How to Create a Warm and Inviting Guest Room on a Budget, According to Interior Designers

Updated 10/18/19

Design by Emily Henderson Design; Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Your guest room may not be the most actively used space in the home, but it certainly isn’t the least important. After all, you want your overnight guests to feel welcome, comfortable, and as relaxed as possible from the moment they arrive. “When you are entertaining overnight guests, think of making the guest bedroom a relaxing retreat for them,” suggests Farah Merhi, Founder and CEO of Inspire Me Home Decor.

Creating a special space for your close friends and family doesn’t have to take a huge budget. In fact, many of the things that will transform your space from habitable to homey might already be in your possession. Here are 13 easy ways to create a warm and inviting guest room, according to interior design experts. 

Get Creative With the Headboard

cheetah tapestry
Society6 Cheetah Crush Wall Tapestry $86
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You don’t have to splurge on an expensive bed frame to create a totally chic sleeping situation. Katie Stix, IIDA, Partner, Design Director, LEED Green Associate at Anderson Design Studio suggests creating a faux headboard by using a beautiful piece of fabric, tapestry, or folding screen behind a metal bed frame. “This way, you can create a ‘headboard’ without the expense of a fully upholstered frame.” 

Don’t Overlook Linens

printed sheets
Target Printed Pattern Easy Care Percale Cotton Sheet Set $20
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Try and avoid making your guest beds with your old, ratty linens. “Don't underestimate the power of the bedding,” reminds Merhi. “It’s what makes the bedroom the retreat your guests deserve.” There are so many great options for guest linens at every price point. “Shopping at stores like HomeGoods or Target will allow you to find bedding like sheet sets, duvet covers, and even comforter sets at great deals,” she suggests.

Dress Up the Bed With Throw Pillows and Blankets

throw blanket
Brooklinen Pure Wool Throw Blanket $229
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Nothing transforms a bed from comfy to utterly cozy better than adding a few chic throw pillows and blankets to the mix. “Finish off by styling the bed with plush decorative pillows and a plush throw blanket for an inviting and cozy feel,” says Merhi. 

Don’t Forget a Nightstand

side table
Target Amaranthus Curved White Marble Top End Table with Brass Base $100
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Just like any bedroom, nightstands are an essential for your guest bedroom. “Your guests are going to want to place their knick-knacks, their books, drinks, etc. near the bed,” Merhi points out. You can either go the traditional route and get an actual nightstand, or use an oversized side table on both or one side of the bed. “Your guests don't need much storage, so drawers and cabinet doors are not necessary,” explains. Merhi. “As long as they have a tabletop, they will be all set.”

Create an Ambiance With Lighting

table lamp
Birchlane Danica 23" Table Lamp $64
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“I believe lighting is essential in creating a vibe,” says Stix, who suggests making an impactful impression by leaving a bedside light on when the guest arrives. “Walking into a dimly lit room is a simple (and inexpensive!) way to make a guest feel welcome and super cozy!” she says. Merhi agrees that a bedside lamp is a must-have for any guest room. “Table lamps allow for a warm glow in the room, but also act as a night light for your guests,” she adds.  

Add a Beautiful Bench

tufted bench
Wayfair Rickey Upholstered Bench $200
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A couple of stools or a bench at the foot of the bed are a great way to give any room a finished look. “It's also a place for your guests to sit and maybe put their shoes on before heading out, and a place to put their clothes at night,” Merhi points out.

Add a Coat of Pretty Paint

“One of the easiest and least expensive ways to update a room is with a new coat of paint,” Sue Wadden, director of color marketing or Sherwin-Williams points out. She suggests choosing colors purposefully. For example, a cool blue like Sherwin Williams North Star is refreshing and universally liked, so guests will be drawn to your space and feel at home. Alternately, rich oranges and reds add visual warmth to a room. Or, a an incredibly pale pink tone like Malted Milk gives a neutral beige a modern twist.

One of the easiest and least expensive ways to update a room is with a new coat of paint."

Add Some Homey Items

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kai Travel Set $49
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There’s no better way to make your guests feel at home than by providing all the home essentials. “Even if you are ‘borrowing’ another room for a temporary guest room, make sure you have the niceties—preferably grouped together on a pretty tray—Kleenex, carafe and glass for water, pen and pad of paper, and an iPhone charger!” suggest Nancy Hooff & Carter Kay of Carter Kay Interiors. Other ideas include bathrobes, slippers, a basket filled with toiletries in case they forgot something, or even a fan. 

Artfully Accessorize

vases
Amazon Metal Flower Vase, Set of 2 $25
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“Use leftover items from around the home to establish an eclectic vibe,” suggests Stix. For example, if the side tables aren’t the same height, use coffee table books to raise up the lamp. Vases, collected art, and extra framed photos work too.

Hang Non-Custom Curtains

blue velvet curtains
West Elm Worn Velvet Curtain $109+
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You don’t have to invest in expensive draperies for your guests to enjoy simple luxuries such as privacy, protection from blinding light, and sound dampening. “Pre-made drapery panels that you can buy online or off the shelf are a great way of creating a cozy vibe without the cost of custom window treatments,” explains Stix. Her expert tip? “Double up on the panels; using two panels per side to create a luxurious fullness!” 

Infuse the Room With Scent

scented candle
Brooklinen Magic Hour Candle $35
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Adding a subtle scent is a great way to give a guestroom life. You can do this with a great candle, room spray, or a diffuser. Just make sure the scent isn’t too overwhelming for those with sensitive noses. 


Fashion the Floor

jute rug
nuLoom Natura Collection Chunky Loop Jute Rug, 6' x 9' $101
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While you might not want to spend a lot of money on floor treatments, adding a rug or two will definitely up the comfort level. For a super cozy feel on a frugal budget, think about throwing down a simple sisal type rug and then layering a few inexpensive sheepskin rugs or smaller patterned rugs on top. 


Don’t Forget Greenery

plant
Farmgirl Flowers The Frond Zone $69
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Plants or flowers—real or fake—are a great way to add life to a room. These days, there are so many great options of truly impressive faux foliage. You can also dry out live flowers and style them in a vase. 

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