20 Guest Bedroom Ideas That Will Have Them Overstaying Their Welcome

Because a second bedroom should never play second fiddle.

four poster bed in lightly dyed wood with a striped coverlet and multiple pills and two prints over the headboard and a rush seat chair across in the corner near a pile of books
William Waldron

Guest bedrooms are so frequently the ugly ducklings in an otherwise attractive brood. What would happen if we gave these areas as much attention as say our living rooms or dining rooms? The designers in our pages are experts in this area—guest rooms for them are an opportunity for experimentation, usually with low risk. They can double as a reading room or office, serve as stylistic bookmarks, or deviate from the theme of the rest of the house. They can also be a refuge—or an escape—and house as many guests as you’d like, for however long you choose. Here are 20 great guest room ideas that will help you make your spare room anything but spare.

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1 Posts with the Most
antique four poster bed with spirally posts and headboard and a heavy dark blue velvet cover with with stitching and two worn wood night stands that look like sawhorses and some framed prints above them
Christopher Stark

Don’t be afraid to choose a bed that packs a punch. In the guest bedroom of this San Francisco house, Antonio Martins used an 18th-century family heirloom as the centerpiece, covered in a reproduction of the family bedspread.

2 Room with a View
bedroom with a platform bed withwhite  tufted upholstered headboard green linens and a blue throw across it and like leopard print and floral print pillows and a gold bolster and two pouf in shirred white next to it
Donna Dotan

If your guest room has beautiful views, let those take centerstage. This bedroom had stellar views of Manhattan’s Central Park, so designer Ariel Okin kept the palette light, with only a few pops of color to keep things fun.

3 Take a Seat
very white room with a long upholstered bench with cutouts along the wall  with a small table and wooden chairs in the far room behind it
Silvia Foz

Every guest likes a little privacy. If space allows, don’t hesitate to add a seating area to your guest room, like fashion designer-turned-decorator Carly Cushnie did with this bouclé CB2 loveseat in a TriBeCa apartment.

4 Get Funky
twin bed with wood frame posts and salmon sheets and several pillows and a yellow curtain in the window next to it and a painting over the inside wall of the bed and heavy cubes on the other side as tables
Pablo Zamora

Use your guest room to experiment. In this Madrid home, design studio Casa Josephine juxtaposed a Castilian 18th-century bed with a 1970s globe lamp and mirrored cubes as bedside tables.

5 Out of Sight, Out of Mind
small bedroom with wooden floors and a wooden bed with a turned frame and white linens and a light green and yellow striped pillow and a basket underneath the bed and a dark low console opposite the bed next to the wall with a small vase with yellowish green flowers
Douglas Friedman

Every guest loves to have the space to actually unpack. Perhaps some under-the-bed baskets might serve as storage space, in lieu of a cabinet or closet? Fashion executive turned interior designer George Kolasa used the idea in the historic farmhouse he bought with his husband.

6 Vintage Glam
a round bed in a corner with black and white pillows and a two tier round nightstand and cream curtains on the tall windows and some framed artwork in the corner behind it and high pendant lamp
Nicole Franzen

Use your guest bedroom as a time machine! In this Upper East Side apartment, design duo Husband Wife placed a circular bed in a corner bedroom.

7 Double Duty
a day bed in blush tones with lots of pillows with darker constrasting ribbons and light shades on the sides with a deep fuzzy chair with ottoman across it and similar toned sheer draperies on the two tall windows
Christian Harder

Why not use your guest room as a sitting room when guests aren’t in town? Here Jett Projects dressed a guest bed as a daybed, adding an armchair to facilitate conversation.

8 Get Ahead with Art
bed with upholstered frame with a matching linens and a yellow blanket with black stitching at the foot with  a cyan lacquered nightstand and several shaded windows trimmed in black and a piece of art above the headboard and a wooden beamed ceiling
Trevor Tondro

Use your art as a headboard! In this Montecito, California, home by Kim Alexandriuk a graphic painting serves as the headboard above a minimal, low-to-the-ground bed.

9 Keep It Classic
four poster bed in lightly dyed wood with a striped coverlet and multiple pills and two prints over the headboard and a rush seat chair across in the corner near a pile of books
William Waldron

For the East Coasters out there, consider reinterpreting the idea of the All-American. In this Berkshires retreat, the homeowner mixed a Shaker-style chair with a lightly dyed pine four poster and an Indian coverlet. Call it “Americana Light.”

