Products to Outfit a Guest Room for $99 or Less
Make holiday visitors feel right at home by sprucing up their overnight digs without breaking the bank
There's more to preparing a guest room than just making the bed. Welcome visitors with a practical space that's comfortable and anticipates their needs. First tip: While it's tempting to put infrequently used rooms to work as storage areas, clear away clutter and keep decor generic-but-beautiful when you're expecting guests.
In the end, there's only one way to be sure your guest room is grand: Pack an overnight bag and test it for yourself. Is the rarely used mattress comfortable? Are there enough unobstructed outlets available for chargers and laptops? Are there a couple of empty drawers? Space in the closet? Keep reading for clever tips and thoughtful, affordable upgrade ideas to help make your loved ones feel right at home this holiday season.
Guest room mattresses are either new and rarely used bargain finds, or old and lumpy remnants from another bedroom's upgrade. A good mattress pad is an affordable way to add comfort and support. Take a page from the best inns and dress the bed with two firm and two soft pillows. Have a synthetic-filled pillow on standby for guests who may have allergies to feathers in down-filled varieties. Also, make both light and heavy blankets available so your overnighter can customize bedding to suit their tastes.
Shown: Simmons BeautyRest 5-Zone BackCare Mattress Pad; about $55
Intuitive lighting is important, especially for first-time visitors to your abode. Include a lamp on or near the bedside tables (for evening reading) and a nightlight (for late-night trips to the bathroom). Guests will appreciate every available surface to set out their things; installing a wall-mounted light will lift your light source off the nightstand to free up space for toiletries, medications, books, and other things they'd like to have at hand.
Shown: Portfolio Brushed Nickel Transitional Arm Sconce; about $40
A clock on the nightstand is a must. Multi-function models with alarm clocks and radios make for added convenience if visitors want to turn on the news while getting ready or listen to music in the evening. Hardly anyone travels without an iPod anymore, so this updated take on an old classic gives guests a handy place to dock their mp3 player for a recharge.
Shown: RCA Clock Radio with Built-in iPod Dock (RC59i); about $35
For rooms without wall-to-wall carpeting, guests will appreciate the cushion and comfort of a bedside rug. While practical, rugs give you the chance to get creative without over-personalizing the space. You can also change them out easily between guests and for seasonal spruce-ups.
Shown: Heritage Tabriz Wool Rug in Ivory/ Red; about $33
Aside from a fresh coat of paint, window treatments are another quick-change way to update the look of a room. Shades in particular provide visitors with another way to customize their environment to suit their tastes. These easy-to-hang bamboo blinds are great for guests who would rather not rise with the sun, and they'll give visitors privacy as needed.
Shown: Burnt Bamboo Roll-Up Window Shades in a variety of colors; about $34
Depending on your space, you'll want to make room for your guests to hang coats, dresses, or other articles of clothing they don't want to keep crammed in a suitcase. Leave a few empty hangers—Velvet Wood Suit Hangers with Pant Clips (about $7/ pack) from The Hanger Shop are our favorites—and a couple of empty chest drawers. If space is limited, consider adding an overdoor hook; it'll make use of dead space behind doors, and may lead guests to keep wet towels off of your wood furniture and floors.
Shown: Orbinni Overdoor Chrome Valet Hook; about $7.
Among the most overlooked addition to any guest room—especially those with guest baths attached—is the mirror. For homes where guests and hosts share a bathroom, an in-room reflector means visitors can finish primping without obstructing the shower, sink, and loo. An affordable full-length mirror can live behind the room door, or sit directly on the floor against a wall. If your guest room is on the small side, a full-length mirror can open up the space, too.
Shown: Foil Finish Hall Mirror; about $40
Creating a self-sufficient space will eliminate stress for both host and guest. If you can spare an iron and board, put a handy caddy in the rooms' closet along with empty hangers and a disposable laundry bag or two. If there are no spares, install the caddy in a common area—like the laundry room or in a linen closet—and point out its' location to guests at their arrival.
Shown: Deluxe Board Holder & Iron Caddy; about $30
Some like it hot, and others not so much. Ensure that your guests' comfort doesn't come at the expense of your own by stowing a space-saving portable heater in guest rooms. On the same note, consider installing a ceiling fan for cool breeze in the summer and circulation of heated air in the winter.
Shown: DeLonghi Mica Panel Radiator; about $65
Add even more comfort with the thoughtful addition of a bedside carafe of spring water. If you've ever gotten the late-night munchies, you can assume that your guests might, too, although they might not feel 100 percent comfortable rummaging through your kitchen. Consider leaving a fruit bowl on the dresser for them.
Shown: Crate & Barrel Bedside Carafe; about $20
Folding luggage racks are a handy old-fashioned addition that'll keep visitors' bulky luggage off your furniture. If guests choose not to unpack completely, the rack creates a home for an open suitcase and ensures users won't have to squat to the ground to retrieve their things. The piece can also serve as a quilt rack where you can leave spare pillows, blankets, and other linens accessible to your guests.
Shown: Crate & Barrel Bedside Carafe; about $20