Always save, print, or otherwise keep any home decorating pictures that appeal to you regardless of whether you’re currently planning a decorating project and no matter what room the pictures represent.
Keeping a record of pictures that you like serves two purposes:
1. After reviewing the pictures that you’ve been saving over time, you’ll inevitably find a pattern among them. The pattern that you’ll find represents whatever it is that innately appeals to you! For example, maybe all of the pictures that you’ve saved have a similar color theme, or maybe they all show rooms with a lot of white molding, or maybe they all have dark hardwood floors. Whatever it is, keeping a file will help you find what design elements appeal to you and knowing that will make it easier for you to define your style when you get ready to start a decorating project.
2. With a file full of pictures, there’s a good chance that one of them will serve as your inspiration to get you started in the right direction on your design project.
If you aren’t already using Houzz and Pinterest, they are great (free!) resources for finding inspiration!
Guest bathrooms tend to be multifunctional rooms. For the majority of the time, they are just another bathroom in the house but they quickly become dedicated to guests when they are staying overnight. They also have a tendency to become storage areas for overflow items that don’t fit in other bathrooms. With so many uses, guest baths can easily become cluttered and neglected in terms of decor. So how can you decorate a guest bath so that it reflects your personal style and is also both comfortable and functional?
The Do’s and Don’ts of Decorating a Guest Bath
Bright, Clean and Airy
For a bathroom, you really want to make sure that the space always feels fresh and clean. The first way to accomplish this is to…well…make sure the bathroom is actually clean! Remember, alone in the room with nothing else to look at, guests will look at the floor, the baseboards and in the corner behind the door, so make sure you clean thoroughly! Another way to give the illusion of a clean room is to pick lighter colors that make the room feel bright, open and airy. This is especially important if your guest bath is surrounded by interior walls and therefore, doesn’t have a window. Lastly, make sure the bathroom smells clean. Heavily perfumed potpourri and deodorizers always make it seem as though you are trying to mask a smell, so instead, look for something that is lighter and fresher, such as fresh linen or clean cotton.
Give them space
Guests bathrooms are often smaller than other bathrooms in the house and can begin to feel cluttered and confining if there are too many objects in the room. Remove any unnecessary items to ensure there is ample floor space to move around and plenty of space on the countertop. Also, for overnight guests, try to make some space underneath the sink and/or in the drawers so that they can store their toiletries in the bathroom. Giving guests space of their own allows them to put away their belongings when not in use and helps keep the bathroom looking tidier.
And speaking of cabinet and drawer space, don’t forget to clean these areas! Cabinetry, particular unfinished builder-grade cabinets, has a way of collecting debris. In this case, lining drawers with shelf paper makes them easier to keep clean (Chic Shelf Paper has some really beautiful designs). Underneath the cabinets, you can purchase inexpensive peel-and-stick vinyl tiles from home improvement stores that can easily be wiped clean and also help prevent water from soaking into the cabinetry in the event of a small leak under the sink.
To help ensure that your guests feel comfortable and welcome, it’s helpful to keep a small selection of essential items on hand in the event that an overnight guest forgets something. Travel sizes of soap, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, etc. are readily at most grocery and retail stores, or you can pick them up from hotels whenever you travel. A magnifying mirror is also helpful for older guests or those with poor eyesight. Ultimately, whatever items you provide they should be practical and not overly fancy or fussy. If you leave out a tray of small, decorative soaps and wonder why no one uses them, it’s probably because your guests think they are for decoration only!
It’s nice to decorate a bathroom so that it fits in with the style of the rest of the house and is comfortable for guests, but given limited space, you should prioritize how you decorate a bathroom, starting with the basics first. By this I mean use your toiletries as decorative items. For example, extra rolls of toilet paper don’t have to be left in the bag and placed under the sink. If you have space, find a cute basket and leave them out where guests can easily find them!
Your extra toiletries can be placed in an apothecary jar on the counter or in a basket as well.
Spare towels can be rolled up on shelves or hung from hooks.
One word of caution – stagers and model home designers love to hang two layers of towels on the towel bar and tie the top one with a decorative tieback. While this look can be beautiful and can help pull a color scheme together, it’s not practical in terms of being able to use the towels. Instead, look for solutions that are both decorative AND practical whenever possible.
Also, if you have the floor space, add extra storage by bringing in a small piece of furniture. Don’t limit yourself to only furniture intended for the bathroom but instead, look for any piece that is the right size and has the right function for what you need. Just remember that anything used in the bathroom will likely be exposed to water and steam, so take precautions.
Here, a ladder leaned against the wall provided extra storage for towels and bath items.
Also take advantage of wall space for extra storage. But unless your guest bathroom is huge, pick one or the other – either add a piece of furniture or build up – but not both to avoid the space looking too cluttered.
When decorating your guest bath, think about what you look for when you stay at a nice hotel or B&B and try to recreate that look and feel for your guests. A clean, comfortable and functional space goes a long way toward making your guests feel welcome.