10 Twins for the Win
twin beds in a small bedroom with tufted headboards and tall windows behind them and in the foreground on a taupe rug there are a pair of sling backs and a lv travel bag
Stephan Juilliard

Use your windows as guide posts. In this London apartment, Nebihe Cihan placed twin beds directly under twin windows, giving this guest bedroom a chic symmetrical feel.

11 Snug as a Bug
built in bed in ecru linen with raised platform and matching bolsters at foot and head and a flowered wallpaper in pink and ecru with a colorful carpet on dark floors and a floor to ceiling bookshelf seen through an open door into the next room
Ryann Ford

Utilize your nooks and crannies! The sitting room in this Paul Lamb–designed Austin, Texas, ranch’s main suite could easily be recreated as a guest bedroom—just tuck a twin bed into an existing alcove and use the surrounding areas for storage.

12 Take a Risk
twin beds with bright pink and light pink linens and short acorn topped bedposts in a room with a colorful navaho type rug and very bold wallpaper in green and yellows that looks like geese wings and a wooden nightstand between the beds with a small window right behind it
Isabel Parra

A guest bedroom is an opportunity to go way crazier than you usually would. In Perifio’s first project, the design duo’s own Hudson Valley home, they covered the guest bedroom in busy birdie wallpaper. It’s not for every day, so why not take a chance?

13 Strong Accent
twin beds with dark red frame and high headboard with insets and blue and white pattern covers and a small stacked nightstand in between and a wallpaper on the wall behind the beds with figures from the where the wild things are
Marili Forestieri

Accent walls can be more than just one solid color. In this bedroom Rodney Lawrence commissioned a large-scale mural based on Maurice Sendak’s book Where the Wild Things Are.

14 Low ‘n Beau
large bed with reddish pink upholstered headboard and a white coverlet patterned in bold red floral pattern in a bedroom with a sloped ceiling and a few plants in the corner and a silver framed mirror over the headboard on the wall
Stephen Kent Johnson

If you are lacking space but you thirst for drama, consider draping a low-to-the-ground bed with rich, over-large textiles. In this Connecticut Colonial home, Ryan Lawson added additional drama with a tin Mexican mirror above the headboard and kept further furnishings spare. The effect is bohemian and grand all at once.

15 All in One
small bed with blue upholstered headboard and canopy tucked in between two tall white closets on either side with doors and round mirrors and trays that slide out at bed level to act as a nightstand
Mark Roper

Choose furniture with multiple uses. In this London townhouse, Thomas Hamel had custom cabinetry made to envelop the bed, while offering storage, nightstands, and a desk.

16 Amp Up Your Architecture
large bed with upholstered headboard and platform in ecru and gray with a piece of artwork in the shape of a trapezoid above it in the same tones and a light beige carpet and white mushroom lamps  on the bed stands on either side
David Mitchell

Accentuate the lines of the room. In this East Hampton, New York, home, Tim Godbold chose a mixed-media artwork that mimicked the diagonal lines of the vaulted ceiling. The effect is visually arresting enough to allow for muted tones and simple shapes to take over the rest of the space.

17 Inside Out
high platform bed with storage underneath and no headboard and room all in wood with striped linens and pillows on the bed and a small lamp overhead and a table and chair on one side and a large horizontal window with sheers opposite
Gaelle Le Boulicaut Photographe

Especially in a vacation home, let the natural landscape outside lead your design brief. In this guest room, Tobias Petri chose the snow-covered Alps as the focus of the room. Light wood–clad walls and simple furniture make the space functional.

18 Stacks on Stacks
first floor bedroom with a ladder that goes to up to a lofted space
William Abranowicz

Who says the guest room can’t be the most interesting room in the house? In a Greenwich Village apartment by Workshop/APD, guests can work in a lofted space just above their sleeping area.

19 Family-Friendly
large four poster bed with a floral quilt sits opposite a directoire daybed
Jennifer Hughes

Take familial intimacy into account. In Thomas Woltz’s Virginia home, a Directoire daybed sits across from a large four poster—the perfect place for a young child to rest.

20 Show Off Your Art
twin beds in muted ecru tones and a small pedestal table between them and a large rolled upholstered headboard in blues grays and browns that is shared by both beds and a large piece of artwork hanging above it in
Peter Murdock

Don’t be afraid to hang your best art in low traffic areas. A piece by contemporary artist Jessi Reaves serves as the focal point in the otherwise minimal and muted guest bedroom of this shou sugi ban–designed Long Island house.

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