How to Get Your Guest Room Ready (Checklist)

Here’s everything you need to know to get your guest room ready for overnight visitors for the holidays and beyond. From decor to functionality, to meeting guests’ needs, you’ll find my best tips plus a printable checklist to follow.

everything you need to know to get your guest room ready

Having guests stay overnight is the ultimate in home entertaining. And during the holiday season you may begin to feel like you have a revolving door as friends and family come and go. Get your guest room in shape for visitors with my tips and checklist for the ultimate in hospitality!

We’ve been hosting overnight stays for friends and family for 25 years, and now that the kids are grown we occasionally host their friends from collage. I actually love it!

These are my best practices for getting things prepared for out-of-town or overnight guests, and I cover everything from designing the room itself to outfitting it for the needs of travelers. I’m also sharing simple tips on hospitality and a printable checklist to follow.

bedroom with daybed.

Get Your Guest Room Ready

Even if you fill it with furniture castaways from other rooms, make the guest room inviting and cozy. If you can, I suggest you have a full size bed at least. It can sleep two, although tightly.

I started with a daybed with trundle because we already had it. It’s the perfect transitional piece of furniture for the space. It’s a sofa by day, and with a pop-up trundle bed underneath, it can sleep 2 at night.

Quick Tip

If you have a designated guest room, give it a personality of its own. It’s a space you can decorate completely different from the rest of the house.

*Post contains affiliate links. I earn commission from Amazon purchases.

bed side tray table

Create a Neutral Space

Design a room that can accommodate all ages and genders. This room has kind of a lounge feel for everyday use, but appeals to guests whether male or female, young or old.

  1. Keep the bedding simple and neutral. That makes it a great canvas for decorative pillows – a MUST for a daybed. It’s all about balance when it comes to mixing and matching pillows. My rule of thumb is to add color, graphic prints, and texture. I used the orange patterned pillow, the fuzzy fur pillow, and the black and white pillow to help do that.
  2. A coordinating throw at the end of the bed is necessary so you can curl up with your feet underneath and read a book or magazine.
  3. Provide usable surfaces next to the bed. Use what you have. I thought about buying bedside tables, but I ended up really liking the eclectic look of using what I already own. A tray table at one end, and a stack of vintage suitcases at the other does the same job as a bedside table. Place fresh water and glasses for guests, as well as fresh flowers.
  4. Add decoration to the walls with a mix of artwork. A collage wall can include inspirational quotes, black and white photography, canvas art, small mirrors, colorful prints, and empty frames.

Quick Tip

Create easy DIY art by placing pretty scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, even fabric in a matted picture frame.

mid century modern yellow chair

Make It Functional

  1. Add an occasional chair for guests to sit in so they don’t have to lounge on the bed. It can also double as a drop spot for purses or jackets. Add a pillow to bring color to that side of the room.
  2. Add an area rug. If you have wood floors you’ll want a larger rug for foot comfort. If you have carpet already, add a decorative rug that helps frame the space. My black and white rawhide rug adds an eclectic touch.
  3. Hang dark or light-blocking curtains to help control the amount of light that comes in. Regular blinds don’t block sunlight very well so these charcoal gray curtains can be pulled closed to provide extra shade for sleeping in.
  4. It’s also a good idea to have a charging station, an alarm clock, and box of tissues close by.
  5. scented candle freshens the room, or you can opt for a lightly scented room spray, linen spray, or fragrant stick diffuser.
  6. Plug in a nightlight so they’re not stumbling over things in case they go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. It’s also helpful if they’re entering the room at the end of the evening to go to bed.

Quick Tip

If it’s Christmastime, add a few decorative holiday touches to the room. Hang a wreath on the wall, fill a bowl with ornaments, or put cut evergreens in a vase.

guest room closet
  1. Stock the closet with flocked non-slip hangers (I love these), pant/skirt hangers, as well as a clean robe.
  2. Add the extra touch of providing a pair of cozy slippers. They’re inexpensive and guests can take them with them when they leave.
  3. Everyone’s sleep comfort is different. Have extra pillows and blankets neatly folded and at the ready.

Quick Tip

If you have photos of your guests, add them to a bedside frame as a special welcoming touch!

suitcase bench
  1. Have a small stool or luggage rack awaiting your guests’ suitcase or travel bag.

Provide Amenities

A well stocked guest room includes amenities that visitors may have forgotten to pack, as well as useful items to make them more comfortable.

The shared bathroom in our home is rather small so instead of storing items in there I fill pretty boxes for the guest room. 

guest room table
  1. Turn a console table into an amenities center. Use decorative boxes to fill with supplies your guests might need.
  2. Add a little “welcome” card where you can put your WiFi code so guests can log on. Go the extra mile and write a sweet personalized message to your guest and let them know you’re happy to have them.

