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Guest of Honor

If your home is large enough to have a guest room, this dedicated space can take on a dual role within your environment. It won’t be used often, but when it does welcome visitors, the room must be practical. The best guest rooms find a balance between avoiding clutter and elevating personal elements. 

You want a guest to feel comfortable there during a stay.

But at the same time, it’s also a space where you can put your design personality on display. Everything in a guest room needs to have some thought behind it as you show off your unique style.

With this in mind, we asked Amarillo interior designer Jennifer Smith for tips on decorating and styling a guest room. She’s been in the business for 20 years, and as her career has evolved, she’s found herself primarily drawn toward residential design. “I love the relational aspect of residential design,” she says. “My main passion is to create interiors that inspire beauty and comfort, so you can have the best experience while living in the space.”

That passion applies to the guest room in her own house. “I host guests fairly often because my family lives out of town. Designing and styling a guest room can be fun, but functionality is just as important as the aesthetic,” she says.

In her professional opinion, a warm and welcoming guest room needs these elements:

Storage

By necessity, a guest room hosts not only a person or two, but also their luggage. Smith suggests cozying up a guest room by adding a bench at the end of the bed. “This provides your guest with a place to sit their luggage or belongings. It also adds extra seating if needed, and doesn’t take up a lot of space in the room,” she says. Make sure there’s an empty dresser or nightstand near the bed, as well as a non-cluttered closet.

Neutrality

“You want your guest room to be calming and inspiring at the same time,” Smith says. That means a bold orange accent wall might not be the best idea. “A neutral palette provides a calm environment. A neutral room is also more timeless and can be easily updated with fresh accessories and decor,” she adds. 

Texture

Use texture to add visual interest and inspiration, from plants and baskets to drapes and bedding. “A rug is a must to cozy up and ground the room,” says Smith. Window treatments can introduce texture while also providing privacy and light control. “Drapes can add warmth and interest to the space.”

Bed and Bedding

Splurge on fine luxury sheets and soft layered bedding, which give guests options related to warmth and comfort. A comfortable mattress is essential to ensure quality sleep. “If you don’t have
the best guest mattress and don’t want to replace it, opt for a
nice mattress pillow topper,” Smith says. “Extra pillows are a
must, too.”

For most rooms, a nice headboard can serve as a bold focal point. 

Lighting

“Make sure your guests have lamps for reading, or other light sources—other than ceiling lights—for a more user-friendly space,” she says. Definitely make sure any lamps or lighting are conveniently placed. For your visitors, the unfamiliarity of a guest room can make it difficult to navigate in the dark.

Art

You don’t want a cluttered look, but neither do you want a boring room. Add some personal touches in the form of accessories and statement-making art or photography. “Art is key in bringing warmth and interest to the space,” Smith says. 

Accessories

Keep it simple, but don’t skimp on the kinds of thoughtful touches that make a guest feel at home. “Keep your room feeling fresh and smelling fresh with a yummy candle and a nice plant,” she suggests. A special guest might even be worth a bouquet of fresh flowers or mints on the pillow.

Smith loves to travel and uses those experiences to inspire new ideas for herself and her clients. “The memories and love we share in our homes while hosting the people that matter the most are definitely some of the best adventures life has to offer,” she says. 

Jennifer Smith is a local interior designer with a degree in interior design from Texas Tech University. She has been practicing for 20 years with experience in commercial and residential design.

SHOP THE LOOK

Make your guests feel right at home and support local businesses in the process. We searched local shops and boutiques to source the items Jennifer Smith recommends for a truly welcoming guest room. Here are a few of our favorite finds. PHOTOS BY SHANNON RICHARDSON

D.V. Kap Home pillow $151
Kem’s Bed & Bath

Shiraleah Chicago throw $141
Kem’s Bed & Bath

Ronda table lamp $242
The Urban Giraffe

Floor basket $114
Pete’s Greenhouse

Nest New York Wellness candle in Wild Mint & Eucalyptus $80
The Secret Place

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