A joy-sparking guest room can soothe even the most travel-weary visitor, no matter how many flight delays or how long the drive. Creating a welcoming, tranquil and private space will make them instantly feel at home — and ready to enjoy the time you’ll spend together.
We asked two of our certified KonMari consultants, Alichia Pretorius (Journey to Joy, Johannesburg, South Africa) and Nancy Eaton (Inspired Living, Newport Beach, California), to share their best advice on how to create a joy-sparking guest room.
Whether you’re decorating and organizing a guest room for the first time or need help with an existing room that’s begun to feel cluttered, these tips will help. Use this guide to prepare your home for holiday season visitors or any time you’re looking forward to a loved one’s visit.
This article is part one of our Fall Tidying Challenge, a month-long series to help you use the KonMari Method™ to prepare for seasonal visitors, end-of-year travels, and more — all while keeping your space tidy and cozy.
01. Consider Your Ideal Guest Room Experience
Before you start organizing or purchasing guest room decor or supplies, our consultants suggest you take some time to consider what would make you feel most at home when traveling.
“A clever way to think about this: Consider all the little things you miss when you are away from home,” says Alichia. “Things like a bedside light, snacks to enjoy and somewhere to easily open a suitcase. A small bench or chair can work just fine if you cannot invest in a luggage rack. People often strive for beautiful guest rooms, which is okay, but make sure the guest room is functional, too.”
Nancy also recommends a comfortable chair for reading or relaxing if you have room. This allows guests to take breaks and spend some time alone during the day.
02. Stock Thoughtfully
Here are a few goods and items Alichia and Nancy suggest putting in your guest room. Remember, these are what they call “nice to haves,” not requirements — stock your space in a way that sparks joy for you and your guests!
- A card or note with house details, including the wifi password, a good book or magazine, and perhaps a set of spare keys, so they can move about freely
- Plenty of matching hangers for both shirts and dresses and pants and skirts
- A basket for laundry (see here, here, or here)
- Extra toilet paper, a tissue box, etc.
- A joy-sparking scent. Fresh cut flowers, Japanese incense or a hand-poured candle “can really set the mood and provide relief from freezing temperatures,” says Alichia. Nancy likes spraying sheets with a linen spray to give the room a fresh, welcoming feeling
- A water carafe and glass and/or an electric tea kettle and assorted teas
- In the colder months: an electric blanket, hot water bottle, a cozy down comforter
- Different types of firm or soft pillows or a bathrobe for each guest
- A white noise machine for light sleepers
03. Make It Multi-Functional
Even if you have frequent visitors, your guest room will be vacant for much of the year. How can you set up your guest room so it sparks joy for you when not in use? Many of us also use our guest room as a home office, which works just fine, so long as everything has a proper place — and you leave room for guests’ possessions, too.
“Most of us need to make use of our guest rooms when we don’t have loved ones visiting,” says Alichia. “The trick is to keep drawer and closet space under control, so you don’t have to rush in and declutter before your guests come to stay. Your guests will likely appreciate some storage space for their belongings, so keep one or two drawers open at all times.”
Pretorius also encourages people to get creative with their guest room decor. “You can maximize storage space with innovative, multifunctional furniture,” she says. “If your guest room doubles as an office space, you can create privacy for guests by using a room divider. A daybed is a good investment if you need an extra bed for guests that you can use for extra seating during the day.”
04. Remember What They Forgot
No matter how organized our travel bag is, we all forget an essential item occasionally. Spark unexpected joy by anticipating the unexpected. “A client that we had entertained overnight guests a lot, so we created an “In case you forgot” lidded basket, which we stored under the sink in the guest room bathroom,” says Nancy. “It included everything you would have in your travel bag. She loved it, and so did her guests.”
Designing the perfect guest room is a process. When a loved one visits, ask them what sparked joy about their stay. You’ll discover what matters most to guests and what you might add to the room to make it more welcoming next time. Above all, remember that guests come to spend time with you! Enjoy this special time together.
Interested in working with Alichia or Nancy? You can find them in our consultant directory, along with other KonMari experts worldwide. Or you can become a consultant through our online certification program!