Wall to Wall Trends: Guest Room

by Cassandra McCullersMarch 1, 2017

While designing your own bedroom can be as straightforward as figuring out your personal style, guest rooms present a thornier problem, especially since they can easily take up valuable space and may sometimes end up left empty for much of the year. A guest room will also need to appeal to most people who stay in it, and you’ll also want a layout that naturally minimizes clutter and allows easy cleaning.

Your own personal bedroom offers you a chance to experiment and customize, but for your guest room, you’ll probably want to have your guest room be somewhat less eclectic. Stick to a neutral color as the base to appeal to a broader range of visitors, with only a handful of complementary colors for accents. Softer, lighter colors like pastels tend to have a wider appeal than bolder, brighter colors, but this can vary based on the room’s style. Multiple light sources allow guests to adjust light levels as they please, meaning they’ll never end up with a room that’s too bright or too dim, though be careful of going overboard – the overhead light and two or three lamps are generally plenty.


When picking out designs, also keep in mind other functions for the room if you’re using it as a flex space. In terms of specific styles, the increasingly popular Scandinavian style serves well both as a bedroom and as a generic design for other uses. This style is highly minimalist, with soft, gentle contours on furniture, low-slung couches and chairs, and a neutral color palette as the base, with rough wooden furniture and accents in green, brown, or blue.

Farmhouse styles also have broad appeal and do well when serving double-duty as a bedroom and a den, reading room, home office, or similar space. The farmhouse style generally features sleek and simple furniture profiles, with a heavy presence of wood (finished, unfinished, or painted) and white, grey, or beige linen upholstery. Accent colors are generally pale blue or yellow, but can just as easily be other colors, especially pastels.

As concern grows about using space as efficiently as you can, the trend of using the guest room as a flex space has been growing in popularity. Flex spaces are rooms or areas that have multiple uses, or can even be easily transformed with specially designed furniture. Designing your guest room as a flex space allows you to use it even when you don’t have guests, so you don’t waste that extra room. Multiple flex spaces also allow you to expand guest capacity rapidly if for instance, you have the whole extended family staying over for the holidays. Indeed, when thinking about designs, you might want to look at the room as it’s primary use, that can convert to hold guests, rather than as a guest room with added functions.

The most common example of a flex space is a sleeper-sofa as the main living room couch, offering extra space for guests, but flex spaces can be in any form you want. Having the guest room as a flex space allows you to use it as a home office, media room, library or quiet reading room, creative space, den, or whatever other use you’d have for a spare room. The set up can be as elaborate or as simple as you want.


How to deal with the bed is an important consideration with flex spaces. A sleeper sofa, sofa bed, or futon couch is the classic method, working best with room uses that naturally include a couch, like a media room, den, or home library. Adding a couch can also let other room uses serve an additional duty, e.g. a home office can double as a quiet room for reading in, while holding guests when needed. Other examples include fold-away beds or Murphy bed, to fully minimize the bed’s impact on floor space when not in use. Most fold away bed designs simply turn into a plain section of wood, usually as part of a larger piece that includes a desk and shelves, but some can serve other duties while folded up. For instance, an increasing number of designs have a fold-down desk on the underside, making a convenient space for setting up a laptop or spreading out papers.

Keep in mind having other pieces of furniture than just the bed serve a transformative function. An easy and popular way to expand furniture use is with extra storage, but there are also plenty of more creative uses and innovations. Fold away furniture, including desks, tables, and seats as well as beds, allows small spaces to be used to their full effect. Indeed, a room designed with furniture that folds out of sight can transform entirely between uses, so it’s ordinary configuration hardly resembles itself as a guest room, without the hassle of needing to move things around or trying to fit in extra pieces.

What exactly you’re using the room for also will impact your furniture choices and design considerations. For instance, a sewing room will need somewhere to store your materials and sewing machine when in use as a guest room, while a media room mostly just needs the entertainment center and some seating.

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About The Author
Cassandra McCullers
Cassandra is a writer with a background in engineering, enjoying the rural life in the Virginian Appalachians. When not working, she enjoys writing fiction, running a blog, camping, working in the garden, and tending to her flock of chickens! In addition to writing, she has a passion for art and graphic design. Her interests include disaster preparedness, homesteading, landscaping, cooking with natural ingredients, history, and animal husbandry.