Quick Tip

Fill a basket with books you’ve already read and let guests know they can choose one to start reading and take with them.

guest room box of supplies
  1. Provide snacks for them to enjoy without feeling like they have to ask. Fill a box with chips, nuts, snack bars, apples, and mints.
  2. If you don’t want to have a carafe of water in the room, you can add a couple of bottles of water instead. Mini bottles of wine are also a nice touch.
  3. Don’t forget to add Advil or Tylenol to the table. Travel can be stressful! Not to mention it helps when you’ve had too much wine the night before.
box filled with miniature toiletries for guest room.
  1. Fill another box with toiletry items they may have forgotten. Along with the usual bath items, I’ve included a shower cap, a lint roller, wrinkle remover spray, makeup remover wipes, deodorant, and hairspray.

Quick Tip

Stock up on travel size items as well as unused bath gels and lotions from your hotel stays.

guest room amenities
  1. Stock up on some fabulous chic toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. Place small bar soap in an apothecary jar.
  2. Place a tray on the table to corral everything together, and guests can put jewelry or other small things in.
towels for guests in box
  1. Provide a storage chest or basket filled with towels and washcloths. Make sure they’re in good condition!
  2. Also make sure you have hooks for wet towels so they can hang to dry. Over-the-door hooks are great for this.
  3. Provide some magazines to read, and have a small trashcan handy.

Hospitality Tips

The bottom line is to show your guests you’re so happy they’re there. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind.

  • Think like a traveler so you stay a step ahead in fulfilling their needs.
  • Take a que from hotels and resorts. At the end of the day turn on the light and turn down the covers while your guests are occupied elsewhere. It’s a thoughtful task that will make them feel pampered when they walk in later.
  • Offer them a drink and snack when they arrive. It’s a lovely way to say “Welcome!” You can prepare a charcuterie board or mezze plates for easy noshing.
  • If you’ll be providing dinner, make it an easy casserole or the best spaghetti & meat sauce.
  • Give them a quick lay of the land. Let them know what is available and where everything is. If dinner or other plans are at a specific time, make sure they know.
  • Clean the clutter from the closet or room, if there is any. They’ll need plenty of space for their things.
  • Be respectful of their privacy and their need for down time. Hang a Do Not Disturb sign on the door handle. It’s whimsical and functional!
  • Prepare a self-serve meal for the next morning. A simple bagel breakfast in the morning is great for them to help themselves. Or choose any of my delicious breakfast recipes to start the day with.

Quick Tip

For holidays that are centered around family traditions (Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter) try to incorporate something that makes your guests feel like home. It may be their favorite holiday food or drink, or other tradition they’re accustomed to with their family.


Are you ready to start taking reservations? Grab this free printable checklist so you can have everything ready for your guests’ needs.

free PRINTABLE guest room check list

I hope you’ll use these tips to get your guest room ready and make your guests’ stay as comfortable as possible. The key to being a good hostess is to think about their needs ahead of time and be prepared. Decorate in your own style but make it comfortable and inviting.

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  1. Now that my son has moved out for good, we are turning his room into a guest room (with permission, of course!). I really like the look of your guest room in the images. I especially like the modern look but with the vintage, quirky twist. Great inspiration for what I could do with mine!

  2. I’m in love with this room. I have searched high and low for an ottoman or pouf that I love and the one you have in this room is gorgeous and bonus, it looks soft! Wherever did you find it?

  3. I too love to have a well stocked guest room. The only thing I have is a welcome card that lets the guest know that they can help themselves to any and all amenities and that we are thrilled to have them as guests. In the bathroom there is a hair band, cotton swabs and cotton make up remover pads. I also provide disposable hand towels in the bathroom. That way the guest is certain that the towel they wipe their hands on is clean. I hate to wonder where to wipe my hands at someone’s house.
    great job, love the decor.

    1. Thanks Kris. I love your ideas too. The disposable towels are a great touch, and they make such nice ones that you can coordinate with your decor if you like.

  4. Such a bright and cheery guest room! I love the little unique touches like the emerald and copper colored glasses by the water bottle, the wooden toothbrushes and my favorite, the large, golden Jack! Fabulous!

    1. Thanks Stacie. I love those toothbrushes too – so much better looking than the brightly colored plastic ones we see in stores. And the jack used to be silver 😉

  5. put me on the list! love the room, the checklist and thanks for the fuzzy pillow link, i’ve been looking for one!

  6. With a guest room like that, you’ll have permanent visitors, Chris! Love all the touches of gold throughout! Really need to get me some vintage suitcases.

    1. Those were a great find about 10 years ago. They sat in storage for the longest time until I started styling parties & now on to the guest room!

  7. Lovely. I am obsessed with wall art collages too, just love your groupings. There are so many things to love here, the suitcases, the rug, the chair, the wall art. Fabulous as always.

  8. looks great Chris! My fave item in this room is that FAB yellow chair & the pillow! Whereever did you get those? 😉