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With the warmer months just around the corner, it’s time to spruce up the guest room and get it ready for an endless stream of summer visitors. While preparing the house for guests can be a lot of work, I really don’t mind, as I love having lots of activity and commotion around me. I always welcome house guests with open arms and want them to stay for as long as they’d like – they provide a break from our normal routine and typically are a source of entertainment for the kids, which means a break for me!
Just a couple of notes about the list below:
1) This list is in addition to the obvious cleaning and decluttering that you should do before a guest arrives, so I’m not going to mention anything related to general cleaning.
2) You can still use the list below even if you don’t have a dedicated guest room and whether your guests are sleeping on a bed, an air mattress or even a pull-out sofa. You can gather these items together and place them in whatever space your guests will be sleeping.
2) Most of these items you probably have lying around your house, so it’s just a matter of collecting and putting them in the guest bedroom and won’t require you to spend any extra money!
Here are 22 items to help prepare your home for guests!
1. Fresh Bedding – Always wash the bedding before a guest arrives so that the sheets feel and smell freshly laundered and ensure that the bed is made prior to their arrival. Also be sure to provide extra pillows and blankets.
2. Fan – Although I am fine with guests opening the windows at night or even adjusting the thermostat to their liking (note: this is only because the guest bedroom is on a different level than the family bedrooms and so has a separate thermostat), I also like to keep a small portable fan in the closet for guests that either like sleeping with the noise or need extra air.
3. Reading Material – When you sleep away from home, it can sometimes be difficult to get to sleep and so I like to keep a few different magazines on hand, as well as a small selection of books.
4. Lighting – It’s important that there be good overall lighting in the room, but also good bedside lamps for reading.
5. Small Bowl or Dish – I like to create a place for guests to take off and set their jewelry for the night. I know that when I travel, I am always looking for a safe spot to put my things!
6. Alarm Clock – Many people now have cell phones that have alarm settings, but just in case, it’s always nice to provide one. If it’s a digital alarm clock, make sure that the brightness can be dimmed so as not to keep your guests awake with a glowing light in their room.
7. Water – Keep a bottle of water or a carafe on the bedside table for guests that get thirsty during the night.
8. Tissue – Keep a box of tissue handy, either in the bedroom or the bathroom.
9. Suitcase Holder – Luggage racks are great, but if you don’t have one, you can also use a bench, chair or ottoman. At the very least, make sure you have a clear spot where a guest can lay their suitcase and open it all the way for easy access to their belongings.
10. Extra Hangers – It’s important that guests be able to hang up certain items of clothing. For some things, hooks are fine but for others, make sure that you’ve cleared out space in a closet and have provided some extra hangers.
I keep the following items in a spare drawer that is tagged with a label that says, “Help Yourself” so that guests know they are free to use anything in the drawer.
11. Flashlight – Just in case the power goes out or someone needs to get up during the night, I keep a flashlight on hand.
12. Desk Supplies – It’s nice to give guests paper and pen so that they can jot down numbers, names, lists or anything else they need to remember. Stamps are also nice to have on hand.
13. Mirror – A full-length mirror is preferable so that guests can see their entire outfit when dressing, but at the very least, provide a mirror large enough that they can do a quick face/hair check.
14. Snacks – Sometimes, guests get hungry after dinner but might feel it impolite to ask for a snack (this especially applies to guests to are traveling across time zones). Just like the snack baskets in hotel rooms, I like to keep a few items like nuts, pretzels, granola bars, gum, mints and even a piece of fresh fruit on hand. Be sure to include a special food or beverage that specific to your area, if possible. (Don’t forget to remove the food from the room after your guests leave!)
Other Bedroom Items
15. Flowers – These are of course nice to put in the room, but not a necessity.
16. Maps/Tour Books – For larger cities, a general map of the area is nice to have on hand, as well as a list of local destinations and activities. Even if you don’t have a guide book for your area, you can always write your own list or print out information from the internet.
17. Playing Cards – Just in case they have trouble falling asleep, it’s nice to have a deck of cards on hand.
18. Fresh Towels – Just like the linens, be sure to wash the towels prior to a guest arriving so that they smell fresh. This includes bath towels, hand towels and wash cloths.
19. Toiletries – In a small basket I keep new, sample-sized items of soap, shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, Q-tips, lotion, dental floss, toothpaste, and Tide To Go (to help avoid guests having to do laundry). I also keep a spare toothbrush, comb, hairdryer and razor on hand. Many grocery and retail stores sell travel sizes of these items, but you can also pick them up from hotels whenever you travel.
20. Extra Toilet Paper – There’s nothing worse than running out of toilet paper at someone else’s house and not being able to find a spare roll! Make sure that you have extra toilet paper on hand and that it is easily accessible. You might also consider using the “good” toilet paper when guests are visiting!
21. Night Light – Help your guests find their way in the middle of the night be equipping the bathroom with a nightlight or small lamp.
22. Drinking Cup – Keep one in the bathroom for any medicine or vitamins that guests need to take.
Have I missed something? Let me know if you have other suggestions for how to make a guest feel comfortable in your home!
P.S. – You can download the vintage tag I used on the drawer for FREE from J Ann B designs!