How to Set Up the Ultimate Guest Room

How To Set Up The Ultimate Guest Room
Setting up a guest room is something I am pretty passionate about! After staying over with some friends who had an absolutely killer guest room where we felt pampered and slept like babies, I was inspired to up my game. There are so many DETAILS that can elevate a guest space from sufficient to a-mazing. And the best part is, these ideas are not expensive or difficult to execute at all!
Guest room ideas!
And I do want to note that these tips ABSOLUTELY apply to a part-time guest space (temporary air mattress setups included!). Just because you don’t have a whole room to devote to hosting your guests does not mean you can’t create a comfy and inviting space for them to enjoy! No matter what your space consists of, taking these extra steps to create a thoughtful space will be appreciated by your guests.
How To Set Up The Ultimate Guest Room Step 1: Make it comfy
Cozy bedding is a big deal. If you are working with an air mattress, top it with a piece of memory foam to up the comfort by about 1 million points. Choose nice sateen sheets and a variety of pillows (from super plush and firm to slim and soft).
How To Set Up The Ultimate Guest Room
I always use my pillow mist when making the bed to add a fresh, subtle scent.
Guest room ideas! How To Set Up The Ultimate Guest Room How To Set Up The Ultimate Guest Room How To Set Up The Ultimate Guest Room
Bonus points for white robes (fancy hotel vibes!), a comfy rug and a fresh candle.
Step 2: Make it practical 
Start with necessities (don’t forget extra towels, toothbrushes, extra toilet paper and tampons—basically anything you’ve ever had to ask the front desk for at a hotel! ESPECIALLY the stuff that’s embarrassing to ask for).
Think of what you often use in hotel rooms, like a blow dryer or iron and make sure they are accessible. If you have a closet space, leave some hangers so they can hang clothes.
Leave a note in plain sight with your Wi-Fi password.
Guest room ideas!Guest room ideas!
If you have room to furnish, consider a desk rather than a dresser. The dresser probably won’t get a lot of use, but the desk will be a place for them to set up their laptop and get a little work done if they need to!
Guest room cartGuest room cartGuest room cart
Next, add some treats (late night snacks). In our last home, we started the tradition of having a guest room cart, and it’s probably the most appreciated and complimented thing we’ve done in our guest room. I enjoy customizing it for each of our guests. For example, if they have children, we’ll add more kiddo snacks, or if they have allergies or dietary restrictions, we’ll be conscious of that. It’s fun, special and 100% worth the extra effort! If you don’t want to do a whole cart, start with a nice little basket!
Guest room ideas! Check lighting
Sleep in your guest room for at least one night. This is SO helpful. You’ll find out if it’s too bright to sleep in, if the bed is comfy or if it’s a room that gets extra hot or cold for some reason.
How To Set Up The Ultimate Guest Room How To Set Up The Ultimate Guest Room How To Set Up The Ultimate Guest Room
Step 3: Make it personalized 
This is your chance to make a FUN space. I do feel it’s a little more challenging going bold in a guest room because I imagine all my very different friends and family staying there and I want to make sure it’s comfortable for all of them.
With that said, I still think it’s worth it to go a little more bold or infuse it with some quirky elements because your guests won’t have time to get tired of it like a regular bedroom. Instead, think of it as a fun hotel room and give your friends something adorable to Instagram!
I still have more I want to do in this space, but I feel like it’s off to a really good start. The simple steps I’ve taken have MAJORLY upped my hostess game, which I am so excited about! Being so far from my close friends and family, it means SO much to me to have a cozy space where they feel welcomed.
Do you have a permanent or temporary guest room that’s needing some love? Which of these ideas are you planning to try for yourself? Additionally, if you have tips that have worked for your space, I’d love to hear them! I’m really inspired by the challenge of creating the ultimate guest room and I hope you are too. xx- Elsie
Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Elsie Larson and Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess Actions

  • So, so perfect!

    The desk chair is invisible, I didn’t see it at first glance! ahah

    Really inspiring what you can do with a small guest room. We had no idea how pretty smart it could be made, thanks for posting. You really know how to set up a guest room, keep up the good work.

    Would luv to be your guest.

    Have fun!

  • i have a dedicated guest room and it’s so ugly and boring! But we have family members stay all the time and I’ve been wanting to make it more comfortable and welcoming for them. One thing I’d like to figure out, is how to help them feel comfortable in the morning if I’m not up yet. I’m not a super early morning riser and I don’t want them starving until I can get up and make them breakfast!

