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Heatherly Design Blog

Expecting guests these summer holidays? Dress your spare bedroom to impress with these special touches.

Friday, November 27th, 2015

The seed for Heatherly Design was planted more than 20 years ago during my time as a nanny in the UK. While travelling with the family I was privileged to stay in beautifully appointed bedrooms, which always included a bed with an upholstered bedhead. In one of the country houses we frequented, I will never forget the bathroom where the walls were lined in Colefax and Fowler chintz! Since these memorable days of caring for children in beautifully decorated homes, I have collated many different ideas on how to style a guest bedroom.

Here, I share six tips on how to take a spare room to a comfortable guest bedroom.

Lincoln Bedhead in Liaison Forest Velvet

  1. Say ‘no’ to naked beds

A naked ensemble bed never looks complete, no matter how nice your bedlinen. Guests from the UK and USA in particular are bound to notice something is amiss because it’s standard practice to pair an ensemble bed with a bedhead these countries.  I recommend an upholstered bedhead (of course!) to anchor the bed in the room, but if you don’t have time to commission one, at least hide the lower mattress and castors with a valance. You could also fake the look of a bedhead by layering European sized pillows against the wall, then standard pillows and a couple of throw cushions artfully positioned in front.

  1. Consider versatility

One year it might be your sister and her husband coming to stay; another year it might be some friends.  If you have the luxury of planning your guest bedroom, consider how you can make the room more versatile, for example by having two king single beds that you can push together for a couple or separate for friends.

  1. Let there be light (but not too much)

Australian summers are very bright and the build-up from the heat of the day can really make a room uncomfortable, especially if it’s in a sunny spot. Make sure there is a way for your guests to adjust the temperature and brightness in the room with blockout window blinds or shutters, or at least a choice of heavy/light curtains.

At night, be sure the room has good ambient light and also a task lamp to make activities like reading in bed comfortable.


  1. Make the practical things beautiful

In addition to a place to sleep for the night, guests need essentials such as towels and toiletries. These practicalities don’t need to be ordinary, however, and it doesn’t cost very much to make them special. Beautiful bath towels and triple-milled soaps are easy to come by, include also a jug of water by the bed with two glasses on a lovely tray for that extra detail.

  1. Add decorative touches

Make your guests feel special with a vase on the bedside table of fresh flowers, scented if possible.  It doesnt take much but oh the impact fresh flowers have in a bedroom after a day on the road and finally arriving at your destination!

  1. Stay cool with linen

It’s summer, so dress the guest bedroom for the weather. I recommend pure linen because of its texture and breathability.

Also important is having a place for guests to put all those pillows and throws that will be too hot to sleep with; a shoebox, large chair or ottoman will do the trick. They also double as somewhere to sit when the bed is made up.

Styling a guest bedroom doesn’t need to be difficult if you know where to start. There’s plenty of scope for you to add your own personal touch, keeping in mind the preferences of your guests. Happy styling and happy holidays!

Shoebox in Glitz Silver hero          Piper Bedhead in Trench Leather1