interior decorating tips

Creating the Ultimate Guest Room: How to Make Guests Feel Right at Home

By Tara Mastroeni 

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The ultimate guest room helps your guests feel incredibly welcome. Image: LKW Design Associates

Figuring out how to design your own interiors is one thing, but for some reason, when it comes to putting together a guest room, decisions feel extra important. Every host wants their guests to feel comfortable. In addition, there’s a little bit of pride at stake. The ability to offer particularly plush guest quarters is a status symbol.

That said, the question becomes: What does it take to create a great guest room? Which features will make your guests feel most at home and leave them talking about how much they’ve enjoyed their stay? We’re here to help figure that out.

We’ve put together a guide to creating the ultimate guest room. Read on to learn our best tips and tricks for how to set up your extra bedroom. Keep them in mind as you work on your own space and we guarantee your guests will think they’ve checked into a five-star hotel.

Leave some extra blankets in case someone gets cold. Image: Weiss Architecture Inc.

The ultimate guest room needs temperature options

Everybody has their own sleeping preferences. Some people need their bedroom to be ice cold and others would rather burrow under a mountain of blankets. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get an adequate night’s rest when we’re unable to create those conditions.

Most guests would rather spend their night tossing and turning than disturb their hosts by asking to adjust the temperature. That’s why it’s so important for guests to be able to make their room hotter or colder at will.

To do this, focus on the type of bedding you provide. Choose sheets and blankets that create light, breathable layers. Then, keep a couple heavier covers on hand so guests can access them. Aside from textiles, be sure to include a fan for those who like the room to stay cool.

Leave a basket of fresh towels for your guests to use during their stay. Image: Dreamy Whites

Include fresh towels

At some point in the visit, your guests will need to freshen up. Rather than make visitors ask for clean towels or carefully raid your linen closet, purchase a separate set of towels and leave them in the room when guests arrive.

There are ways to make your linens work double duty. In addition to their intended purpose, you can incorporate them as part of your overall design. Be sure to choose a set of towels similar in color or pattern to the other accents in the room.

Make sure there’s plenty of lighting on the bedside table. Image: Accouter Group

Add bedside lighting

We’ve all experienced a moment where we’ve tripped over friends’ furniture in the dark. Instead of making your guests navigate unfamiliar surroundings after turning the light out, include bedside lighting in your guest room.

As for how to pick the right fixture, consider both style and size. Obviously, you want to choose an option that matches your desired aesthetic, but it’s also important to make sure that the lighting is proportionate to the area. Abbe Fenimore, the designer at Studio Ten 25, says this interior design mistake is all too common. She recommends taking measurements of the area where your lamps will be before heading to the store.

If you have a little extra money to spare, you could also consider purchasing lighting that comes with extra features. Think about choosing dimmable lamps so guests can choose their own lighting level. Lamps with outlets in their base are also a good choice because they allow guests to easily charge their electronics.

Provide entertainment in case your guests wake up early. Image: Bee’s Knees Design LLC

Provide some entertainment

This is one of those features that will set your guest room apart from others. It’s difficult to get a good night’s sleep in unfamiliar territory. Most of us are prone to either lying awake at night or waking up at the crack of dawn. Rather than having your friends twiddle their thumbs while they wait for an acceptable time to get out of bed, the ultimate guest room will provide guests with entertainment.

Instead of automatically adding a TV, consider choosing forms of entertainment that can add to the décor. For example, something like the coffee table books in the picture above. Magazines are another good option.

Use these tips to create a guest room your visitors will love. Image: Blue Ocean Design

Putting together a guest room comes with a little extra pressure, doesn’t it? In addition to wanting your guests to feel welcome, there’s something satisfying about knowing you’ve created an impressive setup. If you’re looking for ways to wow your friends and family, check out our guide to creating the ultimate guest room. Follow our suggestions and we’re sure that extra bedroom will be so nice your visitors won’t want to leave.

Which features do you think are important in a guest room? What tips do you have for making guests feel at home? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

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What Is Transitional Style? The Type of Decor Everyone Can Agree On

By Margaret Heidenry

With so many decor styles out there, it can be hard to stick with just one. Modern, rustic, shabby chic, traditional—deciding on the vibe you want for your home can be downright confusing. But here’s the great thing about interior design: Many of these styles overlap, and can actually work really well together. The design world uses the term “transitional style” to describe the type of design that melds two different aesthetics—modern and traditional—into the same room. So how can you bring transitional style into your home? Our experts break it down for you.

Defining transitional style

The key to achieving this style is balance. Transitional style welcomes disparate styles—the traditional and the modern, the feminine and the masculine—in the same space. It’s a classic, clean look that’s reinvigorated by mixing in contemporary furniture, rugs, and accessories, according to Ellie Thompson, CEO of Venyou, an online platform that lists private homes and estates for events. An angular, modern dining table surrounded by traditional upholstered chairs is a typical example of transitional design. A rule of thumb: You want the decor to be inviting and accessible, not veering too far into one trend or another.

Photo by Ashley Campbell Interior Design—A modern marble table is paired with more relaxed, upholstered dining chairs.

As with any design style, there are unofficial rules to get the look. You can best achieve the mix-and-match transitional style in your home by choosing pieces that follow these guidelines.

Element No. 1: Beige is your friend

Neutral tones are the hallmark of transitional style, according to Thompson. Go for an unsaturated palette of white, cream, beige, tan, gray, or light brown. A simple neutral backdrop for the walls, flooring, cabinets, and large furniture will make the room feel timeless.

Element No. 2: Mix textures

Transitional style embraces different materials that have the same color but that give texture to the space. “Whether it be stone, wood, or leather, transitional style isn’t married to one type of material,” says Thompson. “Using a couple different textures will help you achieve an elegant but modern look.” She suggests incorporating such textures as chrome, gold, wood, glass, fabric, and faux fur into every room of your home.

