Create a Welcoming Guest Room for Holiday Visitors

by Diana Fox

Sharing is the truest expression of holiday spirit. Opening your home to invited guests presents an ideal opportunity to celebrate traditions while extending gracious hospitality to family and friends. The beginning of the holiday season officially starts on Thanksgiving and continues through New Year’s Day. No other time of the year feels as busy, as stressful or as magical.

One of the best aspects of the holiday season is sharing time with those you love and enjoy. As a child I remember with fondness a yearly and much anticipated Thanksgiving visit with my favorite aunt and uncle. It was an exciting holiday ritual that remains vivid in my memory today.As your family and friends come home for the holidays, welcome them to a guest room that is inviting and comfortable.

Create lasting memories to dazzle and delight houseguests by decorating with simple, stylish touches. Details make all the difference. With a little extra care and attention visitors will feel like they are staying in a cozy Bed and Breakfast.

Start by making your company feel special with a variety of thoughtful goodies. On top of the bed, place a basket or tray filled with a selection of bottled water; wrapped snacks of cookies, crackers or nuts; fresh fruit; a bottle of wine, including glasses and opener; stamped postcards; a disposable camera; local maps and brochures with area attractions; a beautifully wrapped box of chocolates and a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign. This is a perfect welcome for the weary traveler!The bed should be of good quality and provide a comfortable night’s sleep. Linens should be crisp, clean and coordinated. Ensure your visitors enjoy sweet dreams, by selecting beautifully designed bedding. A fluffy comforter looks enticing while it keeps guests warm and cozy. Compliment the bed with pretty shams and scatter decorative pillows for a look that instantly enlivens a room. Have an extra blanket and pillows accessibly tucked away in a closet.

If the guest room is used for other purposes, do your best to eliminate clutter and create space. Empty at least one drawer and have closet space available with plenty of extra hangers to put things away. Give your company ample room for personal belongings by clearing the top of a table or dresser. This way guests won’t impose on your space and can keep all their items contained to one room. Provide a luggage rack, table or sturdy chair for suitcase and travel bags. Put a hook over the door or in the closet to hang wet towels, a coat or a bathrobe.

Allow guests to feel a part of your home by creating a place to relax. If possible, have a comfortable chair in the guest room. It’s an inviting spot to retreat for a little privacy or a quiet moment of rest. Most people enjoy reading before bedtime, so a reading lamp is essential. Have a basket of recent magazines, current newspapers, a crossword puzzle book or a book on local attractions for casual, anytime reading.Strive to give your guest room that ‘home away from home’ feeling. Visitors will greatly appreciate a framed wall mirror, nightlight, wastebasket, clock, box of tissues, pen and notepad. A pretty seasonal arrangement or fresh flowers add a fragrant, finishing touch, as does a scented candle and a radio or CD player for music. A well designed guest room considers the passion of all five senses and shares a stylish harmony with each.

Don’t forget the guest bathroom. Have plenty of luxurious towels and washcloths rolled in a container or basket. Offer guests sample soaps, shampoo, conditioner and lotions attractively displayed on the counter and arrange a bouquet of seasonal branches and fir boughs for a scented and colorful holiday touch. Surprise your visitors with spa accommodations by offering a trendy terry cloth robe to use. They’ll feel totally pampered and think they’re in a five-star hotel!

Holidays are all about fun. This year, share your hospitality with those people you care about by creating a beautiful, welcoming environment that says we’re glad your here. Let the season begin…

Tips for being a “perfect” guest

• Offer to help. Perhaps you’re a great cook or an excellent handyman. Let your hosts know you’re available to assist. Your thoughtfulness will be appreciated.

• Be flexible. Remember:the best part of any visit is the company – don’t stress if something’s not perfect. Relax and enjoy the moment.

• Leave behind a thank-you note and gift of appreciation. Good manners are never out of style!

Diana specializes in interior arrangement, room design makeovers, color consultations and relocating services. She has been assisting clients since 1986 and can be reached by phone at (951) 202-7859 or e-mail Or, visit her Web site at