Written by Sally I. Barcelo 
Photograph by Jason Stephens

Hosting guests for more than dinner and a cocktail can be stressful but it doesn’t have to be. Like most things in life, preparation and intentionality are key.

One of the perks of owning a home is the chance to host out-of-town guests comfortably. The holidays are right around the corner, and there’s a good chance you’ll be hosting people in your home for cocktails, dinner, and overnight stays. 

As we prepare for a season of hosting and celebration we must not forget that this past year our guest rooms were transformed into home offices or classrooms instead of sleeping quarters. This winter, travelers are ready to reconnect with family and friends making it the perfect excuse to focus on reimagining your guest bedroom and providing a beautiful and comfortable experience for your loved ones.

When it comes to designing a beautiful bedroom for guests, comfort is key, creating a cozy and relaxing stay where visitors never want to leave – is the ultimate goal. A guest room should be a welcoming space that combines the amenities of a hotel with the intimacy and charm of a home.

Whether you’re working with a spare bedroom or a corner of your living area, we’ve got some guest room ideas that will make your guests feel like they’re staying in a boutique hotel — without you having to go into full-on housekeeper mode or feeling like you’re their vacation rental host.

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To create an inviting design, consider these essentials: Prepare a luxurious bed

The bed is the most important thing in the room because we all want a good night’s rest. A firm mattress is generally best for most people’s back. In addition, offer a variety of pillow options from feathered to cotton, as everyone has a preference, and giving your guests the option to choose will elevate the experience in a thoughtful way. Choose the linens carefully; again, options are key so supply extra blankets for optimal comfort.

Add a rug

Rugs in bedrooms are almost necessary unless the room is carpeted. Aside from completing the design of the room, the rug adds optimal comfort for your guests when they first wake up and their feet hit the floor.


Set the bedside table 

Part of the charm of a great guest room is thinking ahead and being intentional about your guests needs. Provide a wireless phone charger, because we’ve all forgotten to pack one a time or two. Provide a wifi password, before they even ask. They might have multiple devices they need to connect so writing it down for them is best. If you’re feeling extra fancy, leave a carafe filled with filtered water and a drinking glass or two. And, for a decorative touch, have a vase with fresh or dried flowers. My local favorites are from Uli & Co. or Bloom Shakalaka.


To create a cozy and relaxed vibe, proper lighting is key. Again, it’s about options and a personalized experience. Lamps on nightstands are a must. No one wants to wake up and walk around in the dark to find a light switch. If you have the option, ceiling lights on a dimmer switch, and a night light can be a nice touch.

The Windows 

From decorative curtains to roller blinds, an option to blackout the room is important. Some people need a completely dark room to get a good night’s sleep. For a more simple solution, provide your guests with an eye mask.

Seating Area

If the bedroom has the space, a reading chair is a good choice. Whether it’s taking a call, putting on shoes, or reading the recent issue of The Lakelander, a seating option is a nice touch.

Intentional Details

Think of your guest’s specific taste in lifestyle, scents, and music. Add a soy-based candle to the room or a diffuser. Including local brands such as Rafa Natural’s selection of fragrances will make it much more intentional and fun!

Leave a note that will let your guests know all that they can use in the room without hesitation. 

Rafa Natural: High Quality Natural Skincare and Products

The Must-Haves

Include the must-haves your visitors may have forgotten, such as bath products, toothbrush and toothpaste, a first aid kit, pain relievers, Tums, chap-stick, and feminine hygiene products. It is difficult to travel with an umbrella, keep a few extra in stock – after all it’s Florida.

Last but not least, show your guests around. Give them a tour of the house but especially the kitchen. Keep a bowl of fresh fruit stocked, enough snacks, and show them how to use your coffee station and cocktail bar. People feel most at-home when they have access to taking care of things for themselves.

Hosting guests is just as attainable when you don’t have a spare bedroom and you need your living room to transition into guest quarters. Get creative, the same rules apply in a shared space, remember it’s all in the details. 

Guest Room Cheat Sheet


Fresh sheets, towels, robe, and slippers 

A cozy throw and extra linens

A luggage rack and a place to unpack (closet space or dresser)


Easy access to the 

WiFi network 

Wireless phone chargers

Bedside storage, a nightstand or side table


A signature scent to enjoy during their stay 

Toiletries and amenities

Fresh flowers or dried flowers