Guest Room Essentials (how to create a cozy, functional and fun guest bedroom)

We all want our guests to feel welcomed and comfortable. But you wonder, what to put in a guest room to make it welcoming, functional, and fun? Wonder no more, this guest room essentials list helps you create a space the guests will enjoy.

In this first article in the Hosting Overnight Guests 101, I’ll cover the essentials and the little things that will let your guest know that you were thinking of their comfort before they even arrived.

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Guest room essentials list. How to create a functional and cozy space the guests enjoy. An image of a guest bedroom with gold accessories like pillows, wall clock and picture frames.

Most guests don’t make their requests known, nor do they feel comfortable rummaging through your stuff no matter how often you tell them to be at home.

That’s why this guest room essentials list includes all sorts of ideas to help you to be a prepared hostess. A prepared hostess is a relaxed hostess.

1. Comfortable Bed

Guest Bedroom Ideas
image: Artjafara / Getty / CanvaPro

If truly focusing on the guest room essentials, then a bed is the number one. An overnight guest needs a place to sleep. It doesn’t need to be the fanciest bed, but if at all possible, make it comfortable.

I’d say the older the guest, the comfier the bed should be. When I was way younger, I could sleep on a thin mattress on the floor or a saggy couch in the living room. But as the years pile up, my body needs more comfortable accommodations for me to be able to sleep and function the next day.

That being said, I want to emphasize that whatever you can provide for your guests is good.

Here are a couple of great tips for creating a comfortable bed.

1. Good Mattress

Nectar gel memory foam mattress gets good ratings, and it has a 365-night home trial. I like our Ashley 12-inch hybrid mattress in a box. We got ours on an awesome deal on Black Friday.

2. Mattress Topper

Almost any mattress can become more comfortable with a good mattress topper. Take a look at the Subrtex gel mattress topper with a removable bamboo cover. This topper comes for any size bed and in three thickness options.

3. Pillows

What a difference a pillow that is just right makes. The only problem is that what is suitable for one is not so for the other. To solve the dilemma, have a few pillow options available.

Nice pillows make the sleep more peaceful. And peaceful sleep equals happier guests.

4. Blankets

Yep, that’s true. All those throw blankets on beds are not just for the show. They can actually be quite functional.

I’m sure we all have at some point wrapped ourselves in a soft, warm throw blanket.

So, take a look at what kind of blankets you have around. Consider providing one heavyweight blanket like a comforter and another lighter one as an alternative.

5. Silky Smooth Sheets

How to create an inviting guest room. An image of folded white sheets and pillowcases with yellow roses on top.
image: Serezniy / Getty / CanvaPro

Okay, they don’t need to be silk sheets, but everyone loves fresh, good-quality sheets. They do last longer and feel better, but inexpensive ones can last a long time, too, unless you have a constant flow of overnight guests.

As for the colors, go with your style or do it the hotel way: white sheets.

6. Twin Beds

If you are shopping for a bed, you might want to look into getting two twin beds. That way, they can either be kept together or pulled apart.

Just don’t forget to use a bridge and straps to secure the beds together when you turn them into a king-size bed. You would not want the guests to find themselves on the floor between the beds.

Check out IKEA Hacks for the guest bedroom. The awesome twin daybed might be just what you need. It converts into a full-size bed.

The bed is the focal point of the guest bedroom, and when it is nicely put together, it gives the room a fresh and clean look.

2. Closet and Drawer Space

Do you have a closet in the guest room? Is it empty? Yay! If so, then you are all set.

Or is your guest room closet overflowing? Sometimes it happens, that particular closet becomes the “catch it all place.”

Perhaps you don’t even have a designated closet for the guests. No worries, these ideas help you to provide closet space in creative ways.

Guest room storage solution: hook to hang up things like bags and jackets. An image of a bag, sun hat, and camera hanging from hooks.
image: kaorinne / Getty / CanvaPro

1. Closet

I know, I just said something about not having a closet, and then the very next thing I talk about is closet.

Well, this is in case you do have closet space to spare.

Clear out some space in a closet for the guests to put their belongings. Invest a few bucks in matching hangers, and the closet looks a lot better.

2. Drawers

Perhaps you have an entire dresser for the guests, but keep a drawer or two empty for the guest if you don’t.

You could mark those drawers with cute tags so they know which ones are for them to use—that way, the guests don’t need to open every single drawer.

3. Baskets and Boxes

What to do if you don’t have a dresser? How about getting a few decorative boxes or baskets with lids. Stack them up, and you have a created a fun storage space.

