If Christmas planning normally starts for you with a slow realisation time is ticking down and there are no ticks against your unwritten Christmas planning lists, don’t panic. And if one of those unwritten tasks is the conversion of your soulless box room/part time gym/junk storage space to a delightful guest room, then you can relax. There are plenty of short cuts, design tips and tricks that can make your home a hub of welcoming seasonal delights that will ensure your guest will be reluctant to leave.
Before you start, take stock
Before guests arrive perform a full review of what does and doesn’t work in the room. What makes a great guest room? Ideally the comfort of a hotel room with the added warmth of being someone’s home. Great hotels impress guests with comfortable beds, relaxing ambient temperature, soft lighting and peace and quiet. In a domestic setting, running through this checklist will help you work out what you have covered and what needs work:
1). Does your mattress need turning or even replacing?
2). Is the lighting in your usual make shift office too stark? Bulbs need replacing? If no one sleeps there do you know if the window coverings keep the room dark?
3). Is it warm? Does the radiator need draining or reset, or is the window draughty?
4). Is it on a busy road? Will they be awoken by birds or motorways?
5) Are the colours and accessories in the room soothing? Is there enough space to set out their own belongings but also enough furniture in the room so it doesn’t feel empty and stark?
If you have 4 weeks…
There is still time for a little Christmas DIY. Bigger projects, such as changing bedroom light fittings to something adjustable like ceiling spots to give your guest room lighting a more chic and boutique hotel feel, are perfectly doable in this time frame. Another win for both light control and noise reduction are made-to-measure faux wooden shutters. Though they have a short production time they can make a room look very polished and cut back external noise, draughts and daylight, creating a tranquil space that can be nuanced throughout the day. Have them created in a shade that reflects or contrasts with your main colour scheme, for an instantly ‘pulled together’ look. (Just ensure your fitting appointment date is scheduled in when you order, to hit your target date).
If you have 3 weeks…
Then it’s time to get the paintbrushes out. The two most influential aspects of a room that you can manage are light and colour. If you manage them correctly, you can enhance the impact of both, making your guest room colour scheme the best way of creating a new decorative atmosphere. If you have to consider the best small space decorating ideas, due to the room being a little modest, then work with that quality. Rich colours like teal or a golden mustard, with some small details such as brass or black glass handles on cupboards can make a space feel like a luxurious jewel box. Other rich additions to a luxe guest room feel include velvet cushions on a window seat or velvet headboard. If you have a very airy room that benefits from lots of light you may want to create some instant vintage style. Those bits of furniture like chairs, side tables or drawers that often end up in an unused or spare room can be reinvented with a lick of chalky white paint. Unify those disparate elements and add in some heavy white linen drapes or some white wooden shutters and you can create a tranquil, simple haven. Mismatched cushion, gingham or tartan cushions can create a makeshift window seat from an old chest. The miracle of this guest room decorating approach is that items that once felt redundant and out of place take on a distinct charm and relevance.
If you have 2 weeks to go…
If you want a quick win with the biggest impact, look for items with a short lead in production or delivery time. A quick win is an oversize bedcover to coordinate with a new roller blind; both can be ordered and in situ in a week. If you want to enhance the lighting but don’t want to call the electrician, a lampshade with a gold or yellow interior will warm up the feeling in the room as well as making sure your bulb gives off a warm, rather than cold, pure white hue. This is also the time to turn or replace a tired mattress; as not everyone is the same shape or size. Consider the general rule with mattress choices that your hips and shoulders should sink in and gently meet your waist for optimum support. If you have a variety of guests, in age and shape, then a memory foam mattress will respond to each of them. If you have certain regular visitors who differ, try a mattress where both sides have different qualities; one firmer, one softer and let them choose.
If you have 1 week…
Then the best thing you can do is a thoughtful rearrange. Get a box ready for stuff you haven’t looked at in months and put in the loft or garage. Take all items off the surfaces. If you have room for a blanket chest to take your day to day detritus this will work on two levels to improve you guest room décor; hide away your items making room for theirs but also a create a place for them to position an open case, an essential for most travellers. Drawers for packing items are ideal but if you don’t have that, a larger than standard door hook with a hanger that carries several items will at least give them somewhere to hang garments crease-free. A tray on a side table for jewellery or lotions also helps them feel more organised and not constantly having to rummage around in bags for daily accoutrements. The best guest rooms also allow for a bit of privacy, so add fresh towels onto wall hooks and a cosy robe to make them feel welcome and encouraged to relax. On that note, being able to escape for both them (and you) is the top of list when looking for ideas on how to make guests welcome and encourage a successful stay. So a nice reading light by the bed with a stack of good novels lets them know you expect and are happy for them, to retreat when they need some time alone.
They arrive tomorrow…
Then it’s all about finishing touches. Clean sheets of course are essential guest room items, as is a sweep around the window ledges and skirting boards so dusty neglected corners don’t make guests feel like they have arrived in social Siberia. Add in fresh flowers or a seasonal Poinsettia, as well as those little touches like miniature bath products and a carafe of water. If you have little people keen to earn accolades for their start chart, add in a hand-drawn welcome note to their door (this has the added benefit of reminding them which is their room). And don’t forget to enjoy the festive break with them. But not too much; you want to make sure they leave.
Want more ideas for creating beautiful bedrooms in your home? Take a look at our Bedroom Lighting Ideas.