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20 Tips for Designing a Guest Room Your Guests Will Never Want to Leave


You either loved sleepovers as a child or you didn’t. If you loved them, you probably can recall the sweet mom of one of your childhood friends who went above and beyond to make you feel like you never wanted to leave. 

Replicating this feeling for your adult house guests can be difficult. What we think they’ll notice versus what they will actually notice usually differs. My husband mocks me for the extreme dusting before guests arrive, but WHAT IF they notice how dusty the baseboards and window sills are! Meanwhile, I have two large shedding dogs, so it really is somewhat futile but alas the baseboards must be spotless.

 
Meanwhile, your guest is actually more likely to notice that we didn’t have an outlet in a convenient enough place next to their bed to charge their phone overnight or that it was bright AF in the morning and the sun woke them up at 5:00 am. 

I feel I've nearly nailed down the realm of what guest could possibly need during their stay with you. You'll sometimes see this topic referred to as "everything you need to replicate a luxury hotel experience", but this is not that.


We're going for a quaint bed & breakfast here. So whether your guests crash on a room in the basement, an air mattress, or some dedicated room, these tips will apply. Just think about how you want your guests to feel in your home and make conscious design decisions that evoke that feeling. 

Your north star here will be - how can I leave my guests asking for nothing?

So let's get into our favorite tips and products for hosting. Oh, and this pretty neurotic but helpful checklist.



Guest Prep Checklist
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1. Provide a warm & personalized welcome. We love a handwritten note. What sweeter way to greet your guests than with a simple “I’m so glad you’re here and here’s everything you need to know -”

Things to include on your welcome note:
  • wifi password 

  • instructions for the temperamental TV or thermostat

  • the Door Code or Security System Info

  • The tentative itinerary for the weekend (so they can menu stalk ahead of time!!) 

  • where they can find snacks and refreshments



Even better - leave out some snacks, drinks, premade salads or wraps. What is the most stressful part of visiting a friend? For me, food anxiety. Aka not knowing when or what your next meal will be. Leaving out substantial snacks that can hold them over or making sure the plan for the next 24-48 hours is known can help your guests feel more comfortable. 


2. The most obvious - a comfy bed. Y’all - don’t sleep on the comfy bed!!! 😉 You can get good quality stuff without spending a fortune on a bed that’s rarely used. Spruce up your existing mattress with a Mattress Topper. Anything in the 3”+ memory foam category is ~ luxury ~.




3. A variety of pillows. Not everyone likes the same pillows, so try to include a selection of down-filled, memory foam, and medium-firm options. Shop our favorites below!


4. Layer your bedding seasonally. Make sure your guest bed is dressed appropriately for the weather. Consider linens in the summer and flannels in the winter. Layer on appropriate weights and materials and be sure to include an extra throw blanket, just in case!


5. Accidents happen - leave out extra sheets. Most overnight guests don’t love the thought of you doing their laundry for them. If they want to change the sheets before they leave or need a swap mid-stay, spare them the awkwardness of asking and just go ahead and leave an extra set in their room. 


6. Good black out curtains or shades. Make sure your guests can sleep in if they want by ensuring, after all they’re on vacation at the Porter B&B! Also, no one wants to change in front of their friend’s neighbors…




7. Sleeping aids & entertainment. Everyone sleeps differently, I personally require a TV with sleep timer that allows me to watch Forensic Files for an hour before shutting off (I know, we don’t need to get into it.) Some folks love sound machines, an eye mask, or books. Sleeping in a new place can be hard (think back to those sleepover days!!), so some familiarity or melatonin gummies might be a welcome sight. 

P.S. I had a friend once leave out books they thought I would enjoy and it was the absolute sweetest. 10/10 recommend. 


8. A bedside water carafe. No guest wants to trampse through someone’s home at night to go grab water or a snack. Leave a water carafe or bottle on their nightstand to save them the pleasantries of a midnight run-in. 




9. A space heater / fan combo: Wouldn’t it be nice if all homes were built with separate HVAC zones by room? Providing your guests a little bit more control of their room’s temperature by leaving out a space heater / fan combo is A++ stuff. 


10. A plunger & other unpleasantries. Okay so while unpleasant, this may be like the #1 item to provide your guests (how can I leave my guests asking for nothing, right). Would there be anything worse than having to ask for a plunger? Just go ahead and leave out ample feminine products and extra toilet paper while you’re at it. 




11. Plush (non-white) towels. Again, maybe unpleasant, but this isn’t a luxury hotel and a cleaning service isn’t going to be whisking away your towels every morning. Give your guests a bit more privacy by not opting for most unforgiving white towels. 


12. “Good” shower supplies. As Ina would say, you want “good” shampoo, conditioner, and body wash for your guests. “Store-bought is fine” but there are alternatives. The thought of splurging on a $20 bottle of body wash for myself that will be gone in a month is ludacris, but for some reason when it sits in my guest bathroom shower for a year - it seems like a steal! How special would your guests feel to get to try out something a bit more luxurious? 




13. Spare toiletries. A good “guest basket” as my mother would call it, can be such a sweet and convenient touch. If it seems too extra for a "guest basket" just keeping things accessible in a bathroom or nightstand is helpful. It's nice to leave out anything that's a necessity so they don't have to ask you if they've forgotten it - aerosol deodorant (ideal for sharing), toothbrushes, toothpaste, makeup remover, sunscreen, or a comb (can be more easily disinfected). I also like to throw in little luxuries like shower steamers, gel under-eye patches, and my Sephora skincare samples.




14. Keep them connected. Make sure your guests can recharge from the comfort of their bed with ample chargers and/or extension cords. If your guest room is a ways from your router, you may also want to consider a wifi extender and impress your guests with your super fast internet speeds. Is it sad I would be impressed by this?




15. Add a desk. In the era of modern teleworking, it’s very likely your guests may need to take a quick meeting or respond to an email. Give them a space to touch down in the privacy of their room with a small desk and outfit it with some of the basics (pen, paper, sticky notes, etc.) If space doesn’t allow, I love to use a desk as a nightstand. 




16. A steamer or iron. Try to think through bulkier items you tend to leave behind on a trip - steamers, irons, hair dryers, etc. 


17. Add a luggage stand or bench. Speaking of a place to touch down, make sure you leave ample room to spread out and unpack. Clear out a closet or drawer space or provide them with a luggage rack. We love how thoughtful a luggage rack feels!



18. A full-length mirror. I have stayed in too many Airbnb’s lacking a full-length mirror - spare your guest having to take a video of themselves on their phone or running from room to room. 


19. Linen spray or candles. Just some more little luxuries that allow your guests to explore new products or scents can be so fun. Better yet, set up a wifi enable diffuser (like a PURA) in their room and run it before their arrival and sporadically on a low intensity. 




20. Custom matchbooks. Likely the most unnecessary of things to offer your guests, but perhaps the most fun are personalized matchbooks. Just as you’d collect at a favorite restaurant, let your guests collect a custom matchbook as a memento of their time visiting your home. 




We’d love to hear what else you offer to your overnight guests in the comments!

Happy hosting, 




Halie Porter
Founder of Swann Street Interiors

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