Here’s the ultimate list of everything you should include in your guest bedroom during the holidays, what to do if you don’t have a guest bedroom, and a few bonus additions to make your guests feel extra special. Written in partnership with Wayfair.
During the wintertime, we have more houseguests than usual, especially if your family and friends live out of town. These visits extend past a night or two, so it’s important to do a little prep work to your guest bedroom so it serves your temporary roomie better. Here are my top tips for setting up a holiday guest space and everything you should stock it with.
Guest Bedroom Essentials
The main essential for a guest bedroom is, well, the bed. A new mattress isn’t always in the budget, but if it is, I definitely recommend upgrading it. You don’t have to buy a really expensive mattress for this room since it isn’t being used that often, but you do want to get something that is comfortable enough for guests to sleep in. (And if your house is like mine, it should also be comfortable enough for you to sleep in too in case you need to sneak away from a snoring partner)
I got this memory foam mattress for our guest bedroom three years ago when we moved into our house, and everyone has complimented us on how comfy it is. And the truth is it was one of the most basic and inexpensive mattresses on Wayfair’s website. I almost didn’t want to tell them that since they thought they were sleeping on a luxury bed!
If a new mattress isn’t in your budget right now, a cooling foam topper is a great alternative for an old spring mattress. These go over the mattress and add an instant layer of comfort for a small price tag.
And if you have guests over that have a young child, it’s a good idea to put an air mattress or pop-up crib in the room. Let them know that these are already provided to save them some car space when they’re packing and traveling. The less you’ve got to drag on a trip with children, the better. You can store the sheets and blankets for the secondary bed in a large basket in the room.
Pillows are a hot topic when it comes to preferences. Some like memory foam, some like them firm and supportive, and some like a soft squishy place to rest their head. One of the easiest way to make your guests feel extra special is to provide a few options of pillows to choose from.
I like to put two memory foam pillows on the bed, then stack one firm and one soft pillow. They get to test out what they like best, and there’s extras in the closet in case both partners prefer the same firmness. Guests feel like they’re at a fancy hotel with all these pillow options, and they can use the extras to elevate their feet after a long day of sightseeing or prop up their back to read before bedtime.
The Bed Linens
Adding to that fancy hotel vibe are the bed linens. I always recommend using white bed sheets because we associate them with being clean. Dress the bed with a breathable set of sheets, and skip the urge to use flannels. While they’re super cozy in the wintertime, some people are hot sleepers and will be miserable in sheets that thick.
To give guests the ability to manage how warm or cool their bed is, add a variety of blankets to the room. A thin quilt or bedspread should be the base, then you can layer on a cozy down alternative comforter, knitted throw blanket, and additional blankets. This puts them in control of their sleep temperatures and can adjust as needed.
The guest bedroom or bathroom is not the place to hand off your old towels that have been banished to the back of the linen closet. Treat your guests to a set of new white towels that are free of any stains. White towels are easy to clean because you can bleach them, and they just give off a luxurious vibe.
One suggestion I got from some of my Instagram audience is to also provide a set of black towels. These can be used for removing makeup or when someone is on their period. From experience, it’s ultra embarrassing to get foundation or blood on someone’s white towels, so I think this is an incredibly thoughtful idea. Definitely a must-have that I’ll be implementing in my own guest room ASAP.
Other Guest Room Must-Haves
In addition to the items above, there are a few other essentials when it comes to stocking a comfortable guest bedroom. I asked my Instagram audience what their guest bedroom must-haves were, and here were the most recurring suggestions:
- Trash can
- Extension cord
- Hooks to hang things
- Wi-Fi password written down somewhere
Extra Special Guest Bedroom Additions
Now that you’ve stocked the basics, let’s chat about how you can make your guests feel extra special while they’re staying with you. These items aren’t required, but adding even a few of them is such a generous way to welcome your guests and let them know you’re grateful for spending time with them.
One thing to remember when guests are staying in your home is that they want and need some downtime. For some, all this interaction is overwhelming and they need a little escape every once in a while to regroup.
