A Guest Room that Feels Like Home
Q: Our guest room needs some love. It has become the spot where all unused furniture from our previous life (pre-kids and many, many different houses) gets used. There is nothing beautiful or cozy about it other than the large window and the light that brings. Please excuse the poor bed making in this picture, as my children constantly are unmaking it right after I make it! I would love bedside tables, lamps, art? Anything to make it feel more complete and homier. Thank you!
-Devon C., Maplewood, NJ
A: Oh yes...the dreaded guest room furniture graveyard... Don't despair, you are not alone! The guest room often becomes a repository for furniture from homes past, but the upshot is because you already have the bigger pieces in place, you're only a few steps away from finishing off the room. I recommend addressing the windows and the lighting first, which together will go a long way to creating the cozy, welcoming vibe you want for your guests.
My top suggestion would be to play up the room's best feature, namely the big picture window. Because the bed sits against the window, and does not have a headboard, I would first think about adding some beautiful curtains to frame the window/bed arrangement. Here are some inspirational photos to illustrate what I am envisioning:
Images via Pinterest
There are plenty of great places you can look online for interesting curtains. For example, right now at West Elm, I like these, these, and these. The right curtains will serve a multitude of purposes beyond just light filtering and privacy. They will anchor the bed to the window and make the placement feel more intentional, rather than just a case of "no other place to put it". They will provide a focal point in the room, and are an opportunity to introduce a new color or texture (or both!) into the current monochromatic color palette. They will soften the room and up the "coziness" factor. Finally, they will create a feeling of height in the room as a counterpoint to the horizontal window, adding a bit of drama to the space. It's a relatively inexpensive and very quick upgrade that will make a huge impact immediately.
Next on the list is the lighting situation. In addition to the ambient (or general) lighting provided by the overhead fixture, it is important to layer in other light sources as well. This is one of the keys to creating a homey and welcoming space. In a bedroom, I often recommend looking at wall sconces or even a floor lamp beside a bed, but in this room because of how wide and low the window is, the traditional table lamp on a bedside table set-up is going to be just right. I would think about looking for lamps with a bold color or an interesting shape, as a way to add some personality and individuality to the room. Here are a few fun ones I like:
Of course you will need a couple of bedside table to put the lamps on! But that is a topic for another post ;)
I'll leave you with a general styling tip for when you do get those tables though--I like to keep the bedside table relatively simple and uncluttered, like the image below. In addition to your pretty new lamps, I'd add a book or two (maybe a local travel guide plus a favorite novel), and a low-maintenance plant like a succulent (either on top of the books or to the side), and call it done!
Hope this helps to jumpstart your thinking on how to complete your guest room. Tackling these two simple additions first will go a long way to creating a welcoming space for your visitors. We'd love to see where you end up!
Do you have a spot in your house that's got you stumped? Click the button below to send us your dilemma for a chance to be featured in a future column!
** This post contains affiliate links **