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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 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. 

It was the best decision, considering we use every inch of the house daily, although I sometimes dream of a space I could keep lovely year-round for company. Today, our four-bedroom home is filled to the brim with kids and all their stuff.

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

I shared this last year 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).

It was the perfect opportunity to figure out what to do with guests other than throwing one of my kids out of their room.

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

It’s now a year later, and taking the time to organize this has been a tremendous time saver.

Not only do I do this when “grown-ups” stay with us, but more often, I’m putting this set up together for the dozens of sleepovers we have during the year.

And, 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, pullouts out to make a queen sized bed, and there is an entertainment center on the wall you can’t see.

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.

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 (a whole set for under $30) on the bottom shelf.

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

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. 

So 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. And THIS has been so helpful. I don’t have to run around looking for everything, it’s all in a box – Guest Room in a Box!

Guest Bath Touches

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 (I have these on auto-delivery) 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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Sunday 4th of December 2022

I really loved this article and the one you did on setting up a gift wrapping station! Please continue to do these types of articles occasionally!


Saturday 3rd of December 2022

I have a fold up luggable rack with a bottom shelf. Handy for keeping luggable accessible.


Friday 2nd of December 2022

Hi Megan! I would love some suggestions on crisp, white sheets. I am not a fan of the super soft or micro-fibre styles. Do you have a go to brand?


Friday 2nd of December 2022

Thank you so much for this!! So many great ideas I will be using!


Friday 2nd of December 2022

I’m an uber organized neat freak. I used to live in a spacious one bed one bath apartment. Fortunately I had a very comfortable sofa. My family often stayed for one to two weeks. If Mum and Dad came I gave them my bedroom. If my sister came or my Mum on her own they got the sofa. I was working at the time. I had a beautiful, soft spare hotel robe in my closet for guests. I’m a fan of Rubbermaid containers. Guest stuff went in there. A really nice set of sheets, a blanket and beautiful towels. I hung a pretty travel type toiletries pocket container for a few special toiletries and for space for their own stuff over the bathroom door. It took a couple minutes to set up the bed and in the morning the sheets and blanket went back into the Rubbermaid tub. I kept a lavender sachet in the bottom of the tub. It wasn’t perfection, but they kept coming back so I think they were pretty comfy. My motto - where there’s a will there’s a way. Love your posts.

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