The holiday season is quickly approaching, and overnight guests will soon be arriving at your doorstep. With a few simple design and décor tricks, you can create a warm, welcoming guest room that rivals a hotel stay. Your guests may never want to leave. 

Re-creating the hotel experience at home 

Hotels use multi-sensory design elements strategically to create a memorable experience for their guests, with special attention paid to color and texture choices, layered lighting, wow-factor artwork, signature scents and of course— the selection of in-room amenities.  

You can accomplish the same vibe by thinking about who your “target audience” is and making function-first choices to accommodate them comfortably.  

“Start by considering your most frequent visitors. Think about how the space needs to function, how they’ll move around the room, and what furniture pieces they’ll need to make your home feel like their own,” according to the design team at Dkor Interiors. 

“Prioritizing comfort is key. You’ll want to create a space that’s exceptionally cozy and inviting. To achieve this, opt for comfortable furniture selections: a high-quality mattress, bedding, and pillows are absolute must-haves.”  

Function and comfort lead the design 

How you furnish and decorate your guest room will ultimately depend on the available space, but beyond a bed, these are the suggestions: 

  • A nightstand, ideally one on either side of the bed. Drawers in the nightstand will help with storage needs. 
  • A dresser, with at least a few drawers emptied out for your guest to unpack.  
  • A TV/entertainment center. If space is an issue, the TV can be wall-mounted, or even placed on the dresser. 
  • A make-up vanity with lots of drawers will look lovely and offer more storage. 
  • A workstation is necessary for lots of people, even on holidays, so having a dedicated desk would be appreciated. If space doesn’t allow for additional furniture, have a nightstand or small table with a chair nearby that can do double duty as a desk during work hours. 
  • If space permits, a comfy chair for reading or checking email. The chair can come in handy for draping clothing too. 
  • A small exercise area, with a yoga mat or light hand weights.  
  • Hooks on the walls and on the back of the door will increase the room’s functionality. 
  • Guest rooms sometimes are a household catch-all for storage. Having a guest room piled high with “stuff” is going to make your guests like they are carving out their space as an afterthought. Avoid clutter with under-bed storage. 

A spa-like guest bath 

The key to a sumptuous spa-like guest bath that mimics a hotel experience are fluffy towels.  

One of the best parts of a hotel stay are the body care items. Collect an assortment of your favorite shampoos and lotions (think subtle but pleasing scents) and either arrange in the guest bath or populate a carry caddy for the guest to bring with them to a shared bath. 

Colors that calm 

A soft, neutral color palette is best suited for a guest room, which is also ideal if the guest room might serve multiple purposes for homeowners when guests are not there. 

Bolder pops of color can be introduced against the neutral palette with accents and artwork, and style can be easily refreshed, or switched out depending on the season. 

Fresh flowers lend bright color, and are a thoughtful touch for your guests, a popular item in a guest suite. 

“You can never go wrong with a vase of seasonal florals on the dresser or the bedside table,” says designer Kathy Kuo. 

Artwork in hotels plays an important role in adding visual interest and color, and often gives a nod to the local area. You can create the same vibe by hanging art or photos that celebrate experiences or places that you love in your area. 


white bed linens with tulips in a vase and an alarm clock
Stick with white or classic colors for bedding. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock

Investing in high-quality and beautiful bedding is a must, given the important role that bedding plays both in décor and in comfort for your guests. 

White linens or simple colors are recommended, and Kuo suggests a high-quality cotton material, such as a classic percale. 

“You may find that you don’t need to swap out your guest sheets as often as you do in the primary bedroom, so a versatile color and all-season material is going to be a smarter choice than leaning strongly into summer or winter bedding,” says Kuo. 

Keeping guests in mind, synthetic-fill pillows instead of down are better, because of possible allergies. 

Fluffy duvets with washable covers are preferable to quilts or bedspreads, because they are easier to clean.  And the secret to an extra fluffy hotel-style bed? Fit two duvet inserts inside the cover. 

Luxe lighting 

It’s important to offer lighting from various sources to create a cozy ambience and maximize comfort and functionality. 

For example, a pretty light fixture on the ceiling will add style, while a table or floor lamp casts a softer glow, perfect for nighttime reading. 

Thoughtful touches 

While the décor is essential to setting the style tone, it is the small touches that will ultimately make your guests feel most welcome. 

Be sure to offer: 

  • Water glasses along with bottles of water 
  • A clock
  • Bathrobe and slippers 
  • A full-length mirror 
  • Chargers and charger station 
  • Luggage rack 
  • Tray for keys and other smaller items 
  • Wi-Fi password  
  • Reading material 
  • Laundry hamper 
  • Blackout drapery 

Multi-functional guest rooms 

What if you don’t have a spare room to dedicate to a guest room? The key is to have multi-functional furniture that can change the room’s purpose on demand. 

white murphy bed pulled out from the wall, with bookshelves and a desk
A Murphy bed quickly transforms a room for guests. Photo Credit: Adobe Stock.

“If you’re short on space, consider a comfortable pull-out sofa in the media or family room,” according to the Dekor design team.  

Another option is a Murphy bed, a stylish way to conceal a bed and preserve space in a room intended for another use.  

Nesting coffee or side tables are space savers too, easy to tuck away when it is time to get ready for bed.  

If your home office is also your guest room, “Bring in a smaller bed with a simple frame that you can style as a daybed or alternative to a sofa when not in use as a guest bed. When you have guests staying, simply add sheets, a duvet and bed pillows,” says Kuo. 

Nurseries are also rooms that commonly double for guests. Include transitional furniture in the nursery, such as a neutrally colored trundle bed, which can serve as seating during the day, but offer sleep quarters for guests at night.