have the space, wardrobes, or at least hooks on the back of the door are useful. Good lighting and at least one mirror are also essential.

What do you do with a guest bedroom when not in use?

One of the great things about guest bedroom ideas is that it doesn't have to be a visitor-only space. Make yours work as a home office or craft room. They naturally tend to end up as storage spaces, but do so in an orderly fashion so you can clear things up easily when someone comes over.

Deputy Editor

Jennifer is the Deputy Editor (Digital) for Homes & Gardens online. Prior to her current position, she completed various short courses a KLC Design School, and wrote across sister brands Ideal Home, LivingEtc, 25 Beautiful Homes, Country Homes & Interiors, and Style at Home. 

With contributions from