Be My Guest

Guest rooms inevitably fall to one of two destinies: They become a receptacle for leftover furniture and linens - old stuff that's lost it's sparkle but been kept around because there's a guest room to outfit. Or, so much effort and care has gone in to preparing a comfortable space it becomes the nicest room in the whole house. I definitely felt the latter after setting up my guest room for the arrival of my parents. 

My mother loves to decorate and is very good at it - she absolutely has the most thoughtful and deliberate living space of anyone I know. She'll compare tile and paint samples for weeks (months, even!) before deciding they're all crap and the entire concept gets redesigned. Yeah - she's nuts. But she's also very talented and I wanted to impress her.

Notwithstanding, she's also very frugal (where do you think I learned it?!) so being able to create a beautiful space without breaking the bank became part of the fun. Nearly everything in this room came from a thrift store, a garage sale, or some other bargain bearing turned stone. 

Perhaps my proudest piece is the dresser I stripped, refinished, and painted with this chevron pattern. The transformation was pretty incredible - you can see the process HERE.

I knew it was a good candidate for a makeover - the the lines of the dresser are simple, it's made of solid wood and a wood veneer, and it's well constructed. I stalked it at a thrift store for weeks before deciding to make it a project. They were asking $60, I talked them down to $40, and then spent (more than) a few hours sanding, staining, and painting it to its current state. Beautiful AND one of a kind!

The artwork in the frames are clippings from magazine editorials I liked and saved. I found the matting and frames ($24 for all three) and vintage lamp ($7) at a thrift store - the glass tchotchke ($2) came from an estate sale - the little white dishes are from Ikea.

Ikea Euro Pillows

The side table ($15) came from a garage sale down the street from the most charming woman, who like me, has about a hundred projects going at any given moment and displays some of them on her facebook page at This vintage cart was meant to be a project for her, but wound up going home with me and is now one my mine! 

The art books ($3 a piece!) came from yet another garage sale. Originally I bought them hoping to find and harvest pictures to use as wall art, but after paging through I found them too beautiful to cut up and left them alone.

The hanging mirror ($12) is an Ikea piece I found at a thrift store. The salt lamp was a gift from my old boss - the coordinating crystal tea light holders ($4) from TJ Maxx.

Enamel Rolling Cart
Enamel Rolling Cart
Garage Sale Art Book

Although I never found a head board before my guests arrived, I did stumble upon these amazing steel frame chairs that I positioned like a footboard. Three fit perfectly right at the end of the bed and give guests a much needed place to put suitcases, layout clothing, and put on shoes. They can be easily moved around and used however needed. I found these gems at my local Habitat for Humanity 'ReStore' retail location - $60 for four.

Modern Steel Frame Chairs
Modern Steel Frame Chairs
Modern Steel Frame Chairs

Although I tend to obsess about how things look, the process of preparing for my guests reminded me to first consider how thing function. Comfort shouldn't take a back-seat to beauty - good design has everything to do with how a space functions. I want this guest room to be beautiful, but my ultimate concern is that it be ergonomic and comfortable for my guests. Mission accomplished me thinks.

Come stay with me, friends!

Making sure guests never have to ask for anything is an important part of making a comfortable experience for them. Consider these basic items when preparing your guest room.

  • Extra pillows: Having an array of pillows (down vs. synthetic) let's your guests choose and ultimately get a good night sleep.
  • Extra blankets: One lightweight, one heavy
  • Bedside lamp
  • Ambient lighting
  • Alarm clock
  • iPod dock
  • Books: To sooth sleeplessness
  • Paper and Pen
  • A tidy closet with extra hangers
  • Chairs
  • Suitcase rack
  • Ample towels: One for body, one for hair, lots of washcloths, & hand towels
  • Shower items: People often travel with their preferred products, but I like to make extras available in case they're forgotten. (shampoo, conditioner, body wash, fresh loofahs, razors, shaving cream, toothbrushes & toothpaste, sunscreen, first aide, cotton balls, Q-tips)
  • Bottled water
  • Preferred foods and beverages