How To Create A Cool Hotel Stylie Guest Bedroom On A Budget

When Joe announced to me in January 2013 that he had been offered a job in York that was too good to turn down, I actually cried.  I was born in Hillingdon and had barely been North of Watford.   I once had a terrible experience on the platform at Birmingham New Street involving a drunk man, a small border terrier and three plastic bags when trying to get home from the NEC and this, coupled with my inability to tolerate the cold, had led me to avoid the North for many years.  However, he managed to convince me that it was the perfect proposition at this stage in our lives.  My eldest was about to go to secondary school and quite frankly, the schools in the North were the dogs bollocks compared to the South.  Unless, of course, we wanted to sacrifice all holidays, hairdressing and nail appointments and live on toast forever by putting all three through the private system.  No chance.  The turning point came when we visited for a weekend and realised that a) North Yorkshire is bloody gorgeous,  b) there was a Waitrose, c) the people are all LOVELY (true fact), and finally, d) we could trade in our Edwardian semi in Caversham for the house of our dreams.

As you can imagine, nobody was very happy with us.  But we consoled them with the fact that we would be able to buy a house with a previously unknown entity.  A guest room.  And not just any old guest room either - a guest room above the kitchen with it's own bathroom and separate staircase so there is no chance of bumping into anyone in their pants in the morning or having to mingle on the landing with towels at half mast.  A King amongst guest rooms.  So since we've moved to York, we've had a constant procession of family and friends from the South who pretend that they like seeing us but actually just want to drink in Betty's Tea Rooms and visit the Minster.  

What we told our families when we announced we were going North.  They didn't buy it.

What we told our families when we announced we were going North.  They didn't buy it.

When I was researching the ideal guest room online in preparation for this blog (yes, I do prep), I was slightly taken aback by some of the ideas.   Someone suggested that all guest rooms should have high quality thread Egyptian linen on the bed in order to assist your guests in the perfect night sleep.  I immediately discarded this idea seeing as my own bed linen is a quality mix of H&M and Asda.  So I've come up with my own six handy tips on how to make your guest room like a five star boutique Hotel for your lucky visitors.  On a budget.  That goes without saying.

Creature Comforts

You want the space to feel like a home from home.  On the bedside table, there is a Roberts Radio (permanently tuned to Radio 4 for Judith, my mother in law), a bedside lamp and a selection of books with a cactus on top.  Any excuse for a styling opportunity.  Novels are a great addition to a guest room and they look great all piled up.   More than once people have taken the unfinished book with them.  This is a brilliant way to recycle rather than taking your chick lit to the charity shop.   Pile the bed with blankets and throws - as a transient decorator, I'm always updating my own bedding and the guest room is a perfect place to reuse them.  Make sure you have lots of pillows on the bed - I also store extra bedding in the drawers of the divan.  I always leave a glass and a small bottle of water on the bedside table.

A hot water bottle and a laundry bag are above the clothes rail.  Let's not forget the North is two degrees below the South at all times so when guests visit and complain how cold it is (every bloody time) you can bite your tongue and simply point at the hot water bottle with minimum stress to yourself.  

Reuse And Recycle

Over the years I've collected lots of different styles of artwork and the guest bedroom is a perfect space to display them.  They are pieces that don't quite fit in elsewhere but when they are all put together in the room they look really eclectic.  I've got old prints from Hong Kong plus maps of places where we've visited up on the wall and it makes it feel really cosy.  I've recycled lots of furniture and soft furnishings in this room.  The indian rag rug is an old one from Ella's bedroom and the huge eiderdown we've had for years.  The chair in the window for guests to have a quiet moment (often required in our house) is an IKEA classic that I used as a nursing chair.   I like the fact that having this spare room means that these pieces can continue to be used.  We have a built in clothes rail in an alcove which I have stocked with hangers.

Where guests can sit if they want to avoid all family members and possible arguments.

Where guests can sit if they want to avoid all family members and possible arguments.

More Tea, Vicar

There is always the chance that we may bump into our guests in the kitchen whilst making a cup of tea in the morning.  In order to minimise any chance of trauma caused by seeing things flapping about, I've hung a dressing gown in our guest room together with a (whipped) pair of Hotel slippers.   It was a tenner from Primark but visitors really do appreciate it.  I've recently thought about investing in a small kettle for the guest room so that the chances of seeing people undressed is minimised to zero.   You could set up a tray with all the essentials at no cost to yourself and you'd immediately win the Best Hostess award.

Avoiding a no pants situation.  This is what I don't have in my guest room but should.  Photo via @pinterest.

Avoiding a no pants situation.  This is what I don't have in my guest room but should.  Photo via @pinterest.

Don't Forget Your Toothbrush

Achieve Hotel chic by simply whipping the bathroom toiletries from your holiday.  The best way of doing this is putting them in your suitcase so the cleaner is forced to replace them daily.  I've filled a wicker basket with them and they look extremely impressive.  It's also always good to have extra toothbrushes and toothpaste, just basic models, as these are often forgotten. You can pick them up super cheap in Home Bargains.  Cotton wool and make up remover wipes are also useful.  I also put a packet of paracetamol and Rennies in the basket in the very unlikely event that they may over indulge whilst staying with us.

The perfect guest toiletry solution.  Photo via @pinterest.

The perfect guest toiletry solution.  Photo via @pinterest.

The WIFI Password

Another brilliant idea, found when researching, which I am immediately going to copy is printing off the WIFI password on to an A4 sheet and framing it for the wall.  So much easier than constantly repeating it or worse, getting people to go and look behind the router, where they invariably pull out the plugs and shut the internet down.  Genius.

The first thing they ask when they walk through the door and then complain about as the service above the kitchen is rubbish.

The first thing they ask when they walk through the door and then complain about as the service above the kitchen is rubbish.

So Much To See, So Little Time

Lots of people who come and visit us are quite happy to go off and explore York themselves if we are both at work.  Let's face it, there are only so many times you can visit the Jorvik Centre.  So I have a pack of brochures picked up from the York Information Centre with bus time tables, tourist attractions and walking routes, plus a detailed map of the area.    It does look a bit like a carvery pub reception but it's very helpful and everyone appreciates it.  We also leave a spare key in the room for them to come and go as they please. 

The reason why people visit.  It's not to see us.  It's because York is BEAUT.

The reason why people visit.  It's not to see us.  It's because York is BEAUT.

So those are my tips for the perfect guest space.  I think that the main objective of your guest room should be to promote a welcoming, homely and comfortable environment.  What I've try to do is create a room where they can escape the main hustle and bustle and relax.  Not an easy task in our house, tbh.  Unfortunately,  Buddy sleeps at the bottom of the guest stairs and is prone to all night barking parties for no apparent reason so that can interrupt the serenity.  We love having people to stay and now they've all forgiven us (sort of) for deserting the South for the North, our home is a constant whirlwind of happy, mainly under the influence of alcohol, visitors.  And I hope that they think that our guest bedroom fits the bill for a relaxing stay.