Interiors

12 Ways to Create a Cozy Guest Room for the Holidays

December 20, 2015 • By

So you’re totally ready for Christmas, right? (Be honest – are you nodding while sipping cocoa right now, or screaming uncontrollably?)

And this year, will you be the host or the wandering traveler?

Either way, you’ll want the guest room (or impromptu sleeping space!) to be as comfortable as possible.

Here are a few ideas to create a cozy guest room for the holidays.

1. Add a Snack Box

I like leaving a few small-size snacks in a basket, bowl or box next to the bed, especially for guests who have traveled far and may be on a different time zone.

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Waking up starving at 3:00 a.m. when you’re jet-lagged is SO not fun.  Make sure you include some salty or savory snacks as well as sweets. Nuts, chips and pretzels are always good choices and try to strike a balance between healthy and just downright yummy.

2. A Place to Sit

If you have the space, make sure your guest room has a place to sit in addition to the bed. Your guest will need a place for tying shoes, having a cup of tea or checking his or her iPhone.

Here are seating areas in two favorite guest rooms I’ve stayed in while traveling. The first was in an Italian villa. I loved waking up here. And the chairs totally served their purpose.

A Bedroom at Il Castello

A Bedroom at an Italian Villa we Rented for a House Party

This next room was  in a French chateau and was especially cozy…the old, overstuffed chair between the window and the fireplace was so comfortable I could sit for hours.

Room in the Chateau de L'Isle-Marie

Room in the Chateau de L’Isle-Marie

3. A Place for Bags

I love this folding luggage rack by Winsome. The shelf is a nice touch for storing shoes or other items and gives it a bit more stability, too.

These folding racks for storing suitcases feel luxurious to me, even though they’re not terribly expensive.

Anything that keeps your guest from having to open his bags on the floor is a welcomed luxury.

Existing furniture can provide a good spot for opening luggage, too. The bench at the foot of my own bed is the type of thing I’m thinking of…

Charcoal Gray Bedroom with Floral Needlepoint Rug and Bench with Acrylic Legs

My Charcoal Gray Bedroom – and a Bench with Acrylic Legs

This settee in my upstairs guest room works well, too. It’s great for luggage…or for curling up with a book…

A Settee in my Guest Room

A Settee in my Guest Room

4. A Writing Desk or Laptop Surface

If you have the room, it’s also nice to provide a small desk and chair for working on the computer or making notes.

Sure, sometimes it’s comfy to curl in bed with your laptop (as I’m doing right now!) But a desk is a great option and adds another layer of comfort for weary travelers.

A Small Desk and Chair in the Corner of a Guest Room

A Small Desk and Chair in the Corner of a Guest Room

5. Extra Blankets

Everybody’s different. Especially when it comes to temperature.

Your thermostat may be on a setting that makes you cozy, but your guests may be made of different stuff.  Hot or cold – you never know.

A stylish apartment I rented through Airbnb

A Small, Stylish Apartment I Once Rented in Washington, DC – with an extra cover provided

At least give your guests the option of bundling up (or opening a window) if they just can’t get used to your climate preferences.

If you don’t have extras on hand, here’s a deal on plush blankets that can still arrive in time for Christmas (as of today, anyway)! (These might also make nice gifts.)

6. Pillow Choices

Give your guest options, if you can. Make sure one bed pillow is soft and one is firm. Again, everybody is different – and it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep if you can’t get comfortable. Trust me, everyone will be happier if the whole family gets a good night’s sleep!

Pillow Choices at a Luxury Hotel

Pillow Choices at a Luxury Hotel

Here is one highly-rated pillow option – and if you order now, it will still arrive in time for Christmas!

7. A Night Light

Make sure to provide a plug-in nightlight or small lamp that can be left on in each guest room, bath and hallway. I find this one a must.

Personally, when I get up at night for a trip to the loo, I don’t fully wake up. And since I’m a creature of habit, I walk in the direction of my bathroom at home. No matter where I am.

So a night light is kind of a big deal for me in a new space. It keeps me from walking into walls (and yes, I’ve actually done that!)

A lantern with an electronic candle inside could make a stylish nightlight

A Lantern with an Electronic Candle Inside Would Make a Stylish Nightlight

8. Making Spirits Bright

On their first night in, you might greet guests with a mini-bottle of champagne in their room, or a small size Bailey’s for their coffee or something similar.

