budget friendly guest room tips

Twelve Ideas to Update Your Guest Room before the Holidays

budget friendly guest room tips

Twelve easy budget friendly ideas to update your guest room before the holidays. - Jillian Lare

It’s the last week of October, which means the holidays are right around the corner! If you’re expecting overnight guests this holiday season, now would be a great time to spruce up your guest bedroom to ensure that they experience a comfortable and cozy visit. It doesn’t have to be time-consuming or cost a lot of money to add those extra little touches that show your guests you care.

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I like to think about my favorite hotels and how they create a standout experience. It rarely has anything to do with how expensive or luxurious the hotel is. Often, it’s those thoughtful little touches like a free bottle of water, a soft duvet cover, or a place to charge my phone by the bed that stick in my mind after we’ve gone home. So, here are twelve ideas for your guest bedroom that you can tackle over the next several weeks to create a memorable stay for your guests.

Upgrade your bedding

My goal for my guest bed is for it to be as comfortable (if not more so) than my guest’s bed at home. Comfy bedding does not have to break the bank. My favorite place to purchase sheets and blankets is actually Target. They are high quality and come in super cute patterns, which often go on sale.

The key to comfortable bedding is in the mix. Different people like different types of bedding. I start with a padded mattress cover and add super soft sheets and pillowcases. Then I layer on a light cotton blanket for summer. In winter, I might swap it out for a cozy fleece blanket. I add a light quilt to top it off and drape a folded duvet with cover to the end of the bed. If my guest gets hot, she can kick off the duvet, but she has plenty of options in case she gets cold.

Pull the bed away from the wall

Amber Interiors

This is not college, and your guest bed should not be pushed up against the wall unless there is literally no other option. It’s definitely not fun for the person who has to sleep along the wall (usually me), especially if the bed is only a full size. You need a scant 24″ between the bed and wall, but even 18″ would do in a pinch.

Once you’ve moved the bed, make sure to add a surface and a light on each side. This could be as simple as a wall-mount shelf paired with a sconce in a tight space. Ideally, each side of the bed should have a light source and a surface for a glass of water.

Add a chair or bench

Brady Tolbert Bedroom Makeover

Brady Tolbert via Emily Henderson

Consider adding a chair to a corner or bench at the foot of the bed if you have room. It’s the perfect spot to toss clothes at the end of the day, set down a purse or bag, or put on shoes. You can also place fresh towels or a welcome basket on the bench for your guests prior to their arrival.

Make space in the closet

I use my guest room closet for overflow storage too, but I like to keep a little room with empty hangers so my guests can hang up clothes that are easily wrinkled as well as their outerwear. Leave the closet door a little ajar before they arrive, so they can see you’ve thought ahead.

Clean out a dresser drawer

If your guests are going to be staying for longer than a couple days, it’s nice for them to have a place to unpack their clothes. I like to pull everything out of my suitcase and repack it with dirty clothes as I wear them.

Provide a charging station

Have you ever stayed in someone’s guest room and not been able to find a single outlet to charge your phone? Or forgotten your phone charger at home? Both situations are totally frustrating. Make sure an outlet is visible for your guests and pick up a couple of cheap charging cords – one for Apple products and one for Android. If the most convenient outlet by the bed is behind the bed, run an extension cord to each nightstand. They are incredibly inexpensive, and your guests will really appreciate this small gesture.

This Conway Electric extension cord with USB ports is a splurge that I’m considering for my bedroom, but its cool design means it can sit out on a table vs. being tucked under or behind furniture. Plus it comes in several fun color combos.

Hang blackout curtains

If your guest room currently lacks any sort of window treatment or the current shades are hard to operate or looking kind of sad, consider hanging some blackout draperies. IKEA sells inexpensive curtain rods and blackout panels that you can hem with the included ironing tape. This is a quick weekend project that will make a world of difference for your guests’ ability to sleep well. Install the rod so that there are about six inches on either side of the window for the curtains to stack back and at a height where the bottom of the curtains just kiss the ground.

I like Target and World Market for inexpensive curtain panels, but they don’t have a great selection of blackouts. If you have a little more room in the budget, West Elm makes great blackout curtains. Not a fan of curtains in general? You can purchase woven wood shades with a blackout liner at Lowe’s that can be cut to size. We used one in the guest room of our last house with a set of simple IKEA curtain panels. It looked great and was super functional for both privacy and light control.


West Elm Belgian Flax Linen Curtain

Add a mirror (or two)

Hang a full-length mirror on the back of the door or in an inconspicuous spot, so your guest can check her outfit without having to leave the room. It doesn’t need to be fancy. You should also add a wall mirror over the dresser or another surface so she can do her makeup without having to tie up the bathroom. This is critical if you only have one bathroom or your guests share a bathroom with your kids. Bonus points for adding an outlet or extension cord so she can dry her hair.

Update the lighting

If your guest room suffers from poor lighting or even no lighting, consider adding some additional lamps. For example, you could place a small lamp on the dresser or a floor lamp in a corner.

