Special Guests

from Decorating
Give your guest bedroom a makeover with these bedroom decorating ideas. See how to make your guests feel at home no matter what your budget or space allows.

Try these three ways to make your guests feel at home without sacrificing style. A pair of twin beds serves as the starting point for comfort and versatility created in each of these three guest bedrooms. Choose your approach, whether it's privacy, style, or comfort, and get started.

Gracious guests never want to intrude, and with a self-contained retreat of their own, they never have to. With everything they need — refreshments, bathroom, media center, and extra seating — in one place, visitors can be assured of a private space. Designer Barbara Jordan took that concept to heart when she created this eclectic guest room in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“I wanted it to feel like an efficiency apartment,” she says. “It’s a guest suite over the garage, and the clients needed it to be a space for visitors to have to themselves because they entertain a lot.”
The most innovative feature of this guest room is the clever coffee station hidden in a built-in partition that also masks a television and storage drawers.

The station features a marble-top cabinet with snack storage inside and coffee machine and accessories on top. Taupe-painted shelves above subtly display decorative accessories.

Following a color palette of soft pastels and neutrals with a touch of coral red, Jordan opted for a slightly feminine look to give the room a sanctuary feel.

“I think bedrooms in general should be feminine,” she says. “I’m not talking about ruffles; I mean tailored feminine. It’s the one place you’re allowed to be in a soft environment. Even men don’t feel out of place in a feminine bedroom.”

Rather than shop for all new pieces to fill this separate guest suite, Jordan reused pieces from the clients’ prior home. For example, the overstuffed armchairs that offer plush seating in the reading nook came from the family room, and the oversize nightstand between the beds once functioned as a drop-leaf dining table.

A refined, well-planned decorative scheme makes visitors feel that a guest room has been tailor-made for them.

“I wanted the feeling that this room had developed over years,” designer Linda Knight Carr says of the blue-and-cream room in Greensboro, North Carolina. “I wanted an old-fashioned, collected look rather than the perfect suite of matching furniture.” Carr says she chose antiques because “they feel like they’ve been there awhile; they have a timeless look.”

A stately antique daybed with matching black tole headboard and footboard was split to create the twin beds — the original headboard is on one bed, and the footboard is reinterpreted as a headboard on the other.

“The gorgeous twin beds were my inspiration,” Carr says. “They defined the space.”

A piece of blue-and-cream fabric became the starting point for the room’s color scheme, which Carr calls deceptively practical for the clients’ visiting grandchildren. Warm whites mask fingerprints better than true white, and nearly all the fabrics are washable.

“Everything in the room is cotton and durable for kids except the silk bedcovers, and those are easy to roll up and put away when the kids come over,” Carr says. “The design goal here was to create a bedroom with twin beds elegant enough for a married couple, comfortable enough for children, and stunning enough to be the primary bedroom seen at the top of the staircase.”

Comfortable accommodations put guests at ease. For Linda Knight Carr, who designed this Greensboro, North Carolina, guest room, that meant casual cottage style.

“We want guests to feel really relaxed,” Carr says, so nothing is “too precious or delicate. The influence of the wood [furniture] is critical in this space as it creates the personality and sense of ‘old shoe’ comfort desired to make guests feel cozy.”

While the guest room’s furnishings are French and English imports, they have simpler lines “with a country flair — not formal,” Carr says.
Bedcovers and window treatments follow suit in a simply patterned monochromatic color palette, with splashes of red for interest. “The fabrics are cottons and linens for a comfy, casual feel,” the designer explains. These natural fabrics also are washable, a practical feature for guests of all ages.

The monochromatic color shceme continues throughout the room using cream tones accented with soft yellow and persimmon hues pulled from an armoire the homeowners already had. Carr placed the armoire, formerly unnoticed in the living room, in the guest room so it could be a colorful — and dramatic — focal point.

Artwork was another key element of the room’s design. Rather than a traditional watercolor, Carr made use of the homeowners’ distinctive antique oil paintings depicting scenes of old-world Europe. The unexpected artworks take up relatively little room in the small space, yet pack a terrific decorating punch. Plus, the paintings reflect the homeowners’ personalities. “They love to collect art,” Carr says.

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