4. Coat Tree

I know storing certain items of clothing in a drawer is not the best way to do it. If you don’t have a closet, place a coat tree with a couple of hangers in the guest bedroom.

5. Shelf with a Rod

Another alternative to a closet is adding a rod below a wall shelf. This is a quick way to create a fun closet… with no doors. I guess that is not actually a closet…

You could display reading material or pictures on the shelf, and the guests can hang up their clothes beneath.

Or leave the shelf open for folded clothes, or place a couple of little baskets for storing small items there.

This is a great “closet” idea for an office guest room combo.

6. Hooks

This goes hand in hand with the shelf and rod idea. The rod is, of course, better for items that need hangers. But hooks are great for bags and jackets.

3. Luggage Rack

Whether you have a closet or not, the guests might want to keep their stuff in the suitcase. A rack makes it more convenient to dig through the bag.

1. Suitcase Rack

A foldable suitcase rack would be awesome. Pull it out as needed.

2. Chair

Any chair works for a smaller, carry-on type of luggage.

3. Bench

The benches are great and multifunctional. It’s a place to open that suitcase, and it can also be used as a table for playing a card game.

Get a bench with storage space, and now your guests have a place to store some of their belongings.

4. Nightstand

The place where we put all things we want to keep nearby.

1. Traditional Nightstand

A set of lovely matching nightstands is always a safe way to go. Depending on the style you choose, those nightstands can function as little dressers too.

2. Cube Organizer

Find a 4-cube organizer and use that as a nightstand. I’ve seen them ranging from 24 to 30 inches high. Leave the cubes empty or put some books and snacks on the shelves. Those pretty storage bins come in handy, too, and can function as drawers.

3. Decorative Boxes and Baskets

Remember the baskets and boxes I mentioned in the “closet” section? Stack a couple of those next to the bed, and you have a nightstand… just make sure your boxes are sturdy.

4. Ottoman with Storage

A storage ottoman is an excellent alternative to a nightstand, especially when creating a temporary guest room. Place a tray on top for a flat, hard surface. Put extra throw blankets inside the ottoman or leave it empty for the guest to store things.

5. Lighting

Lighting is essential for creating a welcoming atmosphere. And we do need light for its functionality too.

Guest bedroom lighting ideas: string lights on ladder, lamp on night stand, lantern. wall scone lights.
Images: oksana_nazarchuk / Getty, jupiterimages / Photo Images, gitusik and evp / Getty / Canva

1. The Main Light

Whether it is a ceiling light or a floor lamp, make sure it is working. Consider installing a dimmer.

2. Night Light

Some people might feel more at ease with softly glowing night light in the room. The guests will appreciate those in the hallways and the bathroom too. You know your way around in the dark, but your guests might not.

3D Moon Night Light from Litho Night Lights, Etsy
Moon Night Light from Litho Night Lights, Etsy

A softly glowing moon lights up the room and the halls when needed. This lovely moon night light is from Litho Night Lights.

3. Lamps

A lamp on the nightstand is not only for its relaxing effect. It makes life a little more convenient. No need to get up and walk all the way to the light switch to turn the lights on and off.

4. String Lights

I love the string lights. I always buy extras at Christmas time to be used throughout the year. Those are just perfect for adding a lovely touch to any room.

5. Flashlight

You might wonder what century I’m living in recommending a flashlight. Doesn’t everyone have one on their phone?


But maybe the phone battery is all out, and the guest needs a flashlight for one reason or another.

How to create a cozy guest bedroom?

The word cozy brings to my mind warmth, softness, and dimmed lights. This can be achieved with candles, string lights, fluffy pillows, bedding throw blankets, and a comfy chair with an ottoman.

A basket filled with books, pens, a journal, soft, warm socks, and a welcome card enhances the cozy feeling.

6. Room Darkening Curtains

As much as we like light, some guests will thank you for providing something to make the room darker. Get a set of room darkening curtains and a double wrap-around curtain rod.

These room darkening, noise reducing curtains have a black lining. You might think they only come in dark colors, but that is not so. A variety of colors is available.

I’ve got a pair of cream-colored ones. And they really do block the light as advertised.

7. Snacks and Beverages

Whether it is a basket filled with snacks or a well-stocked snack bar, your guests appreciate having easy access to food and beverages.

If you are really ambitious, you might want to consider creating a coffee bar with treats; and stocking a mini-fridge with cold beverages and delicious sandwiches, yogurt, and other food items.

Take a look at these snack bar ideas! There is something for everyone!

