How to decorate a guest bedroom on a budget
For many years I lived in homes too small and cramped to allow for the luxury of a guest bedroom. Even in homes where space is not an issue the assigned space for guests is usually the poor relation’ when it comes to furnishing and decorating but it will be your poor relations that are forced to sleep there when they come to visit! Admit it, the guest bedroom has never been a top priority when it comes to decoration and nine times out of ten all of the old stuff gets jammed in there.
If you hate having people to stay in your home then it doesn’t matter if the guest room looks presentable because you want those occasional guests to leave as soon as possible! But, if you live in Florida (for instance) where the sun and the sand beckons joyfully then chances are you will have visitors on a regular basis and don’t you think it would be nice for those visitors to have a private space of their own where they are encouraged to spend time when privacy becomes an issue?
Even in the smallest bedroom I would like to suggest a short list of essentials and niceties designed to keep your guests out from under your feet twenty four hours a day. Think simple, think neutral, think calm and keep decorative elements to a minimum because they will only be pushed to one side in deference to mounds of sandy sea dollars, restaurant book matches and crumpled pamphlets about local attractions.
Basic essentials include: a bed (and forget bunk beds unless you regularly entertain kids because most people aren’t too keen on clambering up a ladder every night to have their face jammed against the ceiling!) with linens that are reasonably good-quality and easy to clean/iron. Don’t put the lumpy, saliva-stained pillows from 1982 on the guest bed; throw those horrible things away immediately and buy some nice anti-allergic replacements (but nothing under $25.00 per pillow because cheap pillows are as ghastly as cheap shoes!)
A bedside table with a drawer (empty) and a shelf or cupboard (empty) should be paired with a bedside lamp with a dimmer or a three-way bulb.
A small TV is a great way to seduce your guests away from your sitting room and it can be mounted high on the wall to save floor space. A full-length mirror or mirrored doors over the closet will give visual breadth to the room and offer your guest a chance to appraise their appearance before emerging from their inner sanctum. Oh, and please, please make sure that at least half the closet is empty and supplied with decent hangers because there is nothing more frustrating than sleeping in a room that looks like Filene’s Basement!
And finally, if you live in a resort area or a big city where your guests will be tourists then might I suggest that you frame up a few postcards of local landmarks and use them as your artwork in the bedroom? My personal rule-of-thumb when framing is to buy a frame that is as least twice as big as the item you are framing, allowing a more substantial look when hanging on the wall. What could be nicer for your guests than waking up in Florida with the sun streaming through the curtains and a framed photograph of the local beach on the opposite wall beckoning them to rise, shine and follow the aroma of freshly brewed coffee that you will have undoubtedly prepared in advance?
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