If you (or they) are not drinkers – or if you don’t feel like splurging – at least make sure they have glasses and a carafe or bottle of water next to the bed.

Carafe of Water in Guest Room

Carafe of Water in Guest Room

9. Create a Guest Room Out of Thin Air

I used to love traveling to my older sister’s home for the holidays.

She had the cutest little “guest alcove” in a breakfast nook of her 1930s bungalow. A daybed banquette under a window normally served as seating for a pretty round table. When we were all there, we never used it for breakfast – the dining room was a better fit. So the breakfast nook always became my “room” at the inn. It was cozy and sweet and I loved waking up there. Usually with a kitten snuggled next to me.

The table made a good night stand…plus I was close to the kitchen in case I needed a midnight snack!

Here are some options for creating a guest space when you don’t have one. Let’s continue with that daybed idea…Check out this contemporary Ercol daybed that belongs to Flickr user Heather Moore.

Check out this Daybed from Flickr User Heather Moore

Contemporary Ercol Daybed photographed by Heather Moore

You could definitely turn something like that into a sleeping space when needed.

Or consider an air mattress.

The price is great – and it can still arrive in time for Christmas! It even comes with an electric pump.

With an Air Mattress you can Create a Guest Room Anywhere

With an Air Mattress you can Create a Guest Room Anywhere

10. Soaps, Shampoos, Lotions & Potions

I admit it. I sometimes take those mini shampoo bottles from hotels when I leave – because I love having them ready for my own guests. (Is that wrong? Do you do it?)

I also buy mini-bottles when I find matching sets on sale. I have a small cabinet filled with little bottles ready to be used by guests…

Mini Amenities for Guests

My Collection of Mini Amenities

And you may think this is silly, but I’ll also stock a guest bath with full-size shampoo, conditioner and body wash – as long as the colors match my decor! I usually leave a sealed toothbrush and a mini-toothpaste in a drawer, too. Just in case.

11. Towels

My theory is, a guest room should be set up with everything a guest could possibly need, in such a way that they don’t have to ask.

It’s all about making them feel spoiled and cared for, so they can completely relax.

If guests will be sharing a bathroom, for instance, leave them a set of towels on the corner of their beds so they’ll know which to use. If you’re having lots of guests at one time, consider giving each one a different color towel set – so they can keep track of them during their stay.

Towe

Towels for Arriving Guests

And, if possible, offer multiple options for drying wet towels – a row of hooks in the bathroom for instance. Or a towel “ladder” if you want to be clever

12. Robes

I think this is a really special touch. Most people try to pack as light as possible on a holiday trip and many won’t bring a robe. If you have space (and budget) for robes, it is a particularly nice touch.

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You might even play around with the idea of a theme.  Christmas robes for instance. Or various robes in bright jewel tones, so when you meet up at the coffee pot in the morning, you all look fabulous. Or vintage-inspired pieces that match your decor. Or ethnic caftans (my favorite!) Yes, this is a serious splurge, but if you have the time to think it through and don’t mind spending the money, it can add an element of fun to any occasion.

You can find inexpensive bathrobes online, like these…

Cute, Candy-Bright Hooded Bathrobe

Cute, Candy-Bright Hooded Bathrobe

Or cool Moroccan caftans like these…

Moroccan Style Caftan Makes Great Lounge Wear

Moroccan Style Caftans Make Great Lounge Wear

You could also go with vintage Japanese kimonos, or comfortable long jersey pullovers or any cover up that fits your style and decor.

That special personal touch will definitely set the tone and add to the guests’ experience – and memories.

BONUS IDEAS:

•  Flowers on the Nightstand (but beware of strong scented blooms like lilies – some people can’t stand the heady aroma!)

•  A blow-dryer stashed in a drawer in the bathroom

•  Slippers

•  Special books that you relate to their interests or hobbies

•  A charging station

•  Feeling extra splurge-y? Set up a Keurig coffee maker in the guest room, with cups on a tray and a few pods of camomile tea or hot chocolate or coffee in a glass bowl!

Keurig Camomile Tea

I hope you have a great holiday with friends and family – whether traveling or hosting – and wish you warm days filled with everything (and everyone) you love.

Merry Christmas!

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