For many people, guests are part of the holiday season. Whether they are staying for a single night, known these days as a “dine and sleep”, or an extended visit, making your guests feel welcome and comfortable is key to being a good host or hostess.  

For ideas that will make the most of your guest room, Designer Caroline Robert, owner of home furnishings store and interior design source Perch, suggests thinking of the pleasures and luxuries encountered when traveling in style, both in terms of amenities and character.

“Think about the space like a high-end boutique hotel,” she said, noting that too often guest rooms get the second-tier leftovers from the rest of the house.

To begin with, she advises the necessary furnishings: a comfortable bed, a place to sit, good lighting for tasks and reading, a place for luggage, storage for clothing, a large or full-length mirror if the bedroom doesn’t include its own bathroom, and window coverings with blackout lining that is conducive to quality sleep. Robert says putting a unique spin on those items is what takes a guest room from ordinary to distinctive. 

  1. Hang a holiday wreath above the bed in your guest room.
  2. If hosting family or close friends, personalize a length of garland by decorating it with old photos that show your histories together or bring fairy lights, ornaments, votives or a table-top bottle brush tree (the latter sold at Perch) into the space.
  3. A seasonal candle such as a pine scent pampers guests with a subtle nod to the season.

“Think outside the box,” said Robert, who retrofitted an English phone booth found at an estate sale to be used as a closet in a guest room. Instead of a bench or luggage rack, she suggests using an antique trunk as a place for a suitcase. For rugs, she prefers wool because it’s easy to clean, soft underfoot, and especially cozy in the winter months, when the holidays bring guests. Robert also likes to incorporate a sense of place with a vintage map of New Orleans, books about the city or artwork by locals. 

A place to relax – other than a bed – is important for guests. Two of Robert’s favorite ways to fulfill that need is with a comfy chair paired with a floor lamp or side table and lamp, or with a pretty secretary, which serves as both a functional place to work or use a computer as well as a place for a cup of coffee. 

Useful accessories and little extras elevate guest accommodations even more. Robert likes quality bed linens and fluffy towels and recommends giving them a special signature — literally — with monogramming. An antique clock lends a traditional touch and a basket of mini toiletries, a dish or tray for holding jewelry, a phone charger, a plush robe and slippers are indulgences even the most spoiled of travelers will appreciate. A carafe of water on a bedside table is an elegant alternative to plastic bottles and a WiFi password printed on good cardstock is a bespoke, considerate detail sure to make an impression.

“You can make guests comfortable with textures, a thick and comfy wool blanket or quilt and soft things like velvet drapery,” she said. “And you can also add sensory comforts with candles, scented linen wash and dryer sheets that make it nice and clean and fresh.”

About the Designer

Designer Caroline Robert opened Perch in 2007 with the concept of combining contemporary designs with antique and funky, vintage items. Perch has its own in-house workroom and Robert keeps a supply of vintage fabrics for bringing a one-of-a-kind edge to client projects.