Top tips for decorating your spare room

Simone Cook
Written by Simone Cook
Russells Consultant
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As Kiwis, we love to travel and we’re very welcoming of guests into our homes. Think about how many guest bedrooms you’ve stayed in…ultimately, a guest bedroom should be a place nice enough that you’d want to stay.

It could easily become an underused, forgotten room. But a guest bedroom can also be a great space when well decorated and used smartly.

Double it up

Your guest bedroom won’t be in use all the time so making it multi-purpose is a great use of space; double it up as a home office or sewing room for example.


Layers are the key when choosing bedding for your guest room. You don’t want guests to be too hot or too cold so give them the option to add or remove blankets to adjust the temperature to their liking. The same goes for pillows, give them a few options.


Bedside tables are a must, preferably with a double wall socket nearby for a lamp and charging things overnight.

A wardrobe to hang items. You may find this extra storage eventually fills with your own gear leaving no room for guests’ things. In this case, have a row of hooks on the wall or door.

Guests come with baggage so a luggage rack is a really handy item. If not a luggage rack, a flat surface big enough to accommodate a suitcase would suffice, eg. a coffee table or foot stool.

Drawers or somewhere to unpack and put stuff is nice for guests rather than living out of a suitcase.

A comfy chair or sitting area is a nice addition to a spare room. It provides a comfy place for guests to retreat to; after all not being in your own home can be awkward. If there isn’t space for a chair, make sure the bed has lots of pillows and/or cushions so guests can sit up on the bed.

Abella by Harlequin in French Grey


It’s your home so it’s your choice, but some interior designers suggest going for soothing tones in a guest bedroom. Another tip – don’t go too heavy on the ornaments, photo frames and decorations; guests will need space for their own things while they stay.

Curtains and blinds

As sleeping will be the main activity in the spare room light blocking curtains or blinds should be a priority. If you also use the room for another purpose (see above) perhaps also consider a sheer layer for privacy and to block glare during the day.

Accessories & extras

Above are the essentials for a guest bedroom, but here are a few items for those who like to go the extra mile to make guests feel welcome and enjoy their stay:

  • rubbish bin
  • hair dryer
  • hand steamer (for un-wrinkling clothes)
  • books or magazines for reading
  • tissues
  • a snack box or welcome pack
  • full length mirror
  • water bottle or jug and glass
  • toiletries
  • extra coat hangers
  • air freshener or a diffuser
  • a nightlight
  • a clock

It could make you money

One final thought – a good guest room could even make you a bit of extra cash. If you’ve got a nice room people would like to stay in you could look into hosting international homestays or even listing it on accommodation sites as an option for travellers on a budget.

Latitude by Maurice Kain in Horizon

Learn what to consider in picking the right curtains for your home

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