Refresh a room in your home-the GUEST room

Guest Room

Published August 2019
Updated February 2022

Thank you for joining us in this series on Home Decorating. 
Our hope is that these short blog bursts will enable & inspire you to refresh a room in your home.

This week we're tackling your
Guest Room.

You’ve always wanted a dedicated guest room and now that…. the kids are off to college, the baby is in his older sibling's room, or you don’t sew anymore…you want to convert one of your rooms to a guest room. Let's get started.

A guest room can be versatile, classy, traditional, bright and cheery, subdued and cozy—anything you want it to be.

You would want it to fit the overall look of your home, yet be something to show off to those guests staying there. This is the opportunity to move past pink or blue, or even yellow and green to something sophisticated. What is your vision?

It’s time to shop. Your first thoughts should be... color scheme. Remember this is a refresh and not a remodel so try to stay away from painting. That might make it more challenging to refresh a room but it can be done. If you want to subdue a paint color there are ways to do that: larger furniture covering more of the wall, large wall art, tall ficus trees and a combination thereof.

So go ahead and choose the color you wish the room to be and we’ll work around it.

We’ve covered this before in previous blog bursts…get busy shopping. Check out a few stores depending on your style… TJ Maxx? JCPenney? Hobby Lobby? At Home? Pier One…Pottery Barn…Macy’s…Target! There are so many stores to choose from. The key is to start with the store you are most comfortable in and reflects your style or taste.

From there wander the aisles…and check out the color schemes they have already set up for you. What catches your eye? Which direction are you wanting to go?

Color, and the psychology of color, is a big design trend. When the color's right, it can:

  • Enhance feelings of health and well-being
  • Modify perceived temperature — make your space feel warmer or cooler
  • Transform space — make your space feel larger, or more cozy and intimate
  • Illuminate dark areas
  • Create mystery and romance in dull areas
  • Energize static areas

But it has to be the right color for you. Don’t be afraid to choose what you want—it’s your home.

Most stores, along with those listed above, have professionals creating displays and organizing merchandise. Some even went to school for it! As you view their designs and color schemes choose what you like and what you think will work as a guest bedroom in your home. Feel free to ad-lib as there is no correct answer, only what you like.

As in all of our refreshes, think 3 elements. Just 3. Make it easy, simple and fun to refresh this room. In a guest bedroom there would most likely be a bed, dresser or desk, lighting, wall art, plants or other decorative items, bedding: sheets, blankets, pillows, comforter and throws. As in the bedroom refresh we already did, it seems easiest if you start with the bedding. It doesn’t have to all come in a package, matchy-match. You can mix and match for contrast, contour combinations, and texture. Again, it’s what you want to see in that room. You can go for something light colored and refreshing like lavender, or light blue or something bright with yellow and white. Choose whatever fits best in your home. This is why we do the REFRESHES…to change it up and have fun with it.

You may already have a guest bedroom but just haven’t redecorated it— ever. Here is your encouragement to switch it up! Just choose 3 elements and go for it!

Curtains, drapes and shutters have a wonderful effect in this room.

bedroom with shutters

Choose colors that complement the overall design. And if you didn’t know, the thick plantation shutters are very popular now and come in various stains and paint colors. You can tone down a room or give it a splash of accent by choosing the right color shutters.

shutters give splash of color

Or think about accent curtains and drapes to flank the windows. If you already have shutters you can focus on hanging these as accents.

mood producing curtains for the bedroom

Tie in the window colors and texture with the bedding and wall art.

What about dressers and desks? Pick up one of each at a garage sale and sand and stain and/or PAINT them. They'll turn out beautifully. You'll love them even more because they are YOUR creations. A stained desk looks antique-y or paint the dresser to complement the room colors. 

These accents can make your room refresh more fun. One refresher found used--a dresser, bed frame and 2 night tables. She re-purposed them for a downstairs guest bedroom that created an eclectic feel. She hung various decorations and wall art to add to the effect and visitors never forget that room. There’s something about a room that has received all that personal touch that makes your guest(s) feel special and loved.

As previously mentioned if you have paint you're not fond of on the walls in this room, try looking for artwork that covers the majority of a wall. You can incorporate colors that blend with the room, completely contrast the wall color, or mute the color on the wall. Say you have a RED room and you want it to be more soft and soothing. Try hanging wall art with a dominant theme of cream. If a painting has just a touch of the softest, lightest version of the red wall within the cream colored painting that will mute or subdue the wall color as well.

In the bedroom below, place a tall light wood dresser to the right of the fireplace, with that same artwork above it. Place a tall ficus tree between the door and the window, moving the night stand closer to the bed or somewhere else in the room. Find a piece of art that is the width of the bed and as high as the first rafter and hang it above the bed. It would be mostly light cream with a darker color in it or contain a very small amount of subdued orangish-red color like the wall. SHOP for this art piece. You'll know it when you see it.

subduing a red wall guest room

The ultimate goal is making the wall color only a very small accent color in the room. As it is now, it is the dominant color in this room. There is nothing wrong with this room! This is an example of what is possible to do to refresh a room when you don’t want the same color anymore and you don't want to paint.

The below is another example of a lot of green color in the guest bedroom. If you are only refreshing, you’re not painting. So what would you do to refresh this room and eliminate the dominant green color?

 green bedroom

If you want a bit more work, try incorporating contact wall paper that is easy to adhere, as an accent wall. A grey wood grain color would subdue a brighter color while giving it a wood accent look.

Next, put a solid, darker color on the bed for a comforter. Maybe a dark grey comforter, that accents the new light wood-grain grey wall, and pillows with shades of black. Switch out the chair for something else in the house that isn’t green. Or buy a new one! Shop until you see the right chair that fits in that space, adding positively to your new color scheme.

Another suggestion is to remove the lamps on both sides of the bed, hang a drop light in the corner and set up either a tall dark grain wood dresser or tall antique mirror on the right side of the bed. If you hung a pretty chandelier in the corner it would add to the feel of the room and also cover that portion of the green wall. See here:

 Victorian distressed chandelier     ORcorner chandelier for guest room

Lastly, hang artwork above the bed to cover the majority of green there too. Like this:

birch tree painting



wood wall art for guest room


Wood wall art always gives a warm feel to any space




If you’re reading this and you are thinking NO! I wouldn’t do that I would do this? PLEASE share below! We would love to hear your ideas.

To sum up, your choices for a guest room refresh are…

  • Drapes, curtains, shutters
  • Drop lights, chandeliers, lighting in general
  • Dressers and desks
  • Chairs, footstools
  • Bedding—comforters, sheets and pillows, throws
  • Contact paper—not quite painting, but more decorative
  • Wall art!  Pallet wood wall art, paintings and art, mirrors
  • Artificial plants and trees

Choose the 3 elements that will enable you to refresh your guest room and do it! Remember to keep it to just 3 elements so as not to be overwhelmed. If you’re overwhelmed with the thought of this refresh it’s because you’re thinking you have to utilize more than the 3 elements. Don’t do that! Have fun with it!

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