The COVID-19 pandemic threw just about everyone’s travel and hosting plans out the window. But, as the world slowly starts to open up again, we’re once again planning trips, hopping on planes, driving across states—or just rediscovering our own hometowns as friends and family come to visit.

And while we love a super charming Airbnb for our friends when they visit (because we happen to love visiting said Airbnbs), we also love playing host and having loved ones stay in our own homes. It’s a simple way for them to save money on lodging—but we also love that it’s more intimate and gives us more time to kick back and catch up with these dear friends and family members.

However, to ensure your guests have a relaxing visit, you’ll need to prepare a guest room that’s comfortable and inviting. From making sure you have plenty of space for them to unpack to adding small personal touches like books and a bedside carafe, having the right guest room essentials will make all the difference for your visiting friends.

Read on to get our hosting prep tips for setting up a guest room that will instantly make all your visitors feel right at home.

summer guest bedroom design with a queen bed, neutral decor, and functional accents

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1. Focus On Function First

A comfortable guest room is a functional one. That means making sure you have all of the necessary guest room furniture, like a comfortable bed and clothing storage. (This could be a dresser, an armoire, or a closet that’s large enough to hang some clothing and stash their suitcase.) Matching bedside tables with drawers will help frame your bed and establish a more composed look—while also giving guests a surface to pile vacation reads, place their water glass and phone, and keep any other necessities handy.

Functionality also involves creating a good flow and setup, where the bed is positioned away from the door and there’s enough room to walk around. All in all, focus on making sure you have the essential furniture pieces first and be intentional in how you arrange them. This is the key to a bedroom that is cozy and welcoming versus just another spare room where your guests feel like an afterthought.

2. Layer in Comfort

When creating your guest bedroom, keep in mind that everyone has different sleeping preferences when it comes to light, noise, and temperature. Keep guests comfortable by creating ways that they can customize their sleeping situation!

Include extra pillows and blankets in your guest room as well, so your visitors can choose how many of each they want. (And make sure they know where to find these extras, too!) A ceiling fan (or even floor or tabletop fan) can add some cool airflow in the summer, but it also acts as a gentle white noise maker year-round. And when it comes to lighting, start by offering layered lighting in the way of lamps so that your guests can adjust the lighting levels in their room to their preferences. It’s also nice to have blackout curtains—or blinds, at the very least—on the windows for guests who want to sleep in or are sensitive to light.

image of a guest bedroom decorated for summer weather

3. Up the Luxury Factor

At the end of the day, it all comes down to a well-made and comfy bed for your guests. So, make the bed with crisp, clean sheets (nice ones, not your old cast-offs!), pile on the best pillows and shams, and layer on a fluffy duvet. Not sure how comfortable your guest room mattress is? Consider adding a mattress topper for some extra softness and comfort. The result will be a luxurious place for guests to crash at the end of each day!

You can also add in homey touches—like the bedside water carafe and glass (more on that later), and a pamper basket that’s ready with towels, bathrobes, slippers, and toiletries. These are the personal touches that are sure to instantly put your guests at ease. (And earn you the “hostess with the mostess” title among your friends!)

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4. Provide Space to Unpack

Even if your guests are just staying for a few nights, it’s nice to give them the opportunity to unpack. A major part of that is providing a place to put their suitcase when they arrive so it’s not in the middle of the walkway. We love the hotel-like touch of having a luggage rack (or a folding stool) where they can set their suitcase. Alternatively, you could add a bench at the foot of the bed—not only giving your guests a place to unpack their luggage but also to sit during the day and pile on extra pillows when they go to bed at night!

dressing area in a bedroom with fun art, a floor length mirror, and a beverage station

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5. Carve Out A Dressing Area

There’s something so simple yet lovely about a guest room that features a designated space for getting dressed—whether it’s a walk-in closet (a dream!) or just a corner that’s set up with a dresser and full-length mirror. This is an easy way to elevate the look and feel in a guest room and bring in a hugely welcoming vibe.

A bonus touch? Add a few baskets in the corner where they can stash extra pillows during their stay, then toss dirty towels and bed sheets without the awkward hand-off when they leave your home!

6. Add a Beverage Station

We love the thoughtfulness of giving your guests a beverage station, right in their room. It could be as simple as a water carafe and glasses on top of a dresser, nightstand, or console. But you could also step it up a notch with a coffee nook, complete with mugs and a single-serve coffee maker, so your guests can enjoy their first cup before leaving their room in the morning! Having both ensures your guests always have water and coffee readily available!

reading nook design with a shibori armchair in a guest bedroom

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7. Make Room For Lounging

Our idea of a relaxing guest room is one that actually inspires lounging and kicking back. A cozy armchair is sure to do the trick. Including a chair in your guest room gives your visitors permission to take a bit of time to themselves while they visit—a necessity among all the sightseeing and socializing!

To play up the laid-back atmosphere of your guest room, you can round out the space with a reading lamp and a small side table that’s ready with books and a vase of fresh flowers, or a bluetooth speaker so they can play some tunes!

image of a bedroom with a mini desk and stool instead of a nightstand

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8. Give Guests a Home Office Space

So many people are working from home these days. One of the benefits of this is the flexibility to work remotely from everywhere—so, sometimes that means a working vacation. With that in mind, adding a desk to your guest room is a perfect way to give your guests a quiet place to work.

It doesn’t have to be a fancy set-up though. All you need is a simple writing desk with a comfortable place to sit. Just make sure it’s near a power source and has added lighting! In small guest rooms, the desk can double as a nightstand alternative on one side of the bed!

Designer Tip: Don’t have space for both a home office and a guest room? Create a multipurpose guest room by designing a  functional home office within your guest room for when you’re not hosting! These office guest room hacks will show you how.


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