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Image / Editorial

Interior designer Paloma Contreras’ ultimate guestroom tips

by Meg Walker
11th Sep 2018

A wise woman once said that a host should spend a night in his or her guest bedroom in order to ensure that everything is comfortable enough for a guest. From a design perspective, guest bedrooms, like powder rooms, are a great way to experiment with bolder design choices. If there is a wallpaper or paint colour you absolutely love, but are afraid it would be too much to commit to in a room you use every day, a guest bedroom might be the perfect place for it, since it probably won’t get as much use as the other rooms in your house and your guests are likely to appreciate a room with panache. My guest bedroom is more pattern-driven than any other room in the house for this very reason. I dressed the space in various patterns in blue and white and even opted for printed fabric lampshades. The room is cosy and fun!

I love hosting overnight guests. I derive a lot of joy from preparing our guest bedroom for visiting friends and family. I want my guests, whether they are in my home for dinner or for an entire weekend, to feel welcome, comfortable, and relaxed. I do my best to make sure that guests know they are welcome to help themselves to whatever they like by doing things such as leaving a few bowls, glasses, and napkins on the kitchen counter before they arrive and placing a glass carafe filled with water on the nightstand. Providing your guests with adequate space, comfortable surroundings, and the essentials they need will instantly make them feel welcome.

A few days before your guest is set to arrive, check in with them regarding any desired snacks and drinks. If I know that a friend likes a certain snack, prefers a specific cereal in the morning, or enjoys a glass of rosé before dinner every evening, I make sure to have those items on hand for their stay. Another important thing to note when you are hosting overnight guests is to have a plan. Be considerate and check in with them regarding their plans while they are in town, particularly if they are staying with you while in town for a work commitment. Be flexible, but plan a few activities in advance to make sure that you are never at a loss for what to do. We once spent a holiday weekend with someone who literally didn’t have a thing planned for us to do and we felt like an afterthought and the trip felt like a total waste of time. If you have specific dinner plans during their stay, be sure to let them know ahead of time so that they can plan to attend and dress accordingly. Be a gracious host by giving your guests flexibility, but remember that it is your job to ensure that they have a nice time while staying with you.



Guest Room Essentials

  • Fresh flowers on the nightstand
  • A carafe filled with water and a glass ?for drinking
  • Extra blankets
  • An assortment of pillows (I have both ?down and down alternative pillows on the bed in our guest room so that guests can choose what they prefer)
  • A luggage rack
  • Plenty of empty hangers
  • Nice soap
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Moisturising body wash
  • Ibuprofen and antacids in the ?bathroom cabinet
  • A spare toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Cotton balls and cotton swabs
  • Interesting books and local magazines
  • A phone charger
  • A handwritten welcome note with ?the Wi-Fi password


Extracted from Dream Design Live by Paloma Contreras (Abrams, approx €30). Photographs by Max Burkhalter.