Log in Newsletter

Good Company

by Kelly Twedell

For most people, holidays mean two things: good company and good food. Whether you are entertaining out-of-town friends or family, or welcoming adult children home for a quick visit, there is still time to give your guest bedroom some attention. Choose the right design, and your guest room will be a welcoming space of gracious form and function.

Longtime Fayetteville interior designer Lynn Leath shared some tips to help readers spruce up their extra space just in time for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

As you might imagine, Leath first recommends a good, deep cleaning, that way you can assess the room to determine if it simply needs a few updated accessories or, if your budget allows, a small redesign.

Think about the guest bedrooms and hotels you’ve stayed in through the years: Did you wake up with a bad back due to a sagging mattress or did you leave with mattress envy? Your visitors will be much more pleasant if they’d had a restful night’s sleep. Talking about bedding, is it time to donate and replace well-worn or faded bed linens? Two particular brands that Leath likes to use for her clients are Pine Cone Hill and Lili Alessandra. She says the brands are high quality and affordable and have added details such as a colorful embroidered edge on sheet sets and elegantly patterned fabrics. Colorful throws are another practical-yet-luxurious touch and provide a quick and easy upgrade. You can simply lay one over a chair or at the end of the bed to provide a finishing touch.

The latest trends in bedding include easy to care for washable silks, velvets and matelasse fabrics. Don’t be afraid to layer with various colors and fabrics to tie a room together.

Pillows — ahh, pillows. No bed is complete without pillows. A bed full of pillows always makes a room feel more inviting. Considering your guests’ possible allergies, it’s a good idea to have a mix of pillows available and to include some that are hypoallergenic. Decorative throw pillows are another inexpensive way to jazz up a plain room.

The issue of space is something that requires thoughtful planning. Are the dresser tops and vanity cleared and ready for your guests’ belongings? Lynn recommends emptying out the top two drawers in a dresser and leaving a little closet space for hanging clothes. If your guest bedroom closets are packed already, she suggests getting an over-the-door hook.

Another way to brighten up a room is by putting a colorful luggage stand in the room to hold a suitcase. A bench or trunk at the end of a bed can be used in the same manner and can double for storage space for extra pillows and blankets. Your guests may not bother to unpack if they are only staying for a few days and they’ll certainly appreciate a convenient perch for their luggage. You can even give your room a spark of color by painting it a bright color.

Looking to splurge and give your room a fresh look? Invest in a comfortable sitting chair. A few other thoughtful touches include using fresh flowers to keep the room fragrant; framing a photo you have with your guests; and considering whether your lamps will provide adequate light for bedtime reading. Lastly, make sure the room is ready for traffic. The last thing you want to worry about is having your most treasured trinkets accidentally broken. It’s easier to just put them up for the time being.

“Don’t create a situation where they have to be careful,” Leath said. “Comfort is an environment that is simplified and not overly complicated.”

Remember what it’s like to be a guest in someone’s house. In the middle of the night you don’t enjoy traipsing through an unfamiliar, dark home to fetch a glass of water. Leath recommends leaving either a pitcher of water with a glass or a bottle of water on a side table near the bed, along with a box of tissues and maybe some of your favorite books and magazines, too. (We suggest CityView, of course.)

If your guests are in town for a specific occasion that requires attending several events throughout their stay, consider using a nice notecard to script an itinerary of times and locations so that your guests can allot enough time to get ready.

Leath recommends leaving guest towels on the bed, regardless of whether you’ll be sharing a bathroom with your guests or not. She recommends tying a bow around them — an especially festive touch during the holidays — and says she uses wired ribbon. Besides ample soap and other toiletries, you might think to leave a plunger in sight so that guests won’t have to ask. Also, make sure a hair dryer is available under the sink or in a visible basket for your guests’ use.

Need more inspiration? Browse the pages of magazines and try to envision subtle changes that will make your space more soothing. Use existing accessories that tell your story to make the room more personal and to showcase your style. If you know you do not have an eye for decorating and pulling it all together, ask for help from the pros. Perhaps the most valuable tip that Leath shared: ‘Don’t wait until the last minute’.