If the ceiling lighting is particularly harsh, it’s usually fairly easy to install a dimmer switch. Make sure all of the lightbulbs in the room are 2700 kelvins for a warm inviting glow (you can find the kelvins on the back of the box). The higher the kelvins the cooler the light, and cooler light is less flattering and more disruptive to sleep.

Install a row of hooks

It drives me nuts when my husband throws his clothes on the floor at night. Hooks are an easy storage solution especially in smaller rooms that might not have room for a dresser or lack a true closet. Install a Shaker style peg rack or a row of hooks so that your guests can easily hang up their clothes and jackets.

Provide those little extras

Nord Architecture

Finally, assemble a small box or basket of items that your guests may have forgotten like toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, q-tips, shaving cream, etc. This is a great way to make use of sample size products you’ve snagged from hotels or received as a gift with purchase. Include a couple of bottles of water in case they forget to bring a glass to bed with them. You might also add little packets of Tylenol and Tums in case everyone stayed up a little too late having cocktails. Place at least one box of tissues in the room and stash a small wastebasket somewhere. Print out a little card with the name of your wifi network and password for easy reference and place it on the dresser or nightstand.

Going Above and Beyond

  • Create a little coffee station with an inexpensive pod coffee maker and a pitcher of water. Or an electric kettle with an assortment of tea including decaf varieties.
  • Arrange fresh flowers in a pretty vase on the dresser before they arrive.
  • Stock a drawer or basket with a folder full of takeout brochures for local attractions. Include a copy of the free local magazine so they can read up on what’s happening in your city.
  • Print up a list of nearby conveniences like gas stations, Starbucks, the grocery store, etc. If your guests get up early and want a snack or a latté, they won’t have to wait around for you to wake up.

By following even some of these tips, you can upgrade your guest bedroom and provide your guests with a comfortable and relaxing space to retire or escape during their visit with you. The best part is that most of them are inexpensive fixes that you can tackle over time.

Do you have a favorite friend or family member that you love to visit because they have an awesome guest room? What is it about that room that makes it feel special? My guess is that it’s nothing fancy or expensive, but the considerate little touches that make you feel at home.

PS. You can use all of these ideas to upgrade your master bedroom as well!

Twelve easy budget friendly ideas to update your guest room before the holidays. - Jillian Lare
DIY Jewelry Display Bracelets

DIY Jewelry Organizer

DIY Jewelry Display Bracelets
I have been thinking about making a new bracelet display for my craft show table since last year. I had been hanging bracelets in this little wooden cabinet I got at Hobby Lobby. It was cute, but I think the bracelets were pretty difficult to see inside the cabinet, and they didn’t really pop. I came up with this new display pretty quickly and put it together in about twenty minutes.


  • Open backed frame (like one for a canvas).
  • Foam core board
  • Light colored fabric (I used muslin that I had on hand), ironed
  • Light weight batting
  • Glue gun
  • Display easel
  • Pins for securing the bracelets

Measure the opening on the back of the frame (not the front), and cut out a piece of foam core that is smaller both widthwise and lengthwise by 1/16″ – 1/8″ as long as it still rests easily in the opening. Cut a piece of batting  and a piece of the fabric that is larger than the foam core by 1″ all around. Wrap the foam core with the batting, gluing in place. You can trim and miter the corners, if you want. Repeat with the fabric.

DIY Jewelry Display Bracelets

Place the upholstered foam core in the frame. I glued my foam core in place in the frame. You could choose not to do this if you wanted to easily switch out the foam core for a new look. In that case, I might just use painters tape, since it doesn’t really matter what the back looks like. Use pins to secure the bracelets in place.

This project cost me about $16.00 because I already had everything but the frame and the foam core. Both were 50% off at Hobby Lobby. You can also attach a sawtooth hanger to the back of the frame and use this to display your own jewelry. I like that I can easily reposition the pins so that I can change up the display configuration or use it for necklaces or earrings.

Rotating Jewelry Display

This is an earring display that Keegan made for me last year. It was just a piece of reclaimed wood 4″x4″ post nailed and glued to a pine base with eye hooks screwed into it for hanging earrings. People really really liked this piece at shows, and I got tons of compliments on it. They also tried to spin it around, but unfortunately it didn’t spin. I didn’t use it at the last couple shows because it was so time consuming to put kidney and lever back ear wires on the eye hooks.

DIY Rotating Jewelry Display

So, I went to the Woodsmith Store and bought L-hooks to replace the eye hooks and a 3″ lazy susan mechanism. Now I can quickly slip the earrings on and off the hooks and browsers can actually spin it around. I have three more of these posts and plan to update all of them with the lazy susan and L-hooks when the Woodsmith Store gets more in stock, since I bought them out today. I would estimate that this project would take about a half-hour per post from start to finish. The lazy susan is attached with four little wood screws.

DIY Rotating Jewelry Display

No, we haven’t hung our concert posters yet. Maybe Sunday…