Ideas and inspiration for guest bedrooms

If you are expecting guests for the holidays and your spare room is filled with junk, time to get creative with these ideas for a guest bedroom.


More often than not the spare bedroom tends to be the smallest room in the house, so some thought has to be given to decorating the room to to create an inviting and welcoming space.

Clean and fresh

If the room has been left unlived in for any amount of time it's going to need a good cleaning. If possible, remove any furniture from the room to thoroughly clean from top to bottom. If carpets don't need to be cleaned, freshen up by sprinkling with baking soda. Leave overnight and then vacuum clean. The baking soda helps to remove odours.

Take down curtains or window treatments and have these dry cleaned, or wash according to recommended instructions. With window treatments out of the way you can use a stepladder and soapy cloth to wipe down curtain rails or rods. If curtains are starting to look drab or faded, shop for inexpensive window treatments at your local Builders or home decor store, or find easy ideas for window treatments in our Decor section.

Pack away any personal items or move these into another room so that guests have plenty of room for their own effects during their stay. If your storage is limited and you're not sure where to put stuff, think about making up a couple of mobile storage drawers that will fit under the bed, or a storage ottoman that will fit into the room and allow you to pack things away.

Furniture that fits

If the room doesn't already have a bed this is obviously going to be your first choice. When you browse through the images shown here you will find rooms that feature base sets, and those that have custom beds with headboard and footboard.

While budget will play an important factor in what you can afford, in a smaller room it is better to shop for a bed that does not have a footboard, as this will restrict movement around the room. We offer instructions for making a basic platform bed. Also, consider a double bed rather than a larger bed, to allow space to move around the room.

If you are on a tight budget, consider investing in an air mattress that can be used for guests, or when the kids need an extra beds for sleepovers. Alternatively, a futon or sleeper-couch that serves dual-function as a sofa or bed is just as practical.

Consider also that you need to leave some space for a bedside pedestal - or two - and a place to store personal items. A small suitcase stool or bench at the end of the bed takes up little space. We offer instructions for making a simple bedside table, or a reclaimed pallet bedside cabinet. Or use these instructions to make a chest of drawers or update a pine chest of drawers for next to the bed to add even more storage to the room.

Crisp and fresh

Launder bedding in advance, or kit out the bed with new sheets and covers so that bedding smells fresh. If you do buy new sheets, buy the best you can afford... there really is a difference and your guests will appreciate it. Choose muted or natural hues for bedding to make a room feel larger (and cooler if guests will be staying over during the hot summer). 

Throw pillows can be used to add colour, pattern and texture to the bed, but have a place where these can be put away when guests want to go to sleep. A  wicker basket or laundry hamper can be used for pillows - or for laundry.

Layer the bed with a cotton sheet and a fluffy duvet and top this off with a folded cover or blanket, so that guests can stay warm should the temperature drop in the evening.




A ceiling fitting will provide light for general activities, but bedside lamps cast a soft, soothing light that will allow your guests to move around the room, or perhaps read a book in the evening.