Budget Decorator: How to Get your Guest Room Ready on a Budget – Fast
Give your spare room a mini makeover and you might be tempted to sleep in there yourself
But don’t panic: you can get your spare room looking good, even when time or money – or both – are short. Here’s how to turn the often most overlooked room in the house into a haven for guests with minimum fuss.
Small, indulgent touches can really help house guests feel more at home – and they don’t have to be pricey. Think about the things that make you feel spoilt when you go away. Here, a tray for cups, a pair of cushions and some flowers help turn a simple scheme into somewhere guests can feel really special.
Read more ideas for helping your guest feel at home
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking your spare room has to look as if it belongs in a budget hotel chain. It’s OK to keep books – and cherished photos or artwork – in your spare room; they make it feel like part of your house. In fact, many people positively love having unfamiliar novels to flip through before they go to bed, as it adds to an escapist, holiday feel. However, do tidy up and dust bookcases so they don’t look messy.
Also, adding a well-placed chair, like this classic Eames number, for bags or clothes – or reading some of those books – can make a guest room feel comfortable and relaxing.
If your spare room has become the dumping ground for those things that don’t fit anywhere else in the house, it’s crucial to get rid of clutter – cardboard boxes, out-of-date toys, that Swiss ball you used once in 2011 – so you can claim back the space you need. You can then add back a couple of key items to add character and interest.
Attention to detail and displaying a couple of things you love are the keys to transforming a neutral guest room quickly and cheaply. In this sweet, Scandi-style room, a smattering of cobalt blue pots and candleholders on the windowsill are pretty and eye-catching, and they work well with the intricate picture frame and pale blue bed linen. Simple but effective.
A small houseplant also breathes life – quite literally – into a room that’s not in daily use the rest of the year.
Inspired by this room? Check out more Scandinavian bedrooms.
If your home style usually veers towards the conservative, why not use your guest room to experiment a little or try something whimsical. If you have a little extra time, a wall of unusual wallpaper can be a great conversation starter in guest rooms – and it makes a big impact. This blossom design is pretty and charming without being twee.
Discover more bedrooms with multi-coloured, wallpapered walls to get some ideas.
This space is a great illustration of how a couple of bold accessories can quickly transform a guest room’s feel. Two matching folded lime green blankets, some equally bright cushions and a matching lamp are all it takes to give this neutral space a fresh makeover in minutes.
On another note, for sheer versatility, two single beds, rather than one double, are well worth thinking about in guest rooms – they can be used to accommodate children and friends, and for couples, you can always pull the beds together.
Discover 10 ways to beef up guest room storage
If your guest room is small – and chances are it is – consider installing one multi-functional piece of furniture rather than trying to cram in separate shelves, bookcases and side tables around your bed. In this slim room, a shelving unit at the end of the bed works with, not against, the room’s proportions.
Given space and a little thought, mismatched pieces judiciously picked up from charity shops and second-hand stores can add up to a creative, vintage vibe.
Here, plain white walls let the wooden headboard, industrial-chic chair and simple desk stand out. The pair of pink lamps are another great buy, demonstrating perfectly how one or two confident and colourful choices can add character with minimal effort. Loving the stack of books as bedside table, too.
Guest rooms can be gifts to style, as they’re usually free of the stuff that impinges on your own bedroom (stray socks, unironed shirts, rogue jumpers).
It’s amazing how easy giving a room a new look can be. Try using items you already own and combining them confidently in new and inventive ways. Cerise cushions paired with purple pillowcases and a rag wool blanket might sound awful on paper, but they look great here.
If time’s on your side before Auntie Mabel arrives, never underestimate the power of a new lick of paint, either – that modern classic, pale grey, still adds a veneer of upmarket chic for minimal cost.
It’s all too easy to assume your guest room should be neutral and bland – but who says that’s the way it has to be? Here, a dramatic feature wall of blackboard paint means guests can express themselves if they so wish, but it’s also a relatively cheap and swift way to make a big impact. The peacock feather pillowcases and bright artwork add to the eclectic, fun vibe.
Hanging a cluster of framed prints can be an inexpensive – and fast – way to inject some personality and a homely feel into a plain and functional guest room.
Buy several inexpensive, simple black frames and, if you don’t have the time or money to buy prints, be creative – pages torn from magazines, home-made drawings, postcards or swatches of wallpaper all become more than the sum of their parts when framed and displayed in a group. Here they also distract from the functional built-in eaves cupboards, too.
A quilted throw is an oldie but goodie for guest rooms – practical for those chilly evenings when you don’t want guests to silently endure the cold, but also stylish draped over the bed.
Don’t underestimate the impact of one really great lamp in a room, either: it can help elevate a plain guest room to something altogether more designed, as seen with this sleek, angular AJ table lamp.
It may not be the first item of furniture you think of for your home, but a large blanket box can be a useful addition in guest rooms for spare bedding. Leave extra pillows and blankets in there so guest can really make themselves comfortable. It will also provide a surface on which a weekend bag or suitcase could be rested and easily accessed.
What’s the best guest experience you’ve had – or provided? Please share your ideas and photos in the Comments below.