Bed, closet space, nightstand, snacks, lights, and room-darkening curtains go a long way in putting together a room for the overnight guests. The other stuff is the cherry on top.

I’ll cover those next.

8. Sound Machine

You are used to the sounds of your house and the neighborhood, but your guest might not be. To solve the problem, have a sound machine available.

9. Air Purifier

I’d avoid air fresheners. It seems that there is an increasing number of people who are sensitive to artificial fragrances and strong scents.

There are so many air purifiers to choose from. I’m sure you’ll find one that works for you.

  • plugin air purifier
  • quiet air purifier (This one is a best seller.)
  • an air purifier that is like a sound machine (We have this one. It is quiet on the lowest setting, but since my daughter loves to have a sound in her bedroom, she turns it all the way up.)
  • activated charcoal air purifying bag (These are awesome, I keep one in our closet and another in a storage area.)
  • beeswax candle (It’s amazing how beeswax candles actually clean the air and remove unwanted odors. I have only used a homemade beeswax candle, but I’d assume these would work the same way.)

10. Fans

Does your guest room need extra cooling? Put a fan in there.

11. Space Heater

Perhaps you like to keep the house on the cooler side at night or at all times. How about giving the guests an option to keep the guest room a little warmer with a space heater?

We have had an EdenPure space heater for a few years, and it works really well.

12. Mirror

A floor-length mirror has earned its place on this guest room essentials list. The guest can make sure they are all presentable when leaving the room.

13. Chair

A chair gives your guests a place to sit and relax without having to always be on the bed.

Add a throw blanket and a nice fluffy pillow for the extra cozy effect.

Hammock chair for guest bedroom.
image: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / Getty / CanvaPro

A hanging chair? Yes. I’d love to have one of these, and maybe someday I will. It looks fun and cozy. So cozy that it would be tempting to linger in it longer than I should. Just relaxing.

This beautiful (bestseller) hammock chair adds flair and dimension to your guest room. The room will be a comfortable oasis for your guests and even for you when you are not hosting.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a space for a big, comfy chair even above the floor. Any chair or ottoman is great. And those two would work as a suitcase rack too.

14. Desk

Perhaps your guest is working on their next novel or wants to write a long entry in the guestbook. A desk would make accomplishing all the writing projects more convenient.

The desk could be a simple laptop desk for a bed, or an adjustable computer stand on wheels.

You’ll love this desk on wheels! You can move it around, tilt it, rotate it, use it standing up or sitting down. It’s so cool you may want to have two, one for you and one for the guest.

15. Laptop

Do you have an extra laptop? If so, how about putting that in the guest room.

16. WiFi Password

The WiFi is on the house.

Write down the WiFi password on a card or frame it for easy access.

17. Office Supplies

It’s not like you must have a desk full of supplies for the guest, but a few little things would be great:

  • pens
  • pencils
  • paper
  • eraser
  • tape
  • scissors
  • sticky notes

18. Charging Station

This bamboo charging station keeps multiple devices in order.

Include a couple of charging cords, an extension cord, and a power strip for extra outlets in the supplies.

19. Clock

In the past, an alarm clock was a must-have item on the guest room essentials list.

Though most of us carry a phone with an alarm function, a clock adds a nice touch to the guest room. It’s great when you can just glance toward the clock and see what time it is instead of having to pick up your phone.

20. Trash Can

When you think about what should be in the guest room, a garbage bin is not the first thing that comes to mind. However, it comes in handy when needing a place to throw all those snack wrappers.

21. Hamper

This is definitely one of the guest room essentials you want to have for those friends who stay more than a couple of days. A cute laundry basket or hamper helps the guest to keep their dirty clothes off the floor.

22. Small Conveniences

You never know when tissue or hand sanitizer is needed. The hand sanitizer is one of those things you could place near the snacks.

  • tissue
  • hand sanitizer
  • lint roller
  • gum or breath mints
  • sewing kit
  • safety pins

23. Entertainment Center

We all love to be entertained. Create a fun entertainment nook for the guests to explore.

  1. books
  2. magazines
  3. TV
  4. blu ray player and movies
  5. record player and records
  6. games
  7. puzzles
  8. sudoku
  9. crossword puzzles
  10. things to do and see in the area
  11. restaurant recommendations

Check out these books for the guest room ideas.

24. Decor

Decor items aren’t necessary, but they belong to the guest room essentials since they make the room more welcoming, cozy, and fun.

All the very things you are going for.

