How to Make Over Your Guest Room

Produced by Architectural Digest with The Home Depot.
Here, the mystery of the warm welcome decoded

Picture this: You just got word that a long-lost friend will be in town for a few nights, and in a fit of breathless excitement, you’ve already rolled out the red carpet to your home and dug up that bookmarked recipe for lemon-ricotta pancakes that you’ve been meaning to try for the last six years to no avail. Never mind that your guest room has become a repository for all the junk you’ve vowed three times over to get rid of—that is if you have more than a couch to offer—or that you don’t own even one matching set of towels or bed sheets. Sound like you? Don’t stress. Here are five simple ways to make visitors feel at home and turn your guest bedroom into a welcoming retreat no matter what your budget or commitment level. Just don’t blame us if your company decides to extend their stay.

Clean house.

You know that spare box you’ve been saving for the odd-shaped Christmas present, that 20-year-old suitcase that’s on its last legs, or those clothes you’ve been piling up for Good Will but haven’t had a chance to drop off? Get your stuff together and remove all of the clutter that makes your space look more like a junk room and less like a guest room.

Make the bed.

A comfortable mattress is key, but if a new one isn’t in the cards, think smaller: a fluffy featherbed might do the trick instead. It’s amazing what a set of new sheets can do for a guest room, especially if you choose a peppy pattern or bold hue. Top with an assortment of textural throw pillows, a downy duvet, and a cozy throw blanket at the foot of the bed.

Set the scene.

Sure, a bed worth sinking into is the main component, but guests will appreciate décor that makes their time feel like a stay in a boutique or luxury hotel. Experiment with a vibrant accent wall—removable wallpaper can transform a space with little commitment and effort—statement-making lamps that provide enough light for reading in bed, or artwork and drapery that plays off the bedding. Flowers and plants also add life, especially in a room that lacks natural light.

Enhance their stay.

Anticipate your guests’ needs before they do: Provide bath towels and bottles of water next to the bed, invest in a few nicer soaps or shampoos, stack books to read during down time, and keep a charger for electronic devices handy.

Make room.

Nothing is worse than feeling like you have to tip toe in your own space, so clear some room for your guests to make their own. Section off a place for their bags—a luggage rack is a plus—clear the closet of clutter so that they can hang delicates and, if space allows, include a bench or chair for comfort. Because anyone who’s ever tied her shoes while sitting on a bed knows it’s harder than it looks.