How to make a beautiful guest room | Catch My Job


Above: Antique headboards and toile de Jouy bed linen lend old continental charm to guest rooms at Casa degli Atellani in Milan.

When overnight guests arrive at your home, what do they find when they go to their room? It can feel as spectacular as a bedroom in a luxury villa, or as unpleasant as a tired roadside motel. The difference comes down to design choices, which is why so many designers strive to push the decorative envelope in these spaces, even if many of us struggle to mentally move beyond the master suite. “Since neither you nor your guests will be staying too long in this room, it can be bolder than the rest of the house,” says Nicolò Castellini Baldissera, an interior designer in Milan. “I love pattern, fabric, wash, stripes and color, color, color. It should be more personal than a hotel room.”

“It should be more personal than a hotel room”

Heide Hendricks of architecture and interior design firm Hendricks Churchill sees the guest room as the perfect place to make a statement that both reflects your sense of style and shows how much you care about your visitors. “You can’t approach guest rooms by looking for the highest common denominator or trying to appeal to everyone,” he says. “Instead, think about what you want, but maybe nervous about using in the main living space.”

twin bed with golden cover, rectangular pattern, heavily patterned wallpaper, dancing horse and carriage above the headboard

A stretched-out antique blanket takes center stage in the guest room of Tatyana Miron Ahlers’ New York loft.

Stephen Kent Johnson

When designing homes for clients, Hendricks usually likes to tackle guest rooms last. So they can become a repository of dazzling fabrics, wallpapers and paint colors that her clients fall in love with, but the worry can be too much for everyday life – such as the floral nasturtium pattern she recently used as both wallpaper and drapery. the guest room of a house in Connecticut.

Likewise, the guest room is an ideal place to use cherished furniture that might not match the larger design of a home, such as family heirlooms, pieces from previous homes, and flea market finds you just couldn’t pass up. New York designer Rodney Lawrence recently used a client’s leftover furniture, including a large four-poster bed and terrazzo-topped tables, to anchor a dramatic guest room covered in metallic-sheen wallpaper.

“You want your guests to be in an environment where they are as pleasant as the rest of the home”

Just be sure to use such pieces wisely, warns Lawrence: The room shouldn’t be a dumping ground for college futons and bean bag chairs. “You want your guests to have an environment that’s as pleasant as the rest of the home,” she says, “not one that feels like an afterthought.”

white room with white sheets and a rustic navy blue and white cover at the foot of the bed with a bright blue headboard with embroidered stripes of large red and yellow flowers and a chambray blue and white linen rug on a wooden floor

White walls allow bold patterns and art to draw attention in Sig Bergamin’s Miami Beach guest room.

Richard Powers

If you’re worried that your house guests will think you’re subjecting them to a design experiment, don’t worry. “These unique details make guests feel as if they were not forgotten or just thrown into a spare room,” says Tatyana Miron Ahlers, co-founder of Pappas Miron Design. In the guest room of her Manhattan apartment, for example, Ahlers decorated the white ceiling with coral stripes and a vintage metal-and-glass lamp, along with a favorite antique tapestry depicting chariots and cherubs above the headboard.

Since you probably won’t have guests every night, or not always the same guests, it’s important to think about flexibility. Pappas Miron sometimes designs guest rooms with two separate beds under a long shared headboard. If you want to stay for a couple of nights, the beds can be pushed together to make a king. Other times, they create bedrooms that also function as offices or libraries.

Either way, “we always want a small desk if we can fit it in” for work, just like in a hotel room, says Ahlers design partner Alexandra Pappas. A lounge chair or bench provides a place to sit or drop luggage, while a wardrobe, cupboard or chest of drawers allows people to unpack while also increasing household storage space.

There is only one standard hotel service that Castellini Baldissera recommends leaving at home: the TV. “I’m definitely against them in guest rooms,” she says. “I don’t want to hear them when I go to sleep.”

How to be good guests

Embed it. “Make the room as spotless as possible,” because your host will see it, says Lawrence. “I definitely had some cringe-worthy moments when I was hosting guests
where I’m like, “Okay, I shouldn’t watch it.”

To synchronize. “Be mindful of family schedules,” says Hendricks. “You shouldn’t sleep until noon when the people you visit get up at 9:00 a.m.”

Loose. Whether you’re looking for a glass of water, trying to turn on a light, or figuring out how to shower, “try to solve every problem yourself before you bother the host,” says Castellini Baldissera.

Bring a memorable gift. Wine and some food is expected. “I always buy something more personal,” says Alexandra Pappas, “like a vintage cocktail napkin, olives and a skewer.”

November 2022 cover elle decor

This story originally appeared in the November 2022 issue of ELLE DECOR. SUBSCRIBE


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