1. Signs

Be our guest sign from rootedngroundedhome
Be Our Guest Sign from Rooted n Grounded Home, Etsy

Welcoming guest room signs like this beautiful “Be Our Guest” sign put smiles on their faces. You’ll have many styles to choose from.

2. Flowers and Plants

Fresh flowers are always lovely, but artificial ones look awesome too. From succulents to palms, pick a few things to make the room feel alive.

3. Pictures

Display a picture of the guests and your family having a wonderful time together.

4. Decorative Pillows

Decorative pillow "relax" adds a lovely touch to a guest bedroom. (stoneriverhomeco)
Relax Pillow from Stoner River Home Co., Etsy

Pillows with sweet or fun messages will delight your guests. Invite the guests to relax with this farmhouse-style decorative “relax” pillow.

5. Throw Blankets

I mentioned the blankets in the “bed” section, but throw blankets are so cool they need to be discussed again.

The bed and chairs look more inviting with carefully placed throw blankets. In addition to looking awesome, they provide extra warmth when needed.

6. Candles

Blue lavender lemon soy candle from Chasing Natural
Candles from Chasing Natural, Etsy

Nothing like candlelight. It’s beautiful. It’s relaxing. Choose a candle made with non-toxic ingredients. Provide a choice between an unscented and a scented one.

My favorite candles are artfully made by Chasing Natural. New lovely scents are frequently added to the collection.

7. Seasonal

During the Holidays, put in the guest room a little Christmas tree with a wrapped gift under it. Or adorn the door with a seasonal wreath.

Pumpkins and leaves placed on the shelves or the nightstand say, “welcome to fantastic fall.”

25. A Place for the Towels

I have a specific post about the guest bathroom essentials but would like to include here this one.

Consider putting up hooks or towel racks in the guest bedroom unless you have a separate guest bathroom where the guests can leave the towels.

26. Childproof

If your overnight guests have little kids, make it easier for them and childproof the guest room.

These 13 tips on hosting houseguests with children help to make the visit fun and enjoyable for everyone.

27. Iron

Clothes can get quite wrinkly in the suitcase. Show the guests where the iron and ironing board are.

28. Access to the Washer and Dryer

If your guests stay more than a couple of days, they might want to do some laundry. A quick tour of your laundry room is something they might be interested in.

29. Space in the Kitchen

Tips for guest room essentials would not be complete without mentioning the kitchen. If your guest room has a mini kitchen, then you are ready to go, but if not, you want to do these things:

Clear some space in the fridge for snacks and meds the guest might bring with them.

If you don’t have a coffee bar in the guest room, create one for the kitchen. Fill it with snacks and maybe some breakfast items. Include bowls, cups, napkins, and utensils.

30. Cleaning Tools

Nobody expects the guests to clean up, but I’d like to leave the place neat, as a guest.

Sometimes crumbs and spills happen. Put together a little cleaning essentials basket for wiping up those spills.

Norwex Envirocloth goes a long way. All you need with it is water. How cool is that! I have to admit I was skeptical about all the Norwex awesomeness. BUT after getting a couple of their products, I’m sold. The link takes you to my online Norwex “party.”

In addition to the Envirocloth, you’ll find an electrostatic carpet and floor sweeper very useful.

31. Keys

Be our guest and stay awhile keychain for guests.
Be Our Guest Keychain from My North Star Designs, Etsy

The guests who spend more than a night or two at your place might need a key to your house. Some hosts don’t feel comfortable with that idea. But you know yourself and your guests. Do what you feel most comfortable with.

32. Tags and Labels

Label things to make the guests navigate the kitchen and the house in general. Put a sign on the pantry door, hang a tag from the cupboard doorknob to indicate where the glasses are, etc.

33. Welcome Basket

A welcome basket or tray enhances the good-feeling the guests will have when they enter your home and their special place, the guest room.

Get creative with this one.

It could be a themed basket featuring the season or the occasion. Or it could have all kinds of fun and essential items from books and snacks to shower caps.

Welcome basket ideas are coming in Spring 2021!

34. Personal Note

Nothing like a handwritten personal note from the hostess to remind you that you are welcome.

35. Guest Bathroom Essentials

Another important area to look into is the guest bathroom.

If you have an assigned guest bathroom, cool. If you don’t, that’s no problem. Put extra items in a basket for the guests to use and clear some space to put their stuff in.

Check out the ideas for guest bathroom essentials the guest would like to find in a bathroom.

A woman holding a coffee cup, smiling and looking up. Text: host overnight guests like a pro. Be prepared be relaxed.

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