  • What a wonderful guest bedroom set up. I love the mini bar section, its pretty clever.

  • I love those ideas, I can’t wait to have my own house to try them ! I currently live in a small appartment and my guests sleep on the sofa-bed in the living room. At least it’s really comfortable. I would also add a map of the area and bus directions for the guests that stay longer ! Maybe even some bus tickets.

  • I love this! I was so excited to design our guest room when we moved from a studio to a 2-bedroom. The guest room is actually more decorated than our bedroom! Hah. I love welcoming guests into a bright and cozy room that was made just for them. So fun!

    Love ya Elsie! Happy Holidays.


  • These tips are SO AWESOME!
    I loved the little details. Never thought about a guest room cart before but seems so obvious now that it would be so useful for the guests.
    Loved dear! 🙂

  • I love how comfortable and cozy this room is! The tip about sleeping in the guest room is a great reminder!

  • Great post! I love the idea of keeping the bedding simple and adding color everywhere else! Thanks for the inspiration! This is the first time I’ve been to this blog- obsessed already!!

  • Hello!! I absolutely I adore this blog a heck of a lot. I just wanted to ask where you got the semi circle gold plant hangers from?? I really want to buy these !! Thanks X

  • This guest room is amazing and gorgeous! I love it!


  • My sister and brother-in-law put an older model Keurig single cup coffee maker in the guest bath for me when I visited. What a treat in the morning!

  • I absolutely looove the rosé bedside tables & rug, where are they from? Great post!!

  • Gorgeous room! I also like to leave a choice of bedside reading – tailored to whoever is staying of course. Nothing heavy going, just something they can pick up and browse, something they can wind down with. And hopefully something that will keep them in bed a bit longer in the morning too – so I get a long lie-in as well!!

  • Number 1 thing people neglect to provide in their guest rooms: SPACE for your guests to PUT THEIR STUFF.
    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to leave everything in my suitcase because there was no room to unpack. Or if I unpacked, I had to put everything on the floor. There was no room to hang my clothes because they used the guest bedroom closet as a spare closet and left no extra hangers. There’s no space anywhere in the bathroom to set down a bottle of shampoo when you’re taking a shower. I’ve had to put my eyeglasses on the floor next to bed when I went to sleep at night and hoped that I didn’t step on them when I got up in the dark because they didn’t put a lamp within reach of the bed. Seriously. I’d skip the flowerpots and the table full of goodies and give guests a desk with an empty surface, a dresser with an empty surface and a few empty drawers, a bedside table or two with a lamp and nothing else, and plenty of place to hang things. The best design for a guest room is to keep it neutral as possible, so the guest can make it their own during their stay.

  • I adore! The guest book! And the plants! These are great ideas!
    My mother always taught us to keep a guest book by the door, but I think it’s a lovely idea to keep one in your guest suite as well!
    This is a great collaboration! Such a happy and bright post!

  • Can you please tell me where the white curtains are from and the fabulous hanging planters? Thank you!

  • The perks of living in a bigger city I think. I wish SOOOO bad we had trader joe’s in Springfield. I used to shop there when I lived in LA and I still think their hummus is the best! 🙂


  • great tips! I loved that your previous guest room had a bunch of mini toiletries – do you stash them in a bathroom now? I was also wondering where the indigo lumbar pillow and polka dotted vase are from?

  • I feel like you guys just got trader joes or something. showing off their snacks 🙂

  • Some wonderful ideas I had not thought of. I sometimes prepare a snack basket with crossword puzzle books and tissues. Even little bottles of aspirin, Tylenol, throat lozenges, and allergy medicines, childproof, of course.

  • Such an inspiring post! You have made me want to re-decorarte! Room is looking amazing. x

  • What a killer room! I’m in love with everything, the rug, the lamps, all those wonderful details…would love to stay there!

  • Love it! Especially the cute snacks cart, such a clever idea.


  • This is absolutely gorgeous! I would love to stay in a room like that! I love all the colours, and I definitely agree that memory foam makes any bed 1000x better! (:

  • I love all of these ideas! Kind of can’t wait to have an apartment with an extra room now 🙂

  • Most of our guests come from abroad, so I like leaving a little Lonely Planet guidebook in there too. Guests love it!

  • An absolutely beautifully done space. In about 5 months I am moving to Paris to be with my boyfriend. I am so anxious to create a space together that we both will enjoy. You’re blog feeds my imagination oh so much.
    Kristina Wilde

  • I LOVED this post, as well as the previous bottle opener DIY. Little things I would never have thought of that would make a huge differene in our home.

