One of the must-haves we looked for when building our home was a floor plan with at least one additional bedroom downstairs with the master. Believe it or not, this was more difficult to find than you would think! Since we didn’t have kids yet but hoped we would in the next few years, I wanted to ensure we would have a nursery on the first floor with the master. I couldn’t imagine having to traipse up and down the stairs in the middle of the night! Luckily, we found a floor plan that worked well, and when we had our firstborn, we set up a beautiful, nautical themed nursery on the first floor. While it was convenient for new parents, I quickly learned it was not as comfortable to have the guest room on the second floor for older family members. My grandma, particularly one of my absolute favorite people in the world, had a hard time traveling up and down the stairs.
Now that my boys are a little older, we’ve been able to combine their room and move them to the second floor together since there aren’t as many middle-of-the-night wake-ups! This opened up an excellent opportunity for us to convert the downstairs bedroom into a convenient and cozy guest room. I had a lot of fun putting this room together and looking around our home for existing furniture we could use to save money, all while ensuring both the old and the new blended well together.
Here are some tips on creating a cozy and inviting guest room.
Identify Items That You May No Longer be Using That Can be Repurposed For The Room
If you want to repurpose existing furniture in your home for your guest room, identify the style of those pieces, then pick a design style that will fit well with them. Read below to see how I made one of my most essential pieces of furniture, which can at times be an eyesore, into a complimenting element in the room:
Design Problem: I have a green recliner chair that is about 15 years old. It’s very special to me. When I had first moved to Arkansas when I was working for Walmart at their corporate headquarters, my grandmother would often come to visit me, and so I bought her this chair to make her more comfortable. When I see it, I think of her sitting there, rocking in it, reading her bible, or just watching the news. The chair has moved with me wherever I have moved. I made it very clear to my husband when we got married that the chair would continue to go everywhere with us, so my grandmother would always have a comfortable place to sit. I have beautiful memories of her rocking my first baby in it. That said, I pretty much had to design the room to fit well with a big old green recliner, which isn’t the easiest thing to do!
Design Solution: After evaluating my options and some Pinterest inspiration, I decided to do a shabby chic/farmhouse chic style that would allow the recliner to blend in. It also allowed me to use the existing nightstands that we had in the old guest room on the second floor. These were purchased from Target a few years ago when we first married and were in the master bedroom in our old home.
Identify The Items You Need To Complete The Room That Fit Within The Established Décor Style
Once I identified that I would be going with a shabby/farm chic design, I made a list of existing pieces that I had and pieces I needed to purchase to complete the room:
– Night Stands
– Green Recliner
– TV (an old one we weren’t using)
– Hydrangea Print Art
– Ruth verse wall art (from our wedding)
– Bed Frame – $186.49 Wayfair
– Lamps – Retail – $34.98 for both (on sale) Hobby Lobby
– Drapes $19.99 HomeGoods
– TV/Storage Stand – $265.99 Wayfair
– Luggage Rack – $39.99 Wayfair
– Storage Baskets -$14.99 ea At Home
– Duvet & Pillows $49.99 HomeGoods
– Guest Wall Art – $19.99 (on sale) Hobby Lobby
– Nature Wall Art – $24.99 for both (on sale) Hobby Lobby
– Wreath – $19.99 (on sale) Hobby Lobby
Essential Elements That Make Guests Comfortable
A place to put luggage
There are a few things that I’ve discovered when traveling that are important but also hard to come by. First off, a place to put luggage or an overnight bag. I don’t want to put my bags on the bed to open them up – especially if I’ve come from the airport because I know they’re filthy. Often, since guest rooms tend to be smaller, there’s no great place on the floor to put it down and open it up to find what you need. One of the things I love about hotels is luggage racks. I found a vintage style that fits well in the room, but you can do several alternatives, just as long as you have a dedicated place for someone to put their luggage, such as a trunk or storage bench.
Extra Blankets and Throws
Everyone’s body temperature is different, so having extra throws available to guests allows them to control their comfort level without asking their host for these items.
A Trash Can
I know this seems simple and obvious, but it’s often the element that many people forget! Since your guest room isn’t necessarily a room that you spend a lot of time in, it is usually a forgotten element. You don’t realize that its something you’ve forgotten until you see the bathroom trash filled up, or guests walking into the kitchen to throw away trash. Make it easy for them by having a simple wastebasket available.
I know cell phones are frequently used to tell time these days, but sometimes it’s nice just to be able to see the time, especially if you are traveling or have changed time zones. Having a simple digital clock with an alarm clock makes it more convenient for guests, especially older guests who may not necessarily have their phones on them.
A sign with WIFI guest password
In a technology world, this is probably one of the most critical elements and something that most guests will ask for. The question is, do you know your own WIFI password? If you’ve got a long or complicated one, consider typing it up on paper and then printing it out and cutting it down to fit a 5×7 photo frame. You can get a photo frame that compliments your room from Dollar Tree. Alternatively, you can get a unique sign like this one I got a few years ago from Hobby Lobby
A basket of everyday toiletries
While most people carry their toiletries with them when they travel, it’s not uncommon to forget something – I know I have! Especially in an age where many of us prefer just to carry on luggage and have TSA liquid limitations. I keep a basket of everyday toiletries available for my guests with a convenient sign telling them to help themselves and leave what they don’t need for the next guests. You can find small amounts of toiletries at Target or Walmart in the section near soaps and lotions, also Dollar Tree, which has tons of items. Often, when I travel to hotels, I take the small toiletry bottles they provide and take them home to add to my guest basket. Here’s a list of everyday toiletries for your guest basket:
– Body Wash
– Disposable Razors
– Small bottles of shaving cream
– Deodorant (aerosol – if you purchase an aerosol deodorant it can be used for more than one guest)
Special Personal Touches That Set You Apart and Make Guests Feel Welcome
If I know we have guests coming in advance, I like to add a few touches to make visitors feel special. First, I always keep a basket of water and dry snacks in the guest room. If I have someone coming and I know their favorite snacks, I pick those up and add them to the basket. Most candies and snacks can be found at Dollar Tree or a local drug store if convenient. This is an inexpensive way to add a personal touch.
Who doesn’t love fresh flowers? I keep a few standard vases around that I can use to fill with fresh flowers before our guests arrive. It makes the room smell fresh and also creates a warm welcome. Flowers don’t have to be expensive. I often pick up a fresh looking bouquet from Walmart or Sprouts for $7.
Lastly, the most important element is YOU! I think the older we get, the more aware we all become that tomorrow is not promised. Whether for a short or extended stay, set apart time to spend with close friends and family. You never know if it will be their last visit, so make it a great one!