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What Should You Put In a Guest Bedroom? 17 Ideas for the Most Comfortable Stay
What should you put in a guest bedroom if you have one? Here are more than a dozen cozy essentials that'll lock in your “hostess with the mostest” status.
This article was originally published on a WordPress blog that I’ve retired in favor of Substack. Thanks for reading!
The house we moved into last year has a lot of rooms – but it doesn’t (yet) have a clear contender for a guest bedroom. One day I hope we’ll be able to pamper our out-of-town visitors with the loveliest little luxuries. We’re making do with the space we have, but what should you put in a guest bedroom if you have one?
Here are more than a dozen ideas to lock in your “hostess with the mostest” status from visitors far and wide!
The essential items
First, let’s take a look at what essentials you should fill your guest bedroom with to ensure your visitors have everything they need. Later on, we’ll talk about some special touches that can add convenience, comfort, and an extra dose of charm to your guest space.
1. Comfy bed
Naturally, the first thing your guest bedroom will need is a bed. This can be anything from a queen-sized setup that’s always ready to a more versatile piece of furniture, such as a sleeper sofa or a trundle bed you can pull out as needed.
I recently stayed at a friend’s house where they had a Murphy bed for guests that could be tucked away, parallel to the wall. I’ve always thought Murphy beds were pretty cool – not to mention great space-savers. But it was apparently extremely heavy and difficult to lug up the stairs. That’s not a problem for a one-and-done guest room, but it may not be ideal for a room you’ll likely change later on.
Ease of set-up is something to think about when you’re choosing furniture, especially if you’ll need to start using the room pretty soon.
2. Several layers of sheets and quilts
Your guests will have the best night’s sleep if they have several sheets and quilts to choose from. Some folks will want to pile on all the heavy blankets and duvets they can. But others will prefer something a little lighter. Instead of adding just one sheet and one heavy comforter, make up your guest bed with a few light- to medium-weight layers that your visitors can easily adjust.
Bonus tip: Make up your guest bed with freshly washed sheets before your visitors arrive. This way, they can hit the hay whenever they need to. This can be especially helpful for guests experiencing jet lag! Plus, setting up ahead of time means you can enjoy uninterrupted social time upon the arrival of your friends or loved ones.
3. A few extra pillows
Offer your guest a few different pillows that they can layer up or remove. Add a couple on the bed or place a few extras in sight so they can have the fluffiest or flattest pillow situation – whatever suits their sleeping style! This way, they’ll wake up refreshed and well-rested instead of stiff in the neck.
4. Bedside lamp
When your guests are staying in an unfamiliar space, bedside lighting means they’re never left stumbling around in the dark. Plus, it’s a nice option for visitors who like to cozy up with a good book before calling it a night.
Offer some task lighting at arm’s reach that can easily be switched on and off when your guests are settled in bed. This could be a nightstand with a reading lamp or a floor lamp that’s just the right height.
5. Device charging zone
Whether your house guests plan to enjoy some time off the grid or keep up with emails and messages during their stay, it’s important to offer a convenient place for them to charge their devices.
A lot of guests will appreciate a nightstand next to the bed where they can charge their smartphone overnight and use its alarm in the morning. Others might be happy to drop their laptop, tablet, and phone on a side table across the room. Either way, make sure there’s an easily accessible outlet or extension cord available. Ideally, you can pinpoint a place that keeps charging devices off the floor so nobody trips over unwieldy cords.
Bonus tip: You’ll win some extra brownie points with first-time visitors if you put your wifi account name and password on display. Print or write it out and pop it in a little decorative frame so it’s one of the first things they see when they settle into your guest bedroom.
6. Convenient spot for clothes and luggage
When friends or family members are coming to stay, you can guarantee they’ll need a place for luggage and clothes. Luckily, you have a lot of options when it comes to providing this space.
Leave empty space on the closet floor for bags and suitcases. As an extra hotel-inspired touch, include a luggage rack in your guest bedroom for easier packing and unpacking.
(I found the luggage rack pictured here at a neighborhood garage sale for $5 and updated it with a fresh coat of paint and some new ribbon!)
For clothes, leave a dozen empty hangers in the closet. A nice, matching set of hangers can help elevate the experience for your guests. Be sure to empty out a shelf where clothes can be laid out, or a few dresser drawer items can be tucked into. Additionally, consider adding a shoe rack or boot tray somewhere in your guest bedroom for footwear.
For anyone who’s gotten used to carrying out their morning routine with the help of a mirror, getting ready without one can feel a little weird. A full-length mirror can be especially helpful for guests who will be getting dressed in special occasion attire. But even a head-and-shoulders mirror will be useful to visitors who want to check their appearance before heading out for the day.
