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How to Create a Guest Room When You Don’t Have One

How to Create a Guest Room When You Don’t Have One

With the holidays upon us, friends and family are stopping by and maybe even staying for a night or two.

And while Tik Tok and Pinterest are FILLED with incredibly helpful ideas to spruce up a designated guest room for the season, what the heck are you supposed to do when you don’t have one?

When we remodeled our home a few years ago, I gave up a guest room so each of our girls could have their own space and privacy. Today, our four-bedroom home is filled to the brim with kids and all their stuff. 

It was the best decision, considering we use every inch of the house each day, although I sometimes dream of a space I could keep lovely year-round for company.

But in this new world of working from home, even if you do have a guest room, it’s likely serving double or triple duty these days.

So when one of my best friends, Neen, told me she was flying in for a quick, less than 24 hour trip to visit me and the girls (her goddaughters) I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to figure out what to do with guests other than throwing one of the kids out of their room for the night.

I’m not the only one that does that, right?

Since I spent a ton of time researching (and sending back) so many items, until I created a space and system that we can use anytime we get to host someone, I thought I’d share what I came up with here. 

Yes, this post is a little different than what I usually do, don’t panic, I’m not changing course, but your home can be Well Dressed too, right? 

I thought it would be helpful to contribute something realistic, especially this time of year. This isn’t a sponsored post, it’s not meant to be”perfect”, and it’s certainly not staged.

What I’m working with

A gray couch in a basement

This is our downstairs bonus room. It’s a small space used exclusively by our kids. They watch movies, play video games, and do crafts at the table. The sofa, an old model from Ikea with a new slipcover, pulls out for sleepovers (there is an entertainment center on the wall you can’t see).

Even though the sofa converts to a queen, I’d love to invest eventually in a high-quality inflatable king-size mattress because I would only ever put one person on this. I can’t imagine it sleeping two full-size adults comfortably.

But Neen is teeny tiny, so this will work great.

How to Create a Guest Room When You Don’t Have One

A bed with white linens and a nightstand

I have two friends who have taught me so much about how to be a proper host, Neen and Maribeth. I’ve stayed in both their homes multiple times and whenever I leave I can’t believe how rested and recharged I feel. 

Everything you could possibly need in their home is at your finger tips, you don’t ask for anything and it is comfortable

So I took inspiration from two of my favorite people in the world and thought, what would they do?

To start, I pulled the bed out and added this comfy pillow top cover. It’s under $100 and is stain and water resistant, so I can use it for sleepovers too;).

Trust me when I tell you, this makes the bed 1000% better.

Then I put on crisp white sheets and a comforter I already had in our linen closet. 

Small Details Feel Like Home

A nightstand with flowers and a glass of water

A small end table I wasn’t using (that I found on Wayfair ages ago) is next to the side of the bed.

I added a pitcher and cup set ($25), this sleek little gizmo that charges your iPhone and AirPods at the same time, lavender/chamomile sleep spray (under $20), an old lamp I bought at Target that has a plug on the side and some fresh, and inexpensive flowers from Trader Joe’s. 

Just like when you’re putting an outfit together, see what you have first before you buy. I was able to use so many things just sitting around the house. 

Hotel Extras

white towels and slippers

Then I set up a gold-tone garment rack I found on Amazon. I DO NOT recommend it at all, it was a mess to put together, but I got it to work after almost throwing it across the room.

Instead, I highly recommend this rack that might look familiar from some of my previous posts. I’m using it for something else right now, but it’s so sturdy, super cute …10/10 from me.

I hung a white robe, and placed a pair of disposable slippers, and new white towels on the bottom shelf.

Because it’s the holidays and I want to be extra, I left a silk sleep mask (under $15!) and sheet spray from The Laundress ($16).

To make my life easier, I put an empty Rubbermaid box aside so when I break this down; I can wash sheets, clean up and pack everything away for the next time. 

Something Neen taught me is to keep things simple by creating a system. Put the work in once and then you just follow the steps the next time. 

Guest Bath

picture of a well-organized bathroom

Our guest bath is so, so small, though luckily it has a full size tub/shower combo. We have ZERO storage, except this self that sits over the toilet. 

I filled it with products I love and all the things I forget whenever I go on a trip. 

Aesop is a totally overpriced hand soap that is incredible. I splurge on it every holiday.

I also added the Nest Grapefruit Diffuser, long time readers know it’s one of my all time favorite scents for the home. The fresh grapefruit is especially nice in a small bath. 

These disposable hand towels in an acrylic holder seemed like a better idea than a decorative hand towel for everyone to use.

And you can tell I’m getting old when I got so genuinely excited when this toilet paper holder arrived – so much more civilized than having to yell for a new roll. 

Don’t forget a jar for Q-tips, tooth picks and hair ties. 

If she were staying longer, I’d include a hairdryer and put a small clothing steamer in her room, too. 

Don’t Ask For Anything

A basket of goodies for a guest

An assortment of everything you could need is in the basket on the top shelf, including extra towels, a hair turban, shower cap, some face masks, tampons, toothpaste, and toothbrushes (these bamboo ones are great to have on hand).

I also like to put in all the extra samples I receive.

Shampoo, Conditioner, and Body Wash

Finally, I’m a sucker for a container with an obvious label. These lightweight, refillable containers with a pump top come in a set of three with a variety of stickers and were a steal.

They fit perfectly into this rust-proof caddy that sticks to your shower wall. It comes in a set of two, I left one empty so guests can place their personal items on it. 

Think outside the box when it comes to setting up your guest space. If you have an area that you can close off with a door, that’s ideal. Maybe it’s a pull out like we have, or you have to move your coffee table and set up in an air mattress in the living room. 

No matter the place, you can make it feel special and comfortable with a few thoughtful and inexpensive touches. 

Tell us in the comments, is there anything extra YOU do for guests this time of year? 


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How to Create a Guest Room When You Don\'t Have One

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Tuesday 29th of March 2022

(For many reasons - just reading this post about the guest room)..........What a lovely space you created, great ideas. Appreciate your thoughtful posts on non-fashion subjects as much as the fashion posts. Keep up the always inspirational information! Love having little glimpses into your life struggles and happy times - helps to know you are a REAL person too! Thanks!


Tuesday 21st of December 2021

This is a great post! Thanks for the ideas.

Kaethe Pittman

Saturday 11th of December 2021

Megan, this was a truly excellent and timely post. Our family visits in groups, so even two spare bedroom (empty nester) are not enough. Now I know how to make another room just as welcoming -- thank you!!

Tracy Gray

Wednesday 8th of December 2021

This is perfect. ‘We too are limited on space but we do have a smaller room that we use to put everything we can’t find a place for in that room. The double bed is buried. Since we are expecting some friends/out of town relatives to stay over during the upcoming holidays I’m going to fix it up using many of your suggestions so it is warm and welcoming and guests will fill comfortable and welcomed to our home.

Daniela Spallino

Wednesday 8th of December 2021

Great post, thank you Megan! I struggle with the details, and I love the idea of packing all in a box to put out the next time. I normally scour the house each time, which is so frustrating.

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