Creating a Guest Bedroom

LAST UPDATED: Apr 02, 2020 | PUBLISHED: Jul 02, 2012 | By:

I probably should have titled this “The Perfectly Imperfect Guest Bedroom.”  Honestly, when we first purchased our home, we had envisioned creating a guest suite in the basement.  But several times, I doubted we could make it work.  Sure, we have a 4 bedroom home and only two kiddos, but we wanted to create a private space, away from all of our chaos, for our guests.  

A little retreat from the feet that wake at 7am – even on a Saturday.  Between the stairwell and the storage room, there was a room with a cabinet, pipes, and some poorly installed paneling.A sneak peek at the retreat:A white bedroom with blue carpet and various knick knacks around on shelves.Now for the before photos:

A wooden wall
A wooden wall with a brick fireplace
A wooden wall
Given the paneling, lack windows, and dark blue carpet, painting the room and ceiling white was an obvious choice.  2 coats of oil based primer and 2 coats of paint and we were ready to proceed. We replaced the dingy outlets with fresh, clean white ones for just 35 cents each.  We also replaced all of the outlet covers and lightswitch plates.  The entry doors and the door to the storage room were painted white and we thoroughly cleaned the carpet and fireplace.  At this point, we were ready to decorate and furnish.
The first piece of furniture I purchased was a side table I found on Craigslist in black for just $25.  Click here for my easy DIY painting tips.  It doesn’t have to take countless hours and effort to transition a piece.

A close up of a side table with a candle, small boat figurine, and water glass. My mother-in-law gave us a traditional wash stand.  After months of moving it from room to room, it has found it’s home in the guest bedroom, painted white along with the hardware.A bedroom with a small dresser and a mirror

To make the room feel open, I wanted to avoid a solid headboard.  I found this metal headboard in like new condition for $25 on Craigslist.  It may get painted white at a later date, but for now, it matches the  Pottery Barn Kids mirror in a soft, off white.

The view of a bed in a mirror
I originally installed a white pendant light in the room, but as soon as friends of ours announced they would be visiting the Denver IKEA, I promptly replaced it with my first choice – the fixture below.  I just love it!  I like to use a down/down alternative comforter with duvet for easy cleaning.  I prefer white linens and towels because they can easily be bleached.  I selected a really soft, basic set that is relaxed and not fussy. I added a white blanket at the foot of the bed just in case guests get chilly.  A grey and white striped lumbar pillow was made from a body pillow case.

A white bedroom with various things on walls and shelves

If you create a guest bedroom {or any room} without natural light, I recommend utilizing a couple of mirrors to capture any natural light that may peek in from another room and make the room appear larger and brighter.  Below, fresh hydrangea fill a nautical rope vase {click here for the tutorial}.  A Ball jar from my grandmother’s provides balance and a hint of color.  I chose a photograph from our honeymoon, but that didn’t include us.  I like to de-personalize the space, refraining from personal photographs, to make my guests feel more at home.

Flowers and pictures on a shelf

A store bought piece of coral from several years ago, serves as book ends to a couple of easy reads.

Books and small decorations on a shelf

In each guest bedroom I’ve created, I’ve always incorporated a bedside carafe.  They are convenient for your guests and the glass rests on top of the “vase” when not in use.  While I know this is an inexpensive table and am not concerned about rings, my guests may not.  To make them feel at ease, I placed the carafe on a thrift store tray.  The sailboat continues the beach theme while masking the unattractive pipes that cannot be removed from the space.  When Christine of Click Photography took these beautiful photographs, she laughed and said she didn’t even notice them until I pointed them out to her.  The boat did the trick!

A glass of water on a side table

Since this room isn’t traditionally a bedroom, it lacked a closet.  I wanted to provide a place where our guests could hang their towels, and if needed, a few clothing pieces {from hangers}..  The answer was an easy DIY oar.  Click here for the tutorial.  I also included a wastebasket – all of the amenities of a hotel.

A bedroom with a small dresser

A close up of a paddle with hooks on it

I placed another tray on the wash stand for a convenient place to leave jewelry, watches, keys, etc.

A vase of flowers on a table

A vase with flowers in front of a mirror

A miniature wooden buoy and spare rope fill the void in the corner of the fireplace.

The fireplace had non-functional electric logs in it and is not a working fireplace.  We cleaned it thoroughly and painted several additional coats.  An old basket filled with my favorite current magazines offer reading material to our friends and family.
A close up of a basket with magazines in it
5 years ago, we honeymooned in Hawaii.  We decided to frame an inexpensive nautical map without the glass for wall decor.
A map on a wall
At our rehearsal dinner, my in-laws filled a vase with sand and had each guest add a seashell.  This is the perfect room to include it in, since many of our future house guests contributed to the vase.
Glass full of sand and shells
If you can’t find me, I just may be escaping to this little hideaway in our home.

A bedroom with a large white bed and white walls

I’d love to hear from you!  Anything you like to include in a guest bedroom?  Do you have a non-traditional guest room in your home?

A huge thank you to Click Photography for photographing the space for me!