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How to Create a Welcoming Guest Room for Family and Travelers (Checklist)

Nicely decorated and furnished guest bedroomI love traveling and staying in Bed and Breakfasts or vacation rental homes via sites like VRBO. I’m fairly particular and appreciate rooms that put in special touches to make my stay as comfortable and convenient as possible.

Having a guest room to offer friends and family is a nice privilege and can be a great side income if you rent to travelers on sites like Airbnb or similar sites,

If you’re someone who takes interior design seriously, imagine your guest room as encompassing the overall feel and experience of your home. Similar to staying in a hotel, even if the front facade and common areas are attractive, the true value of your stay is where you sleep at night. The following tips and considerations will help get you on your way to providing the comforts and amenities to make your guests truly enjoy their visit to your home.

1. Provide a Place to Organize Belongings

Closet organizer in a guest bedroom

When someone stays as a guest in another’s home, it’s common to understand their stay won’t be like checking into a luxury hotel, but there are still many nice touches you can add to make them feel like are. Depending on the length of your guest’s stay, they could possibly bring with them multiple pairs of shoes, clothes for several different occasions that may even need to be pressed, and toiletries or cosmetics that need a place to call home.

Making sure your guest room has plenty of different ways to organize all of your guest’s different belongings will help prevent them from having to live out of their suitcase or with everything bunched up in one corner the room.

Here are some basic storage ideas for a guest room:

  • A sufficient amount of hangers to accommodate different types of clothing is always a great start,
  • vanity organizers for cosmetic supplies,
  • a luggage rack or shoe rack,
  • hooks on the wall for coats or a coat rack,
  • a stylish dresser ready to welcome those items that aren’t normally hanged will ensure there’s a place for everything to be neatly tucked away, and/or
  • a full-blown reach-in closet that’s nicely designed with closet organizer.

2. Help Your Guests Stay Connected

Home with WiFi throughoutWhenever people travel, regardless if it’s for business or pleasure, they like to stay connected via mobile devices and/or laptops. Whether it’s to keep up with the latest news, check weather reports, or stay in touch with their office or friends, having internet access will always be appreciated by your guests.


When only 11% of Americans claim to not use the internet, it’s safe to assume that your guests are in the category of people who want to be able to save data fees and conveniently get online. The plus side is it’s not expensive to offer wireless WiFi throughout the home, including the guest room.

Keeping your guests connected can be as simple as providing your wifi password on a card or handwritten note and placing this in the room or on a bedside table. Make sure that there are a good number of accessible and easy to reach outlets particularly near the bed so any devices can charge overnight.

Wireless Charger

If you want to really create a luxury experience, consider a wireless charger so there’s no need to deal with tangled cords or having a charger without a long enough wire. You can even upgrade using the various smart home options available today. Making it so that your guests can easily keep their phone or laptop charged while using them from the comfort of their bed, will go a long way in keeping them comfortable and connected.

Small computer/stationary desk

If space allows, and especially if you’re hosting business guests, a small desk with pens and stationery will please your guests that might have to do work during their stay. If this is the case, think of how business centers are set up in hotels. Let them know how they can print documents if they need to, and have a personal wastebasket or small recycling bin nearby.

Optimal lighting options for working

For business travelers and if you don’t have the space for an added small desk work area and chair, make sure the room itself has ample lighting, and even common office supplies like a notepad and pen. Another option is to look into a portable lapdesk to give that office-in-bed feeling and provide some stability under the laptop making it easier for your guest to work comfortably.

Wall-mounted TV

If your guests are traveling purely for pleasure, set up the room with a wall mounted television to conserve space, and be sure to provide a local channel guide so they don’t have to flip through several channels to get what they need.

Set the remote on a bedside table with a couple bottles of water for an extra special welcoming touch.

3. Furniture and Decor Should be Comfortable and Functional

Sitting area in guest bedroomDon’t toss old junkie furniture in the guest room

A lot of times when people have guest rooms, they tend to make it into a space for all of their left over furniture from college, old roommates, or just pieces they never got around to getting rid of. This would be a huge mistake when it comes to creating a warm and welcoming experience for guests that stay with you. Don’t let your guest room turn into some furniture graveyard, but instead turn it into a space that makes them want to make a return visit.

Unified decor

Decor should be unified or have a theme and be vibrant and welcoming. If you live in a particularly touristy area, you could include some nicely framed photos of popular landmarks or local views to showcase your city. Consider using decorative pillows with the name of your city or an iconic photo and little souvenirs to give the experience of your city right in your home.

Resource binder containing local information

Having a local map handy with some of your favorite places marked out or a binder filled with local information is also a great touch. Think of anything that will help your guests plan out their visiting itinerary and be sure not to miss the local spots that tourists don’t always frequent. Have a notepad and paper handy nearby so they can take notes, and consider getting your own home customized stationery.

Sitting area

If space allows, having accent chair options to relax will help make the room more cozy so that your guests don’t have to always resort to sitting on the bed. Whether it’s a desk with an office chair, a plush inviting armchair, a compact loveseat, or chaise lounge, your guests will definitely appreciate a seating arrangement that gives them a place to unwind, but not necessarily go to sleep.

