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Every hostess knows there’s nothing like the mad frenzy to clean and wrap up house projects when guests are on their way.
Since moving in two years ago, renovations have been slow-going. We focused on the main rooms and the bigger projects first. In turn, this meant shoving items we didn’t have a place for into unused spaces and blissfully shutting the door. See no evil, hear no evil, right?
That is, until we were due to host guests.
Like any responsible adult, I procrastinated organizing, painting, and decorating our guest bedroom and bathroom until a few days before guests were to arrive.
I had every intention of getting to it sooner, truly. You can even check my calendar.
Alas, you would have found me (and Scout) painting walls furiously into the wee hours after work while simultaneously crossing my fingers the smell would dissipate in three days.
I had a vision. After all the travels and guest rooms I’ve stayed in, I knew how I wanted the room to feel.
Cozy but not cluttered. Inspiring but not over-stimulating. Dreamy but not too feminine.
Eventually, it’s our goal to maintain a vacation rental. So, I took our guest room as a test run for what I want an entire home to portray.
I want my guests to feel welcomed, at-home, and rejuvenated. Whether it’s for dinner, a quick sleepover, or an entire week, I want visitors to leave feeling better than they came.
While it’s never about how much space you have or how upgraded your home is, there is something to say for a well-designed bedroom and whether its square footage is utilized to optimum functionality.
Even if your guest room or budget is on the small side, like many Arizona rooms seem to be, you can still be the hostess with the mostest with these guest room essentials.
Essential Items for Every Guest Room and Bathroom
You don’t have to own the most expensive things. You don’t need to wait on your guests hand-and-foot.
Providing the necessities and a few thoughtful touches to a guest room will make all the difference for their stay.
As far as guest room essentials go, well, having a bed for your guests to sleep is definitely number one.
When we got married last year, we immediately upgraded to a king size bed. My previous pillowtop queen mattress and the pallet wood headboard I'd made to go with it were retired to the guest room.
You can find inexpensive, brand new mattresses still wrapped on Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, or mattress and furniture liquidation companies. All you need is a basic bed frame for the box spring and you're set.
You'll want quality cotton sheets that are breathable but long-lasting, like this 800 thread count sheet set that comes in multiple colors and patterns.
I also recommend a simple down alternative comforter (I have two of these) with a duvet cover.
Keep in mind, if you have a pillow top mattress and you want your bedding to have a draping look, you'll want to size up. For instance, get a king size for a queen bed.
This is the duvet I went with, pictured above. But let me tell you, it was not an easy decision. I also loved the solid sage or rust color as well as the boho double-sided daisy one.
However, I decided white and bright was easier. Plus I can pull more colors from the florals in the bedding for room decor.
Don't forget to keep extra blankets and pillows either on the bed, in the closet, or in a chest. Some people sleep hot, others like to burrow into a warm cocoon.
Save your guests the awkwardness of asking and just stay prepared.
Heaven forbid your guests awaken too early when they should be sleeping in on their vacation!
Depending which direction the guest room windows are facing, you might need thicker curtains to block out the light. These opaque curtains come in many colors and keep a room cozily dark.
Our guest bedroom is northwest facing. Since there is minimal morning light and our windows have blinds already, these sheer dusty blue pom pom curtains are more for aesthetic purposes than actual function.
Don't forget to measure from the rod to your floor before ordering your curtains. Typically, the curtain rod should be at least a handbreadth higher than the window, so long as your ceilings are standard height or higher.
Shelving & Storage
If your guest room is too small to fit a nightstand on the floor, consider a corner wall shelf like the one we chose with the cute metal cacti.
Shelving in a corner or floating on the wall is a convenient place for cords and phones while also allowing room to walk.
Plus, they make even a small room look more open and organized!
Add a few plants to your new wall shelf for decoration.
Real plants are always best. They clean the air and liven up a room with their rich green leaves.
However, if you’re not always around to care for a plant, better save yourself the money and opt for a nice faux plant.
End Table or Nightstand
The way our guest room is situated, there isn't room for a nightstand next to the bed. Hence why we opted for the corner wall shelves.
However, between the windows is a perfect spot for a simple but functional metal end table. Again, I debated on color here and almost just went with black, but couldn't resist that sage green.
What's great about this end table is the top lifts off as a tray. You could potentially serve your guests coffee or breakfast in bed!
Ours is currently topped with a Wi-Fi sign, diffuser, tissue box, and a small vase of fresh flowers.
A nice tray on the bed is so inviting. It's like a little treasure box for your guests to peek through!
I recommend something with depth and a solid base to keep balanced. A wooden rectangle tray with handles like this one is perfect for any decor style or theme.
Side note: these trays can also make for great gift baskets (see this post for more) down the line if ever you need it!
Look, they’re going to ask you anyway! Might as well broadcast the network and password to them as soon as they get settled in.
If your guests don't have unlimited data or are visiting from out of country, free Wi-Fi is absolutely a guest room essential.
Ours is dry erase, but chalkboard and chalk pen also work nicely. If you don't have an open surface, find a way to hang it on the wall.
If you host an AirBnB or plan to eventually, you’ll love reading through guest entries. Why not start in your own home?
There are many out there that are just like wedding guest books where guests only record their names. But I fancy this one so guests can share a favorite memory or highlight, too!
If you’ve got a great sense of humor, consider this one for the bathroom!
