Guest Room Ideas to Create a Welcoming Space

Do you have a spare room that has turned into a junk room? A final frontier for your nomadic items? In this organizing makeover, I’ll share guest room ideas for managing family storage needs while creating a welcoming space for guests.

See this transformation in action and snag the tips that aired on More Good Day Oregon:

The Problem

This guest room had common “spare room stuff” landing in the space:

  • Out-of-commission clothing
  • Gift wrap galore
  • An abundance of off-season pillows and blankets
  • Memorabilia needing organization and a destination

These items landed in the guest room because they lacked a spot elsewhere in the home. Guest rooms (and garages!) tend to house the deferred decisions of the home!

Items that aren’t in use and (that which the family doesn’t know what to do with!) often get stashed in the guest room to deal with “later”. We all put stuff out-of-sight when it isn’t used often, but pretty soon those belongings slide out-of-mind and it’s all too easy to ignore these repositories!


Eventually, the time comes to reclaim the space as it was intended: to provide a comfortable place for guests. And at that moment, we must all face our HOMELESS STUFF!

Guest Room Ideas - Messy Closet

As you can see, this guest room had a few problems that made it a less-than-hospitable guest respite:

  • No hanging closet space 
  • No place for a suitcase 
  • A kaleidoscope of collected items spilling onto the floor and out the shelves

The Solution

To create a welcoming space for guests, you’ll need to dedicate the time to address nomadic items.

  1. Empty the space by type of item
  2. Make decisions about your stuff!
    • What do you really want to keep and what are you ready to let go of? (If you forgot you had the item, it might be time to let it go!)
    • What types of belongings will continue to live in your guest room and what types of items need to be rehomed?
  3. Assign a purpose to the storage spaces in your room      

TIP: In a good organizing process, you’re going slow and sorting and removing items by type so you can make good decisions.

To organize this guest room we addressed each category of items that had landed in the space.

Out-of-Use Clothing

The first order of business was to sort the clothing in the room.

Out of season and hand-me-down clothing were clogging up the closet. We sorted the clothing for donation and moved the remaining off-season clothing to another closet.

Guest Room Ideas - Donation Bags

The cleaned-out closet allows space for guests to hang clothes and place their luggage. Organizing this whole room only cost $30 in purchasing new hangers for the closet!

Now guests will really be able to make themselves at home here.

Guest Room Ideas - Closet with Wrapping Bins

Gift Wrap

Gift wrap was sorted by type and items that weren’t in giftable condition were tossed.

Guest Room Ideas - Gift Wrap Sort

Gift Bags

This client had previously stored her bags vertically in a tub. The different sizes made it difficult to thumb through and find the appropriate bag.

Our solution:

  • Sort gift bags by occasion
  • Layer bags horizontally in the bin with a divider between categories

Bows and Ribbon

Guest Room Ideas - Sorting Bows and Ribbons

For this sorting project, we enlisted the help of the client’s kids!

After completing the sort process, we needed a new destination for gift wrap supplies. We wanted the location to be easy to access but out of the way of guests. We considered utilizing the large storage shelving unit in the room for a gift wrap center.

While gift wrap centers are great when you have the space, a little more critical thinking and planning changed our minds. The large shelving unit is at the end of the bed…do guests really want to look at gift wrap? Probably not.

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When it was decided that the shelving unit was not a good solution, the homeowner started dreaming about a vintage dresser that she fell in love with to hold the gift wrap and adornments.

But, after more consideration, we helped with this decision: why spend $200+ on a container to store $1-3 bags?

Guest Room Ideas - Organized Closet

It made more financial sense to use clear plastic totes and store the gift wrap up high, out-of-the-way on the top closet shelf. This saved real estate in the room, on the closet floor, and and was a FREE option!

TIP: Before you buy more containers to hold your stuff, STOP! Prune your belongings, evaluate the space critically, and use what you have first. Remember: containers aren’t the solution, they’re a tool.

Blankets and Pillows

Guest Room Ideas - Cluttered Cabinet
Guest Room Ideas - Pillows

This client loves textiles. She enjoys decorating her home throughout the year with different pillows, blankets, and quilts. When they are not in use, the pillows and blankets land in the guest room.

Guest Room Ideas - Vintage Blanket Storage

After taking an aerial view of the home and assessing other linen closets and storage spaces, we determined that the guest room was the best place to home off-season pillows and blankets. The client needs easy access to these items year-round because they are used often.

Guest Room Ideas - Blanket and Pillow Storage

In the end, we decided to create a beautiful blanket station out of the large storage shelves in the room. Now, instead of staring at gift wrap as we’d first thought, guests are surrounded by delightful, cozy prints and textures.

TIP: Take time to look around your room as if you were a guest. Lay in the bed, sit in the chairs and see what guests will see to create a truly welcoming environment


The final category of items that landed in the guest room was memorabilia.

Guest Room Ideas - Memorabilia Mess

The bins of memorabilia were moved to another location for sorting. (Once organized, the memorabilia will be in albums and will live on a bookshelf in the guest room closet.)

This guest room is now an inviting space ready to welcome guests! Check out these before and afters!

4 Guest Room Ideas to Create a Welcoming Space

After all the creeping clutter was organized, I implemented four guest room ideas to make the space even more welcoming.

Guest Room Ideas - Organized Room

GUEST ROOM IDEA 1: Create space for clothing and luggage

Guest Room Ideas - Organized Closet

Nothing makes your guest feel welcome like space for their belongings.

  • Take the time to clear out a closet or half a closet for their hanging clothes
  • Leave floor space for them to place luggage and shoes so they aren’t tripping over their bags during their stay
  • Leave a trunk or dresser – or a few drawers – empty for your guests’ folded clothing

GUEST ROOM IDEA 2: Put out flowers

Fresh flowers give an air of life to a room. They are an easy way to liven up a space and make guests feel special.

Guest Room Ideas - Flowers

GUEST ROOM IDEA 3: Clear a work surface

If you can, clear a side table or desk and bring in a chair to make a work station for your guests. It’s a place to set a laptop, make notes, and charge devices.

Especially if your guests are going to be with you for a while, having a small mobile office space is a thoughtful amenity.

Guest Room Ideas - Work Surface

This extra space makes life easier for your guests while they stay. It can also be great for guests to have their own space if they wake up and go to sleep on a different schedule than their hosts.

GUEST ROOM IDEA 4: Refreshment Tray

Your guests are sure to feel an extra sense of welcome and ease if you put together a refreshment tray for their room.

Guest Room Ideas - Hospitality Tray

Add snacks and water so your guests can refresh themselves when they arrive. Replenish the tray each morning to go the extra mile!

We hope this makeover and these guest room ideas have sparked the spirit of hospitality as you reclaim your guest room!

Here’s to reclaiming your space and your hospitality!


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