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The complete guide to GUEST ROOM ESSENTIALS

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Wondering what to put in a guest room or a guest bathroom? Here are the 23 guest room essentials (and guest bath!) to create a welcoming space. The secret to a perfect guest room is easier than you think!

It’s always nice to make someone feel welcome in your home. Whether guests are visiting from near or far, it’s great if they can have a place to relax and unwind and to call their own while staying with you.

And one should expect that someone, at some point, will forget something they need! So here’s a list of all the guest room essentials to keep on hand for those that come for a visit!

guest bedroom with antique french black furniture twin bed with blue blanket and text overlay

How to Prepare for Guests

Clean and declutter before your guest arrives, especially if they will be sleeping over and/or showering! No one likes to feel like they are putting their host out. Have fresh linens available, clear away your personal belongings, and give your guest a clean slate for themselves!

Whether you have a dedicated guest room, your guests are sharing a room with another family member, or they’re sleeping on a pull-out sofa, you can still gather guest essentials and have them handy.

And remember! 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.

guest room Essentials

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.

Side note: I’m a huge fan of using Downy Unstoppables in the wash with bedding and towels. The fresh scent lasts a long time and will give guests that freshly-laundered feel!

2. Fan

Although I am fine with guests opening the windows at night or even adjusting the thermostat to their liking, 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.

antique black cabinet with doors open showing antique books and white ironstone

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.

brown nightstand with lamp tray jewelry dish and clock on top with bird art in background

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.

closeup on antique pull ring drawer pull with a tag tied to it that says help yourself

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.

white vintage ironstone sugar jar holding black pencils with antique books propped up next to it

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!)

guest basket make of wire in drawer full of guest room and guest bathroom essentials like water snacks and toiletries
I have limited counter space in the bathroom and so keep bathroom essentials in the nightstand drawer along with the other items

Other Bedroom Items

15. Flowers

These are of course nice to put in the room, but not a necessity.

mason jar of peach roses on black antique hutch in bedroom with bed in background blue blanket

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. Wi-Fi Password

Everyone always wants to know the wi-fi password, even if they aren’t staying overnight! Make it easy for your guests by having the password written down where they can easily find it.

You can download and print this wi-fi sign for your own use!

interior of black antique hutch with printable sign with the wi-fi password in a brown frame with silver cup in front and books below

guest Bathroom Essentials

19. 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.

20. 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.

vintage sewing drawer on back of toilet holding guest bathroom essentials like shampoo toothbrush and soap
How to Decorate a Guest Bath

21 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!

22. Night Light

Help your guests find their way in the middle of the night be equipping the bathroom with a nightlight or small lamp.

23. Drinking Cup

Keep one in the bathroom for any medicine or vitamins that guests need to take.

Have I missed something in this list of guest room supplies??  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!

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27 Comments

  1. Great list! My favorite essential you listed is the fan since I have a hard time sleeping without one.

  2. Amazing list!! Will also make note of all the reader comments too!
    I would add one thing that became a pet peeve of mine when we were visiting the in-laws in another state, twice a year. A garbage can! Neither the guest room nor the attached bathroom had one! The only trash can they had on the entire floor of their home was a small antique milk can used as a garbage can in their kitchen. I became a big believer in practicality over preciousness after all those visits ;)

  3. Thank you for the tips! Where did you purchase that dresser? It’s gorgeous.

  4. Marie Smith says:

    Great list! I mounted a round 10x mirror on the wall in the guest bathroom. We have one in the master and I know those of us with older eyes appreciate when grooming. I have several hooks on the bathroom wall/door so guests can hang bathrobe/towels etc. Although everyone doesn’t like a TV in their bedroom, we do have a wall mount for those that want to relax and watch a movie in bed. Lint rollers are a nice touch too! I make sure the laundry room is empty and available for guests if they want to do a load or two. I always like to ask my guests what their favorite coffee creamer, beverages, snacks etc. so they won’t feel like they need to run to the store the day they arrive.

  5. Excellent post actually also amazing list. I am always gathering guest space ideas–this is the greatest list I have found up to now. Thanks for spreading!!

  6. Mackenzie says:

    I like to keep a few picture frames on the night stand with a few pictures stored inside from different family/friend gatherings and then swap out the front photo based on the guest staying. It’s a nice personal touch! I include a box of snacks, water, pen/paper, nail file, electronic cleaning wipes, flash light and then coasters on the night stsnd as well. Bathroom is fully stocked of extras as well.

  7. El Morris says:

    Wow Kim, great list! I have a also added a package of Neutrogena makeup remover wipes, a Small sewing kit & a first aid kit which includes sunscreen, Bandaids, antibiotic ointment, bug bite spray, Advil, aspirin, Aleve which I put under the sink…because our guests often come to play golf, go boating & hiking I always include a tube of linament & there is a heating pad in every bedroom. I have spent Years perfecting my guest rooms. Each bathroom has Poopourri spray, bubble bath & muscle soak. Lastly, I also keep a roll of paper towel, glass spray & although there is no smoking allowed inside the house, a fire extinguisher under each sink…I don’t want my guests to stay forever but I do want them to feel comfortable and safe enough to want to come back. ;-

    p.s. Since the guest level is upstairs, I always notify my guests that there is a plunger in the hall closet if they should need one….no need to embarrass them with this request..

  8. Let be honest, you want to have people visit, yet there’s additional planning to be made when visitors will possess your home. In case you’re running wildly attempting to make sense of where to begin, these 22 hints are here to encourage you. Relax! With this checklist, you’ll be prepared to satisfy your guest this time. Thanks for sharing these great tips…:)

  9. you Provide an Great list For Home De-core. I suppose that would be included in toiletries & Safety Things but it wasn’t listed and some people forget.

  10. great post ever also awesome list. I’m always collecting guest room ideas–this is the best list I’ve found so far. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Making space for visitors in your home includes more than giving an agreeable place to rest; it’s a chance to influence individuals to feel welcome and guarantee that their opportunity went through with you is memorable.

  12. Mia Brooks says:

    I like to have the WiFi password posted somewhere noticeable too.

  13. One last thing: a small laundry hamper is always appreciated by my guests.

  14. Great list! I provide a small jar of foam earplugs for the light sleepers. I’ve also learned to include products specific to our climate: in Tucson I provide sunblock, reusable water bottles, and a variety of Chapstick & lip balms which are always gratefully utilized. Oddly, a can of Static Guard is a favorite among my guests because their clothes get so staticky in the desert environment.
    In humid environments I like to provide a bottle of baby powder and some hair products specific to humidity.

  15. Great list! I provide a small jar of foam ear plugs for the light sleepers. I also add items specific to our climate: in Tucson I’ve learned to include sunblock, reusable water bottles, and a variety of Chapstick & lip balms in my welcome basket. I also add a can of Static Guard which is always appreciated by my guests (clothing gets terribly staticky in Tucson).
    In humid climates I like to add a bottle of baby powder to the basket, and hair products specific to humid climates.

  16. Mary Fairbanks says:

    Be sure to have easy access to an outlet for charging electronics and possibly a USB adapter. Love your list!

  17. I’m always collecting guest room ideas–this is the best list I’ve found so far. Thank you!

  18. I make sure I always have a wastebasket in the guest room (and bathroom!). It seems like a simple thing but I’ve stayed many places that don’t have one and it’s a necessity!

    Also I make sure I have feminine care products in the guest bathroom. Nothing is more embarrassing than having to ask! I suppose that would be included in toiletries but it wasn’t listed and some people forget.

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