Element No. 3: Use antiques strategically

Balance out an otherwise contemporary room with an antique statement piece. This will give the room depth and show off your curating skills. “Nothing makes a room feel more modern,” says interior designer Mark Cutler of Los Angeles. “The more sleek the space, the more rustic and worn the antique should be,” he says.

Element No. 4: Use bold accents sparingly

“Don’t overdo it!” says Thompson. Keep it simple by picking a couple loud pieces that accent the room but don’t clutter it. Patterns are used sparingly and tend toward geometrics. “And window treatments will be simple, with sleek lines instead of fussy or complex designs,” says Griffin.

Photo by Martha O’Hara Interiors—Yellow accessories in a transitional living room add interest but don’t overpower.

Element No. 5: A contemporary rug is a must

Transitional furnishings will almost always be partnered with a contemporary rug—think solid, geometric or animal prints—rather than a traditional rug that’s floral, paisley, or oriental, says Griffin. “This is a simple way to touch on transitional style that doesn’t require a complete redesign of your home.”

Element No. 6: Choose modern art that makes a statement

“Keep it big and bold for a greater impact, instead of hanging lots of smaller pieces,” says Griffin. Art should have a contemporary look, in terms of style and colors—abstract works, graphic prints, and photography are best.

Element No. 7: Rely on classic lines

Stick to furniture, tables, and beds that have a sophisticated shape with simple, sophisticated lines, as opposed to pieces that are rounded and ornate. Transitional furniture will be comfortable but boast straighter lines.

“Square off everything,” says Tracy Kay Griffin, lead designer at Express Homebuyers. That means that in choosing a traditional element, you avoid curves and ornate detail, and make sure it has straighter lines, to minimize detail. “For example, doorknobs could be straight levers as opposed to round knobs, and sinks may have a rectangular shape.”

The transitional aesthetic requires the seamless marrying of several traditional pieces with true contemporary pieces. Essentially, this means that your home should be a sophisticated yet livable home, full of beloved items and sensible furniture that can last a lifetime.

Addison’s Wonderland blogger Brittany Hayes gives home tour — See Inside!

Room Doctor: 10 Things to Try When Your Room Needs a Little Something

Get a fresh perspective with these tips for improving your room’s design and decor

Room feeling cramped, artwork a mess, color scheme missing the mark? Whatever ails your room, sometimes all that’s needed is a careful tweak or two to bring things back into balance. Here are seven common dilemmas and 10 remedies to put things right.

 

Dilemma: Can’t find the right furniture arrangement.

Try this: Remove the area rugs. Because they anchor the room, big area rugs can blind you to new room layout possibilities. If you just can’t seem to get your furniture arrangement right, roll up all of the area rugs before trying anything else. Look at your space from a new angle — from an upper floor, atop a ladder or low to the ground. The shift in perspective can help spark a new idea.

 

Dilemma: Wall decor feels jumbled or unfocused.

Try this: Focus on one big piece of art. Lots of small frames on the wall can feel visually cluttered, especially if they are hung at different heights. Take everything down and put back just your favorite large-ish piece. One big piece gives the eye a clear place to focus on and leaves plenty of white space to keep the room from feeling jumbled or messy.

Or this: Add a crisp grid. If you don’t have a large piece of art, or you want to try something different, work a number of small pieces into a grid arrangement. It’s important to use identically sized frames for this and to measure carefully before hanging! A theme for the art works well for this idea — collect photos in shades of blue, a collection of photos taken in the same place, all black and whites, and so on.

 

Dilemma: Room feels cramped.

Try this: Add a giant mirror. Your space may be small, but it doesn’t need to feel that way! The biggest impact design move you can make in a small space is to add a really big mirror. Hang it or just lean it against the wall, and your space will immediately feel much larger.

 

Or this: Swap a solid piece for something clear. A bunch of solid wood and upholstered furniture can quickly make a small room feel overfilled. Reduce visual clutter by replacing a heavy piece with one made from clear acrylic or glass. This works especially well for coffee tables and consoles, but you could also do a clear desk, a glass-top dining table or acrylic chairs.

 

Dilemma: Room feels too stiff and formal.

Try this: Swap out a hard piece for one that’s upholstered. If what you want is a room that makes you go “ah,” you need some squashy pieces you can sink into. Trade out a wood coffee table for a plush ottoman, toss a few big cushions on the floor or swap a stiff-backed wooden chair for a comfy upholstered version.

Or this: Add something worn and aged. A chunky wood coffee table (with a few dings and dents) is an open invitation to kick back and put your feet up. Choose a few pieces that show their age — a vintage trunk, a hand-me-down table, a chipped painted chest — and your guests will surely feel at ease.

 

Dilemma: Room feels too casual and unfinished.

Try this: Add something shiny and metallic. If a polished vibe is what you’re after, choose accent pieces in the shiny metallic hue of your choice — silver, gold, brass, copper, bronze. A few pieces (for instance, a lamp, vase and table) are enough to make an impact.

 

Dilemma: Room feels too small.

Try this: Hang curtains high. This is one of those things that doesn’t seem like it would make a big difference, but it really does. Hanging curtains nearly at the ceiling makes ceilings look impossibly high, and by extension makes the whole room look bigger.

 

Dilemma: Color scheme isn’t working.

Try this: Let a photo be your guide. Being in a room (especially one you are in a lot) can make it hard to put your finger on what’s working and what’s not. Take a photo of your space and examine that to get a more objective view. Name all of the colors you can see in the photo — if there are more than three, that could be a sign there’s too much going on in your color scheme. Decide which hue you’re not as fond of and start removing items with that color from your space.

 

Tell us: What is your biggest room dilemma?

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