11 Things Every Desirable Guest Room Needs


You all know that I like to travel… a lot. In my last post, I shared some inspiration from my recent adventure in Marrakech. And, truth be told, I just returned from a trip to India. (The travel addiction is real.)

I have a few more destinations on my list this year and more colorful inspiration coming your way, but for this week’s post, I want to talk about a different level of travel: hospitality.

As a designer, I encounter the same sights, sounds, and smells as everyone else, but I experience the accommodations in a very specific way. I’m highly aware of how the design works, how the accommodations make me feel, and most importantly, why they make me feel a certain way.

If you’ve been following us for any period of time, you know design is all about experience. The details... well, they make or break the design. And, trust me, I’ve got my eye on the details.

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Whether you rent out a room or property on Airbnb or enjoy hosting family and friends, there are some simple design touches that will make the space truly comfortable and desirable. 

Why does that matter? Well, if you’re renting out a space, comfort equals happy guests, good reviews, and repeat business. If you’re on the family/friends side of the track, a comfortable space means happy guests, quality time together, and fabulous memories. Both winning scenarios.

Which design touches will guests enjoy and remember for years to come? Let’s talk about it.

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The Best Night’s Sleep Away From Home

There is nothing, I repeat nothing, like a good night’s sleep when you’re away from home. Whether your guests need sleep for a day at the office or hours of sightseeing, no one wants to wake up with a stiff neck, painful lower back, and bags under their eyes. Would you? 

Plus, you should remember that your guests will likely spend more time sleeping in your accommodations than doing anything else! The good news is that it’s SO easy to create a comfortable sleeping situation. 

1. High thread count sheets paired with a luxurious down comforter 

Layer these on a new, supportive yet soft mattress, add some pillows, extra blankets, and you will have a bed that people will be talking about for years to come. Yes, I still remember the best places I’ve ever slept, and you can bet that I’ll be back.

Note: If you think these are investments, you bet they are. Investments into your future profit and/or happiness. 

2. Blankets in bedrooms & living spaces

Blankets are another small luxury that can be easily added to any guest space. People want to cozy up when they return to their rooms… make sure they have what they need to do just that. 

Plus, blankets can double as home decor. Select a variety of blankets for your space that match the colors and style of your room. Vary the textures and weights to suit different guest preferences, and drape them over sofas, accent chairs, beds, etc. Easy.

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Accessories and Creature Comforts

Creature comforts go much further in helping your guest to settle in and relax than the color you choose to paint the walls. And I promise you that small details won’t go unnoticed. 

3. Blackout curtains

Blackout curtains are the GOLD of any guest experience. Jet lag or not, being able to wake on your own schedule (not the sun’s) is bliss. Blackout-lined curtains come in a wide variety of fabrics, colors, textures, and styles, so you can find ones that are functional and fit nicely into the aesthetic of your space. And heck, why not get some for yourself while you’re at it. They are wonderful. ;)

4. Bedside lamps

Vacation is when most of us finally have a free second to read. We let ourselves really relax, shoot the breeze, and curl up with a book that we’re actually reading for fun. Bedside lamps are the perfect simple accessory for creating cozy ambiance and reading into the midnight hours… or as long as our eyes stay open.

5. Guidebooks

Speaking of books, guidebooks are highly underrated. Whether you’re hosting family, friends, or the nice people who find you on Airbnb, a guide to the local sights, restaurants, and culture never goes amiss. Plus, guidebooks make for great coffee table decor!

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Books are beautiful, inviting, and entertaining.

6. Charging stations

Don’t make your guests search for an outlet, especially if it’s trapped behind a large piece of furniture. (Been there.) Invest in some chargers, or even bedside lamps with built-in outlets so that your guests have all the power they need within an arm's length of the bed, desk, etc.

7. Luggage racks & storage space

It is a shame to use up valuable living space with a bulky suitcase. But what’s even worse? Having to literally live out of your suitcase. You have the physical problem of wrinkled clothes, plus the emotional burden of feeling like you haven’t actually settled in.

Two words: luggage racks. Okay, two more: storage space. Both of these touches will go a long way toward a great stay and repeat visits.

joy street design sitting living area reading nooks social space guests airbnb bay area
Suitcases could easily be stored under benches like these.

Spa-Inspired Guest Amenities

A great way to approach your guest space is to think about creating a hotel-like environment. What simple pleasures do great hotels offer that will wow your guests when they arrive at your place? 

These small touches are often things that we take for granted in our own homes, but ones that make us feel welcomed and comfortable while traveling.

8. Cozy towels

Just like bedding, towel quality is something you instantly feel. Imagine taking a hot shower that melts all of your cares away, reaching for a towel, and feeling stiff and scratchy material. Um, ouch. Unfortunately, this is all too common in Airbnbs and, yes, even hotels all over the world. 

High quality towels in the bathroom or outside a hot tub are huge selling points. Travelers expect high quality, luxury, and pampering while they are away. So give your towels a feel test before offering to guests. 

And if you’re thinking, “But Kelly, I’m just hosting family,” come on… don’t you think Grandma deserves the best? ;)

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A spa-like experience with scratch-free towels.

9. Bath comforts

Consider some other easy ways that you can make an existing bathroom feel spa-like. How about providing a basket of salts and scrubs for your guests? Even shampoo and conditioner (ladies, you know what I’m talking about!) are nice touches often overlooked. What about a plush robe? Slippers? A bottle of wine?

Touches like these will boost you ahead of the competition… whether it’s the Airbnb down the road or your mother-in-law’s.

10. Tray with water and glasses

The addition of a tray and water glasses instantly elevates your guests’ experience. It’s so simple, it’s almost laughable, but from a design perspective, it just works. Better yet, source the pitcher and glasses from a local artist and make this accessory both functional and beautiful. 

11. Fresh flowers

Last but not least, fresh flowers. Potted orchids, a simple bouquet, or even fresh fruit shows your guests your incredible attention to detail and welcomes them into your space cheerfully. 

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You can see that upgrading your space doesn’t have to be difficult or overly expensive. Small updates add up to a BIG difference. And if you need big updates, you know we’ve got your back! ;)

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