Try not to pack the day too full so guests have time after breakfast, in the afternoon, and in the evening to get away for some quiet time if they need it. You can stash any of these entertainment items in the room to use during this time:
- Current magazines, puzzle books, or easy reading books with segments instead of a storyline (like comics, short story collections, or coffee table books)
- Notebook and pens for jotting down ideas or journaling about their day
- Small interactive toy or two if guests are bringing kids (they likely brought some toys, but these are new to kids so they’ll be more interesting than the ones they already have)
- A television or tablet
Comfort & Care Items
As much as we all try to pack everything we need when we take a trip, we sometimes (or often) forget at least one thing. By taking time to stock comfort and care items in the room and letting guests know to help themselves, they won’t stress over asking to borrow something or have to go out to town to buy what they need. Here’s a list of items you can pick and choose from to stock your space:
- Travel-sized toiletries, packaged toothbrushes, single-use medications, and mini first aid kit
- Nail clippers, tweezers, hair dryer, and magnifying mirror
- Phone chargers (both Apple and Android), extension cord, and power adapters for international guests
- Sound machine or tabletop fan, packaged earplugs, and sleep mask
- Feminine products (pads and tampons), heating pad, leakproof bed mat for preventing period spots on bedding (she would be so embarrassed and so grateful for this!)
- Snacks, water, and mints (ask about food allergies first)
- Batteries and a screwdriver (especially if guests have kids, because their favorite toy likely needs them both)
- Robe, slippers, and fuzzy socks
Special Decor Items
Aside from the small things you can put in a guest bedroom or bathroom to provide your friends with all the things they might need, you can also add a few decor touches to make them feel more comfortable.
My go-to holiday addition is a small tree decorated with lights and ornaments during the holiday season. It instantly ups the cozy factor. Here’s some of my other personal favorites, along with some suggestions from my IG friends:
- Luggage rack to keep bags off the floor
- Lamps with USB ports
- Nightstand with drawers
- Fresh flowers with minimalistic vase
- A framed photo of the guest and the host (cute idea sent in by many viewers, and a digital frame makes swapping the photos easy with no printing)
- Small candy dish
- Water carafe and bedside drinking glass
- Blackout curtains
Prepping A Guest Space When You Don’t Have A Spare Bedroom
Not everyone has a spare bedroom, and actually, this is the first house I’ve ever owned that did. So between my years of first-hand experience as both a hostess and a houseguest, I have some tips for creating a cozy and comfortable space for guests even if they won’t have their own room.
Fill A Caddy With Useful Items In An Accessible Place
Stock up a caddy or basket with travel-sized toiletries, extra chargers, snacks, and other items from the lists above and place it somewhere in the house that they can get to at any time. By creating this hub for them to grab things as they please, they will feel like they have a safe place to get what they need without feeling intrusive.
Provide A Place To Store Their Stuff
This is a biggie. While your friends and family don’t mind at all to sleep on the sofa, they probably don’t want their bag of clothes sitting out in the living room. Find a small space in your home for them to keep their bags, shoes, electronics, and other belongings that isn’t out in the open but is easy to get to. Maybe it’s a corner in the dining room or a nook in your office.
Use A Laundry Hamper For Pillows & Blankets
If your guests are sleeping on a couch, fold-out bed, or air mattress in your main living space, they’ll likely have to take apart their bedding during the daytime. Leave out a large laundry hamper to store blankets, pillows, and other bedding items when they’re not in use. It feels so much cleaner and cozier than just throwing them in the floor in a corner.
Stock Your Guest Space With Wayfair
All the guest room essentials I used in my own home were purchased from Wayfair, along with some of the furniture and decor pieces. I love shopping Wayfair.com because I can get everything I need from one place.
Bed linens, luggage rack, towels, decor, even the bed and mattress can be ordered at once without bouncing around to different sites and paying multiple shipping charges. Here’s all the items I bought for my holiday guest room if you want to get the same look.