Shelving for books

Shelves and bookcases give your visitors options to store some of their belongings, or read a book from your personal library (a very nice touch I enjoyed recently in a VRBO condo rental) in their downtime.


Consider using tasteful artificial plants or plants that are easy to maintain indoors in order to give the room some life, and again, not make it seem your guest room is just a place for storing old unmatching furniture and items no longer deemed necessary for the main parts of your home.

4. Invest in an outstanding bed

Plush, comfortable bed in guest bedroomDon’t overlook that the one activity your guests will surely do each day during their stay is going to sleep at the end of the day. This makes the guest bed one of the most important elements of your guest room. At a minimum, the bed should be a queen size, though a king size is preferable. Don’t cut corners on the mattress either, having a high quality mattress will be a welcomed amenity and give your guests a good night of rest.

If you want to go above and beyond, consider a set of luxury quality or high thread count bed sheets, or different pillow options such as memory foam or down (as long as they are not allergic), and blackout or room darkening curtains to keep the light and noise out so your visitors can have a restful sleep. If they wake up the next morning praising you for one of their best overnight stays ever, then you know you’re on the right track to being a great host.

5. Don’t Forget Ensuring Privacy

The toughest part about being on vacation or staying as a house guest, is missing your own comforts of your own home. We’re all used to having our own privacy so being able to establish these same qualities on vacation are the key to a winning guest room. When selecting which room or area of all your options.

Depending on your layout, it’s good to have your guest room away from the day-to-day hustle and bustle of running a house. If you have a room that’s at the end of the hallway, or away from the stairs or children’s rooms, this would be a great option for your guest to feel like they have a bit of space to claim as their own. Look for a room that is insulated from noise, and if possible, has it’s open thermostat and control so your guests can choose their own desired room temperature.

Privacy of course extends to locks on the door in addition to keys to your main entryway. Your guest should feel like their belongings and valuables are safe at all times. If you have to enter the room at any point to clean it, just touch base with your guest early to ensure you have access at a convenient time.

6. Give Your Guest Bathroom Special Care

Guest bedroom bathroom with freestanding tub, vanity and shower.In addition to the care you put toward your guest room, a necessity not to miss is the private bathroom. Whether the bathroom is an en-suite or accessed through the hallway, try to let other members of your household know so they can give your guest more space to use the bathroom as their own.

Make sure the bathroom is spotless before your guest arrives, and to clean it regularly depending on the length of your guest’s stay.

Want to add some more functional charm?

Make sure your guest bathroom is packed with all the amenities you’d expect from a hotel. Provide toiletry items such shampoo and conditioner, hand soap and bath soap, shaving creams and blades, plush towels, and a hairdryer are a great way to let your guests know they are truly welcomed in your home.

If you can, let your guests know ahead of their arrival that you’ll have these amenities to provide for them. It will be a great relief and also give them more space in their luggage to pack other items without having to worry about bringing their own toiletries or bathroom essentials.

7. Try Out Your Own Guest Room First

One of the best ways to see how well your guest room is setup is to be the first guest. Put yourself in the shoes of your visitor and stay in your guest room for a day and figure out what things you would need to make your stay more comfortable. It could be anything from a hairdryer to good quality bath products or box of tissues handy on the bedside table.

  • When you sleep in the room is there anything that happens that disrupts your sleep?
  • Is the room close enough to your wifi router to get a good signal?
  • Is there a place for everything you would bring on a standard trip?

These are the types of questions you want ask yourself as you experience your room and understand ways you can improve it.

If your guests are traveling for business or are there to attend an event, it’s likely they’ll need an iron and ironing board or a lint roller handy. Also a floor length free standing mirror or large wall mirror is an excellent and sometimes necessary feature to help your guests get ready for their day.

If your room is on the side of a house that doesn’t get much lighting or doesn’t have a window, make sure you compensate for that by having ample lighting throughout the room with creative lighting decisions. Each bedside table should have a lamp as well as any desk . Try out different bulbs to make sure you’re providing a comfortable atmosphere that maintains a welcoming feel.

Having a well designed and laid out guest room should be a mark of pride. You can create a better stay experience in comparison to a hotel or other lodging by adding personal touches to make your guests truly feel at home. If you are in the business of renting out your room for short terms stays through services like AirBnb, VRBO or HomeAway, then you definitely want to make sure you are putting extra care into your guest’s experience during their stay.

If you enjoy the extra income from renting your guest room to travelers, it’s important to garner very good reviews from the sites on which you list your room. Those reviews will become the online reputation of your hospitality and accommodations.

Don’t know how to get those reviews? Check out

If your guests are mainly close friends and family, they could be a good and honest resource for reliable feedback on your guest room. Since you’re the one in charge, you can also customize the experience dependent on your guest. One might enjoy fresh cut flowers, where another visitor is allergic. Or perhaps one guest likes to wake up to the daylight of a natural sunrise and prefers open rather than blackout curtains.

As people keep traveling, guest rooms will never go out of style. So as a host, make sure the experience you create for your guests is comfortable, functional, with a welcoming with a touch of style!

Next: Get more bedroom ideas here.