  • god!ur posts r ever so pretty and filled with fun and frolic and joy and colour and what not!!!!ur posts are so beautiful..u have a beautiful life …..hope this christams is beautiful for u girl too..!i am so excited about christmas this time!yay!and i love ur blog!
    and btb..these are my blogs…x0x0…!!!

  • Thank you so much Jesslan!
    The white paint is “Marshmallow” by Valspar.
    xx- Elsie

  • It smells REALLY good. And it’s pretty light, not overpowering. :))
    xx- Elsie

  • We don’t even have a guest room, but now I WANT one! Haha, we just had my parents visit for a fortnight- meaning my partner slept on a mattress on the floor and I on the couch for the two weeks. In the bedroom we set them up with a clothing rail and a few necessities, but I really had not thought about all of these suggestions, this is an awesome guide. Thank you!

    I absolutely love the cart and gold hanging planters- these touches are so perfect and inviting.
    Thanks for sharing!
    xx Jenelle

  • bottle or caraf of water and a glass, tissue box, luggage rack, extra blankets, some clean surfaces for guests to drop their stuff (be it dresser top or desk).

  • Hello! Is this already your guest room from the new house? Its just amazing! Can you tell me where is from the blue throw on the bed please? thanks!

  • This is so classy and bright! Can’t wait to have a place that has enough space for a spare room so it can look like this. Love this style 🙂

    Lucy xoxo

  • Love the white linens and have refreshing, soothing and calm the room is – the snack cart is perfect too.

  • Hey Elise, seeing your rug in this post reminded me of an organization I just discovered through They are also sponsored by National Geographic. They are called Novica. I am planning on purchasing a hand woven rug with a similar style to the one in this post, and am supporting an artisan, knowing the worker was paid a fair wage, and fighting against the conglomeration of the world all at the same time. Thought you would be interested, maybe even do a post on the organization, since you guys also survive on a small business and local artisan framework. There is no price gouging either, as has become common practice when a big corporate store runs an artisan line. Here is the link

  • Love it- so cozy and welcoming! Can I ask where you got the wood table that you put the snacks on?

  • I love making our guest room more warm and welcoming, & these tips are great! We have a lot of the things you mentioned, but I really love the idea of the snack bar. No one wants to ask their hosts for a midnight snack!

  • do you have the name for the wall paint? i absolutely love it!
    you did such an awesome job on that room…i’m sure all your guests love it 🙂

  • I absolutely absolutely took notes of this. My best friends are adventurers like myself and we end up living in different countries most of the time and though it breaks my heart I can’t wait to have a home of myself with an extra room. Such great tips, really really love them! Thanks for sharing <3

  • SO SO excited about this post! I’m about to come into having a guest room for the first time in ages (roommate moving out) and am just stoked to get to decorate for guests! I’ve been dreaming of it since your first post on a guest cart!

  • Love how cozy this is! And I really like how you make everything personalized. I want to try that pillow mist too!

  • This is perfect timing as I have just finished decorating our guest room and now ready to start with the soft furnishings and finishing touches. Such great ideas and as you say simple and cost effective to put into practice. Great post.

  • I love that print, and I’d love to know where it’s from! These are great ideas to make guests feel welcome!

  • Thank you so much for sharing! The room looks amazing and I specifically love the guest room cart with snacks. What a wonderful idea! We do not have a permanent guest room but that is certainly something I want to create whenever we have friends staying over.
    – X Marloes

  • Thanks for the inspiration! All of our bedrooms are in use but this has me thinking that we could get creative and make a space in our family room even if it is just temporary while we have guests. The little touches go a long way. Your space looks beautiful!!

  • I love what you’ve done with this space. Where did you get the “Be My Guest” book? I would love to get one for our guest room!

  • Hello Elsie,

    Thank you for all of the guest room tips! I can’t wait to use them. My husband and I just bought a house and instead of having one big housewarming party we would like to send out invitations for our friends and family to stay with us as their schedules allow. We thought it would be a great way to show everyone they are welcome anytime. What do you think of this idea?


  • Trader Joe’s makes Cookie Butter SANDWICH COOKIES? How did I not know this? (Couldn’t help myself browsing that snack cart!)

    I love this post! I can’t wait to one day have enough space for a guest room and make all these personal touches that you’ve curated so wonderfully.

  • This is beautiful! You have such a eye for design ❤️

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