Regardless how much time your visitors actually spend in their room, whether they are night owls or morning birds, they may appreciate something tangible on hand to flip through in their downtime.
Consider a flipbook with a scripture or inspiring quote for each calendar day, a daily prayer or devotion book, or even a booklet of mad libs, crosswords, and other fun games.
Snacks or Treats
OK, so maybe this one isn't a necessity. But I can guarantee the gesture is still appreciated! We all get the midnight munchies sometimes, or just need something quick on our way out the door.
You can totally tailor your guest room snack and treat bar if you happen to know your visitors' preferences ahead of time.
Some ideas are gum, chocolate bars, small packaged candy, sunflower seeds, personal chip bags, nuts or trail mix. Browse through some of these other healthy snack ideas, too!
If it wasn't for my allergy-ridden husband, I might actually forget to buy Kleenex.
However, facial tissue is high on the guest room essentials list. Keep a box or package on the tray or table for unexpected nosebleeds or allergies.
If the bathroom isn’t super close to the guest bedroom, visitors will appreciate a small trash can for those used tissues. It might also save you some time cleaning up small debris later.
Candle & Matches
Make your guests breathe in and say "aahh!"
Some homeowners aren't comfortable with open flames in rooms they aren't supervising, especially if there are children in the home.
If that's the case, you can keep room freshener spray tucked in the closet or use a scented plugin. The one below is natural and not laced with harmful chemicals.
Humidifier or Essential Oil Diffuser
A humidifier is basically essential when you live in a dry climate. They can also help those who suffer from sleep apnea or nightly nosebleeds.
Finding a humidifier that also diffuses essential oils for a fresh scent is a bonus!
This one is $10 off on Amazon right now and has amazing reviews:
If you don’t have a ceiling fan, consider at least keeping a floor fan in the closet just in case.
Like I mentioned earlier, some people sleep warm by default and need airflow during the night. Others need white noise to sleep peacefully.
Even if your guests have full, sovereign access to the bathroom, they may need hooks in the bedroom for towels and robes.
Most of us probably use our guest bedroom closets to store our own stuff. Guilty as charged!
If at all possible, leave some space for suitcases, shoes, and clothes to be stored while your guests are staying. Keep extra hangers on the closet racks so their clothes can stay wrinkle-free.
Don't you hate when you're in a public restroom or hotel and you can't see your entire outfit? What if your dress is see-through? What if there's a stain you can't see? What if there's TP on your shoe?
Help your guests avoid those awkward experiences by installing a wall mirror in the guest bedroom.
Perhaps to some decoration isn't a necessity. And I agree that less is more, especially when you are trying to accommodate the tastes and styles of various visitors.
However, encouraging or inspirational photos and quotes are a sweet touch. For me, they bring a room together and make it more personal.
If modern and sterile is what you're going for, then so be it. But I'd wager hygge and homey would win out over hospital-esque any day!
There are so many options out there to decorate your guest room walls.
Piece items together for an eclectic look by taking a walk through thrift stores. Check out this post for more thrift store tips and tricks.
Tackling the guest room made me finally hang an Alaska photo I won from Cherith Brook Photography.
I also found a small metal wall hanging with a Psalm at Hobby Lobby. Eventually I'd like to add more. Maybe something from Morgan Harper Nichols (1st pic below) or a quote above the bed.
If you're going for a specific theme, try a collection of similar art prints like the National Parks Posters in the 2nd pic.
Bonus Guest Essentials
These aren't exactly necessary, but no one would complain if they were offered!
- Alarm clock or wall clock
- Wrinkle-release spray or handheld steamer
- Fuzzy socks or house slippers
- Card games or coloring books
Guest Bathroom Essentials
Rule Number One: It is everyone's worst nightmare to run out of toilet paper! Especially when the business is done and they realize the supply is depleted.
Save the panic attacks (and possibly the integrity of your hand towels, just saying) and keep TP rolls loaded in a separate basket, bin, or tower within reach.
Rule Number Two: No one likes asking for more towels. Keep those freshly washed softies rolled up or folded on open shelving or tell your guests where they can find more.
As long as you obey the first two rules, everything else can be maintained easily. But as I always say, better to be prepared and not need it than not have it and need it.
Keep these guest bathroom essentials on hand in case your guests "forget" or assume you would provide them:
- Plunger and cleaning supplies (just in case!)
- Spare (unopened, duh) toothbrushes and travel toothpaste
- Body wash, shampoo, and conditioner in the shower
- Refill your hand soap and keep extra under the sink
- Wet wipes
- Basic medical supplies like Ibuprofen, allergy pills, Benadryl cream, anti-septic ointment, bandages, and possibly essential oils
You may have noticed the guest bed is missing a bed skirt. If not, you definitely just went back and looked.
I also rushed the painting project and didn't get to the baseboards yet. They're solid wood and made by my wonderful, talented husband.
But like I said at the beginning, a guest's experience is less about how nice a room is and more about how accommodating and functional it is.
Overall, cleanliness and soft, bright lighting make for a welcoming invitation. Incorporate natural materials and decoration for a down-to-earth vibe. Just a fresh coat of paint does wonders to a basic bedroom.
Don't overstress about being the best host or hostess. The fact you are opening your home at all speaks volumes to visitors.
Provide the aforementioned guest room essentials and your guests are sure to want to come back!