No Visitors? Here's How to Ensure Your Guest Room Doesn't Become Impractical

Rustic bedroom with neutral linens and plaid throw.

Laura Brophy Interiors

For many, the days of hosting houseguests on the regular may seem like a distant memory. But just because your guest room hasn’t been seeing quite as much visitor action in these past months doesn’t mean you have to render the spot impractical for everyday use. With just a few simple swaps, you’ll be able to turn a traditional sleep space into a multi-functional setup perfect for working, exercising, or just plain lounging. 

“Before the pandemic, the rooms in your home could simply serve a singular purpose,” designer Danielle Chiprut reflects. “There was no real need to make your space work double duty, and it was A-OK to have a room solely dedicated for guests, if or when they happened to visit. As the year 2020 went on, that all changed. Our homes became our whole world and they needed to work that much harder for us.” 

When multiple family members are completing virtual instruction or logging eight hour work days from home, quiet, dedicated space in which to plug away at projects is at a premium. “For people who are working from home and sharing a space with family members, it’s important to have a dedicated working area,” designer Zoe Feldman states. So why not turn the guest room into a study for the time being? 

For people who are working from home and sharing a space with family members, it’s important to have a dedicated working area.

“A lovely addition to any guest room is to replace one of the nightstands with a desk,” designer Alyssa Kapito states. “Desks can help guests feel a bit more ‘set up’ and offer an area to keep their laptop while they are traveling, and in current times, a desk is also a great change of scenery from the kitchen table.”

first five things to buy in home office - task lighting

Design: Marie Flanigan Interiors

Before placing an order for a new piece, consult your measuring tape. Kapito notes, “The trick is making sure that the height of the desk and your second nightstand are similar enough to feel cohesive on either sides of the bed. Desks tend to be about 29 or 30 inches high, so you want to pick a nightstand that's 26 inches or taller.” 

The next step is selecting the perfect seat. “Choose a comfortable chair without wheels. This will look great when the room is not used as an office,” designer Hanne Gathe advises. “Style the desk with a couple of books and a small table lamp instead of a desk lamp, and the room won't feel like a traditional home office.” 

Small office with plants and decor


Alternatively, guest rooms can also double as valuable spaces in which to unwind—or carve out a few minutes of precious me-time. “With everyone at home all the time, you might find that you want your own space to hide out and watch Bridgerton,” designer Tiffany Leigh Piotrowski remarks. “Installing a TV in a guest room is always a great idea, because sometimes guests want to veg out away from the action late at night or before coming down for breakfast.”  

While rearranging, you may also wish to rethink the current sleep setup you have in place to make kicking back a bit more optimal. “Using a daybed can create a lounging atmosphere and free up floor space for other uses,” designer Veronica Solomon explains.

Designer Wendy Mauro is a proponent of the pullout sofa or Murphy bed. “Then convert the space to a home gym with a Peloton in the corner of the room,” she adds. “You can have space to roll out a yoga mat or do free weights.”

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