Gorgeous Guest Rooms
Use these tips from our design pros to create a home away from home
When designing a guest room, think of how you would like to be treated when staying away from home. Choose the right design components to create a welcoming space of gracious form and function.
“Think of a guest room as a hotel room,” says Patrick James Schmidt, ASID, RID, designer at J. Baker Interiors LLC. “The choices you make from the bedding to flooring need to make your guests feel comfortable.”
Designer Danielle Myers, ASID, RID, principal at Elle Designs LLC, agrees.
“A guest bedroom should have all the amenities of a hotel but with the charm of your home,” she says.
Here are some design basics that appeal to the senses and can make your guests feel right at home.
Color: Charming and warm hues
Consider a peaceful palette of earth tones or ocean colors of silvery gray and blues. At the High Point Market, a home furnishings trade show, this past October, paint trends forecasted for spring 2012 included more muted, pale and soft hues.
“Consider hydrangea colors, like when it has been picked and the purples and blues have begun to soften,” Schmidt suggests. “Aqua is still in. Then there are bold and more vibrant colors to balance the designer’s palette –– colors such as hot pink. The primary colors are coming back too, but they’re more intense reds, yellows and blues.”
But for guest rooms, keep the paint color subtle.
Soothing colors and hues will encourage guests to linger a bit in the morning and enjoy themselves in their room if they choose.
Texture: Wallpaper and paint effects
Think beyond merely an accent wall.
“Envelope a room with a nice, soft patterned wallpaper that you can match to a nice window treatment on or coordinate with the bedding to so it gives more a hotel/spa feeling,” Schmidt says.
Companies such as Thibaut Designs have a range of wallpaper looks from very subtly painted grasscloth to chinoiserie to tone-on-tone patterns to help create that effect.
This subdued look can also be achieved with paint techniques.
“You can introduce a pattern on the walls, such as tone-on-tone stripes, for variety,” Myers advises.
Other subtle textures can be added to walls by covering the painted surface with a transparent layer of glaze, then removing the glaze with techniques such as marbling, rag rolling and wood graining. Visit local paint stores for help on creating your desired look and for a selection of ready-made glazes.
Furnishings: Chic and smart accessories
Keep your guest room inviting but uncluttered by limiting the number of accessories. Avoid making guests feel that they are in a museum.
Mix it up with furniture that isn’t an exact match.
“Use a round, skirted table on one side of the bed with a nice lamp, a tray for a guests keys and other items, and perhaps a bouquet of flowers,” Schmidt says. “On the other side, have a bedside table with a matching lamp, adding a touch of symmetry to the room.”
Add local flavor with artwork or photos depicting iconic events, such as the Indy 500, Myers suggests.
“Depending on the age of your guests, you can transform a neutral space into a kid-friendly room with a quick change of pillows, reading material and even a favorite DVD for them to enjoy,” she says. “If you know children will always be your primary guests, consider using bunk beds for furniture.”
Hang a mirror so guests can conveniently get a final look before venturing out.
Aging in Place
Designers at J. Baker Interiors LLC have aging in place in mind, making careful considerations for things like flooring.
“If it’s a hardwood floor, we look at the nap of the rug that we put on it,” Schmidt says. “If there’s a wheelchair or a walker, we don’t want it to be a big impedance for them to get over. It’s especially an issue for people with eyesight problems.”
You may want a bed with a headboard, but no footboard, since guests will be getting up in unfamiliar surroundings. A footboard can make it more difficult to easily and safely get out of bed, especially at night.
The guest room still can be a place of luxury while keeping in mind aging-in-place issues, Schmidt says.
Little ‘Guest-ures’ That Count
Designers Patrick James Schmidt and Danielle Myers provide these suggestions to make guests feel right at home.
> Keep things fragrant with a vase of fresh flowers.
> Choose a comforter or coverlet that isn’t too heavy. When it’s folded down, consider placing it at the end of bed on a bench.
> Consider plush bed linens that guests can sink into, such as cozy blankets and down-like comforters and pillows.
> Provide fresh water or wine.
> Provide a reading light in a cozy sitting area.
> Keep art simple, such as a black-and-white series or one major piece over the headboard.
> Don’t have family photos in a guest room.
> Keep the guest closet empty.
> In the guest bathroom, provide toiletries and, of course, fresh towels.