6 simple steps to spare room success
- Credit: PA
It might just be a handy space for visitors but there’s no need to ‘spare’ the style. Follow Gabrielle Fagan’s guide to gorgeous guest rooms...
The guest bedroom - or ‘spare’ - isn’t necessarily the most well-kept room of the house.
If you’re lucky enough to have one, it’s probably either a dumping ground or used as extra storage space most of the year - meaning a mad dash to clear the clutter when visitors are booked in. (Relax, we’ve all got our guilty spare room secrets!)
Hosting overnight guests this festive season? There’s just time, if you move fast, to perform a Christmas miracle and transform a neglected spare room into a space that’s inviting and stylish. Give it a little TLC, splurge on new bedding and perhaps a few fun - or luxury - little extras here and there, and you’ll have it looking (almost) as fabulous as a boutique hotel room, but with homely touches too.
Follow these six simple steps to styling the spare...
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Step 1: Sleep like a Yule log
“Many people have no idea how comfortable their spare bed is, so I always suggest you ‘road test’ it to discover any lumps or bumps or comfort issues,” says Helen Johnson, from The Fine Bedding Company (finebedding.co.uk), which sells a washable Spundown range, including pillows and duvets, with items from £20.
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“A new mattress enhancer or topper may be all that’s needed, which is cheaper than replacing a mattress but can mimic a new bed feel. Next, check care labels on filled duvets and pillows to see if they can be machine-washed at home. Feather and down duvets and those without guidance labels need to be professionally cleaned.
“Finally, give pillows and duvets a good shake before dressing the bed,” she adds, “to even out the filling and return their plumpness.”
Marks & Spencer has a lovely collection of bedding, including a Brushed Cotton Tree Print Bedding Set, £39.50 - £69; and Chunky Pom Pom Cushion, £29.50.
Step 2: Introduce hotel chic
It’s the little things in life that count, and kitting out a room with a few practical items - like a mirror, a side table, or an extra chair - can make all the difference. Guests will feel comfortable and cared for, almost like being at a hotel.
“A pile of clean towels (preferably that have been given 10 minutes in the tumble dryer on the day guests arrive, so they’re fluffed up and fresh) tied up with ribbon will help create an inviting atmosphere,” advises Johnson.
“Fill a ‘just in case’ basket with essentials, like mini-toiletries, a toothbrush, hairbrush, shower cap - things that are all to easy to forget in the rush of packing presents and clothes. Provide a spare mobile phone charger and your home Wi-Fi code written on a postcard as well.”
Step 3: Wow with wallpaper
“Adding a feature wall is an affordable and easy update that will certainly deliver a boutique feel,” says Alex Whitecroft from iwantwallpaper.co.uk.
“Wallpapering just one wall is often easier and quicker than people think - it can definitely be done in a day, and there’s no need to worry about patterns not lining up at corners. Less paper also means less money.
“Guest rooms need to make people feel welcome and appeal to varied tastes, so choosing wallpapers that won’t overpower an overall design scheme is good advice.”
Metallics are an opulent choice, he notes, while a neutral colour scheme is unisex, and pale tones open up a space visually and will allow any additional festive touches, from cushions to decorations, to star.
Step 4: Turn up the heat
“Under-bed storage allows for lots of extra space in a bedroom, and a storage pouffe is another solution. Make sure they contain spare blankets or extra throws, as people can feel colder in other people’s homes, and don’t forget spare pillows,” says Sue Brodie, head of creative design at holiday homes specialists Willerby (willerby.com), who also advises checking that the room’s windows can open and testing radiators to ensure they work.
“All rooms, no matter what size, should have a focal point, as this anchors the space - normally the bed in a spare room,” she adds. “Use colour or pattern behind the bed, so that it’s not distracting or sleep disturbing, and minimise the clutter for a serene and balanced space.”
Step 5: Have fun with festive touches
It’s traditional to ‘deck the halls’ and living room - but why stop there? Carry the festive touches through to the spare room, to make it sparkle with a seasonal glow and feel like part of the celebrations.
You don’t need to go overboard (in fact, subtle is key!). Fill lanterns with Christmas lights, or drape a string of them around a mirror, and pop a miniature tree in a pot on a side table. Cover a few magazines or books in Christmas wrapping paper, and hang a collection of baubles from a door handle or on a cupboard.
Step 6: Spoil the spare
“If a room isn’t regularly used make sure it’s well aired and add a room fragrance candle or diffuser,” advises Johnson.
“A new lamp, cushion or rug can be all that’s needed to give a room a lift and provide a touch of luxury. It’s all about making people feel they have a sanctuary where they can retreat and relax as well as sleep.”