The summer entertaining season isn’t over just yet, and that means it’s not too late to revamp your guest room for company forgoing a hotel to vacation at your place. Cathy Hobbs, interior designer, real estate stager and finalist on season 6 of HGTV’s "Design Star," shares her tips for setting up a guest room that might just turn your visitors into permanent roommates — whether you like it or not.
Say “hi” with a basket of goodies
Greeting guests with a welcome basket is a cute idea that will help family and friends feel comfortable from the moment they arrive.
“When you have an out-of-town guest you want them to feel at home, and comfortable for the time that they’re there,” say Hobbs. “ Nothing quite says it better than a beautiful welcome basket.”
It doesn’t matter whether you splurge on extravagant items or go for cute budget friendly finds like candy, the key is that it’s personal. “Maybe that person likes bird watching and you have a little pair of binoculars,” says Hobbs.
Another fun idea: create a local-themed basket to help guests familiarize themselves with the area with maps, brochures of area attractions and local products like wines, syrups or jams.
Layer up for a plush bed
Hobbs loves to shop for affordable crowd-pleasing linens at IKEA, CB2, and West Elm. The key to a luxurious bed is about much more than choosing an attractive duvet cover, though. Hobbs’s method of layering, which she calls “dressing a bed,” makes all the difference.
She begins with a featherbed on top of the mattress; followed by the mattress cover, high-end cotton base sheeting, and top sheeting. Then she tops it with a duvet inside a cotton insert, pillow shams, and decorative throw pillows. “I think it creates a really sumptuous bed when you layer your bedding,” she explains.
Keep your colors low-key
You might be obsessed with burnt orange and magenta, but considering you won’t be the one sleeping in your guest room, it’s probably best to exercise some restraint with the color palette.
“When you talk about a guest room, it should be inclusive. There are going to be a number of different types of people staying there. It shouldn’t really be a personalized room,” Hobbs explains.
Instead, she says, and pick a neutral base like white, tan, chocolate brown, or charcoal grey, which is Hobbs’s personal favorite.
“Charcoal is the new white and the new black. It’s really this fabulous base color that can be used in so many different applications…I find that it’s a very versatile color that adds warmth to a space and also blends well with so many other colors.”
Unless you have guests in your home on a regular basis, Hobbs actually discourages having a guest room that serves no other purpose.
“I find that for most people, the guest room tends to be a discarded room, or a room that’s a shrine to someone who shows up once a year. The room literally sits empty and dark. I encourage people to use their whole home and have that guest room have purpose. That purpose can be a home office, a meditation room, a spare place for kids to play,” she explains.
While the room can have any function, it should not be used for storage. It should be “a purposeful functioning room within your home that is pulling double duty as a room that we use that we also transition for guests,” she says.