8. Plush towels
What guest doesn’t love to see a neat pile of fluffy, laundry-fresh towels awaiting them? Even if there’s a bathroom nearby for your guests to use, setting out these towels in the guest bedroom ahead of time will avoid any towel confusion. Plus, this ensures your visitors don’t have to pester you when they’re ready to hop in the shower.
Be sure to offer each guest their own hand towel, washcloth, full-body towel, and hair towel. Everyone may not use every towel, but a little extra thoughtfulness in ensuring they have what they need will come across as a nice gesture.
Bonus tip: Make sure there’s also a place in the guest room where your visitors can hang up damp towels to dry if there’s not already one in the bathroom. A few over-the-door hooks, a towel rack, or some wall hooks will do the trick.
Even if there are trash cans in your bathrooms and kitchen, it’s helpful to offer your guests a discreet spot to toss things out in the room they’re staying in. Tuck a small, decorative wastebasket under a nightstand or over in a corner for convenience. Be sure to line it with a plastic bag so your visitors don’t have to fret about tossing in food wrappers or makeup remover wipes.
So far, we’ve covered the essentials for what you should put in a guest bedroom anytime you have folks coming to stay. But there’s no need to stop there! Let’s explore some add-ons and extras that can turn your guest space into a five-star suite.
10. Bench or side chair
There’s nothing like a spare seat in a guest bedroom. Whether your guests perch on it to put their shoes on – or use it as a catch-all for extra pillows, towels, or clothes – it will surely get some good use.
11. Extra toiletries
We all forget to pack things from time to time. Put your guests’ minds at ease by setting out a little basket stuffed with travel-sized toiletries and extra essentials. Consider adding a few basic items, like a spare toothbrush and mini toothpaste. Feel free to add in a few pampering products that can make a big difference, such as hand lotion and an emery board.
12. Vanity space
If you don’t have a guest bedroom, consider setting up a little vanity spot where your guests can get ready. Say your room features a standard dresser with a mirror. Leave the top of the dresser clear of knick-knacks so your guests have a place to open up their toiletry bags.
If you want to get fancy, furnish the room with a purpose-built vanity. This will ensure your visitors enjoy a luxurious stay with all the seating, lighting, and table space they need to primp.
13. Drinking glasses or bottled water
Ideally, your house guests will make themselves at home and reach for whatever refreshments they need. But you can demonstrate an extra dose of hotel-like hospitality by making water available in their room.
Consider setting out a pitcher of cool water on a pretty tray with some drinking glasses so they don’t even have to ask. Or, if your guests will be joining you on some out-and-about adventures, offer a set of water bottles instead, so they can stay hydrated on the go.
14. Trinket dish or jewelry tray
If your guests are anything like me and my husband, they’ll be looking for a good spot to set their jewelry (me) or their keys, pens, and wallet (my husband) before tucking in for the night. I’m sure I’m not the only person who wakes up in a strange place to turn off my alarm, fearing I’ll swipe my engagement ring onto the floor instead!
But a small trinket dish or jewelry tray does the trick. Your visitors will appreciate having a place to set things with the peace of mind that nothing will accidentally get brushed under the bed in a flurry of rise-and-shine confusion.
15. Reading materials to flip through
Not every guest will want to hunker down with a serious novel, but offering some light reading materials can be a nice touch. Out-of-town visitors might enjoy perusing a local magazine to get a sense of what’s going on in your area. Close friends and relatives may prefer a crossword puzzle book, a volume of fast facts or inspirational quotes, or a coffee table book packed with gorgeous imagery.
Tuck a title or two near where your guests will put their belongings. This will encourage curious visitors to pick up the book and flip through it if they wake up or start winding down a little early.
16. Fresh flowers
Anyone enjoying vacation mode should stop and smell the roses. This is even easier to do if you incorporate fresh flowers or houseplants into your guest bedroom! For a special guest, nothing can say “welcome” in quite the same way as a colorful bouquet. A well-kempt houseplant can also inject some life into a room that’s only used on occasion. Just remember to avoid strong fragrances or allergy-inducing florals that could irritate your visitors.
17. Laundry hamper for extended visits
Ideally, your guests will never overstay their welcome – but even the most delightful company can run out of clean clothes to wear before they depart. This is especially true for guests who stay longer than a week or so.
If your guests are welcome to use your laundry facilities, place a small laundry hamper in the guest bedroom so they can toss in any clothes that will need washing. Bonus points if it has dividers for dark and light clothes!
Make yourself at home
So, to sum it up: What should you put in a guest bedroom? Now that you’ve read through an overview of must-haves and extras, you’ve seen that it’s important to fill your space with all the conveniences and delights that you’d appreciate as a guest, along with some other thoughtful touches that can make your visitors feel right at home.
Remember that you don’t need to spend much money to get your guest bedroom set up. If you invest a lot of love, care, and hospitality into creating a comfortable space, though, your visitors will be at ease right away!
Photos by Jess Barker