Small Guest Bedroom Ideas: AVOID These 3 Things (+15 Expert Decor Tips)!

Looking for small guest bedroom ideas? You’re in the right place! We’re sharing everything from modern and cozy to small guest room storage tips and decor help!

A small guest bedroom may not be your ideal, but I’m tellin’ ya…they can be some of the coziest spaces (think “nest!”) your guests will ever have the privilege of enjoying!🤗

(Plus, small guest bedrooms are usually a more efficient use of your space, since it’s not a “Daily Use” room!)

In this post I’ll show you examples of what we did in our own small guest bedroom, as well as client projects and designs. (You can also grab our Free Home Design Mini-guide HERE.)

A small guest bedroom with two twin beds with a bedside table and window in-between the beds.
How’d we come up with this lovely layout? There’s more to it than meets the eye (which is why so many people get it wrong)! Our Expert Layout Guide is incredible for figuring out bedrooms! (similar rug here)

I’ll also answer popular questions such as

  • “Is white my only option for a small guest bedroom?”
  • “Can/should I put a bed in front of a window?”
  • “What should I decorate my small guest bedroom with–or not with?”
  • “How to do up a guest bedroom?”
  • “How do you layout a small guest bedroom?”
  • “Why are you giving me such awesome guest bedroom resources for FREE?” (ok, no one asked that, but you can!😊 Answer: I want the world to feel better + more enjoyable for the people in it. Plus, this is my forte, it’s fun, and I hope you enjoy!)

Small spaces also give you an opportunity to not only get creative but to create a really unique space! I’m SO EXCITED TO DO THIS WITH YOU!😄💃🧠💪 Boom pow!

Let’s get on it!


Knowing What NOT To Do Is Just as Important…

First, let’s talk about what NOT to do in your small guest bedroom.

The internet is full of lists telling people what to do in their guest rooms (usually they’re not taking everything into account, but that’s another story)…

…and yet

…people are still making huge mistakes!

Small guest bedroom ideas. A small bed in front of a window. Bed has white bedding.
Sidenote: I typically advise against blocking windows (more tips like that are here), but sometimes there’s no other choice!
Small guest bedroom with two twin beds and large scale art hanging above each bed
Looking for something? Visit our updated SHOP!

One reason I believe these bedroom decor and layout mistakes are happening to people is because knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do.

So here are the biggest mistakes I see people making the most often in small guest bedrooms…


#3: Don’t Confuse “Cozy” with “Overcrowded!”

I love green and all, and I’m definitely for twin beds in guest rooms where it makes sense for the space (and other factors), but this guestroom below barely has enough room for people to comfortably get into bed.

And if two people—even if they’re kids or teenagers—are trying to get in (or out) at the same time, forgetaboutit!

A better solution would be

  • Scooting the beds closer to the side walls (one generous walkway is better than 3 narrow ones)
  • Using a queen or double bed in this space
  • A daybed or trundle setup
  • A folding bed (like we have)
  • Bunk beds
  • Something like this twin bed setup I designed for a client below
Twin beds in a small guest bedroom with art hanging above each bed and a wooden nightstand in-between the two beds.
Join our Insider’s List for FREE and you’ll get our design guide free as well! We’re here to help!


#2: Be Careful About How Dark You Go!

95% of the time I’d say, “Go light in your small guest bedroom!” There are so many reasons for this I’ll discuss below…

…HOWEVER, if you love the dark-n-cozy or a more “moody” feel, this can be done. Just be careful! Have a “light” hand with it (no pun intended). If you’re a design newbie, you may not do this in a balanced way or one that “feels right” to guests. So I won’t say “100% don’t do it!”…I’ll just say, “Be careful, my friend.” 😉

Example of what NOT to do: The person below has “ticked all the boxes” for a dark room (“Dark paint on walls and door? Check. Dark bed? Check. Dark curtains? Check.)…but it’s still not working as beautifully as it could be with some more intelligent style and aesthetic choices!

Dark guest bedroom with monochromatic bed, bedding, wall color and curtains


#1: Avoid Keeping Storage + Personal Collections There!

If you leave this post with only ONE tip on your mind, please make it this one.

Your guest room is NOT the place where you can

  • Keep all your extra furniture your grandparents left you but that aren’t your style/you don’t like seeing out in the rest of the house (this is a recipe for a “cluttered guest room” if I ever I saw one).
  • Store all your extra clothes that don’t fit in your closet and that you don’t wear often or don’t want to get rid of. (This is another subject, and I know it can be a touchy one, but even just for the “unworn clothes smell” alone, keep it out of your guest room.)
  • Finally display your collection of Shot Glasses from The Lower 48 States. (This is YOUR thing and it should be out where YOU enjoy it…or at least nearby your kitchen where they can actually be used and enjoyed by you. What an effort some “collections” take, yet sit unused and gathering dust on shelves over the majority of Western homes.)
A small guest bedroom idea with a twin bed built into an alcove with many shelves above the bed and wooden drawers built into the base of the bed

All too often, people use their guest rooms as extra storage spaces (or display areas for the things you have where your spouse won’t mind).

Avoid this! For the love of all guests, avoid this! 😆

White and airy bedroom with a large bed with white bedding.
Having trouble figuring out what size of rug to put under your king size bed? I got you!


My Top 10 Tips for What To Do!

To make a small guest bedroom work, read through my top 10 and see which resonates with you.

If you can pick just ONE thing to focus on first, you’ll already be ahead of 99% of the readers out there! 🙂 Make it happ’n, cap’n!

Small guest bedroom decor. White walls with a large photo over the bed. Wooden headboard and neutral bedding. Plant in the corner and wooden nightstands flanking the bed
Want a luxury bedroom at home? We walk you through how to do it HERE!


#10: Go Multifunctional!

Opt for multifunctional furniture, like daybeds, sofa beds or Murphy beds, that can effortlessly transform from a seating area to a sleeping haven.

I’ve written about this more in depth (namely, how to create a guest room office combo) HERE

Multifunctional home office and guest bedroom. Large wooden built-ins with two chairs and a wooden desk.
The Only 7 Guest Room-Office Combos You (Actually) Need to Know About!

…and you can see what we chose to do HERE!

Tip: Look for sofa and daybeds with storage compartments underneath to stash away extra bedding and pillows.

Decorating a small guest bedroom

#9: Utilize Clever Storage!

Storage is a precious commodity in a small guest bedroom. (Although I also want you to keep in mind how long your guests are staying, as they don’t typically need HUGE closets or massive dressers to keep all their stuff in!)

My main priority with clever guest room storage is really for ME. I want a place to store the linens and pillows (a huge space-sucker!) and blankets (even huger space-suckers!😉). You can utilize under-bed drawers or floating shelves to keep the floor clear. Built-in closets or wardrobe organizers can help guests keep their belongings organized without taking up valuable space.

Tip: If you have a lot of bedding or only a wee bit of storage, you may want to invest in vacuum-sealed storage bags to condense bulky items like spare blankets, optimizing closet space.

Large wall of a built in closet system. Closet has both drawers and doors.
See how we transformed a DISASTROUS old bedroom space into this Storage Paradise!

Small guest bedroom Decor

#8: Try Foldable Furniture!

Folding furniture pieces are a godsend for small guest bedrooms. Consider foldable desks or nesting tables that can be tucked away when not in use. They provide a functional workspace without overwhelming the room.

Tip: Try choosing a wall-mounted desk to create a workspace that “disappears” when not needed!


#7: Go Lighter & Brighter!

In small bedrooms, light + neutral color palettes are your BFFs!

They open up the space, making it feel larger and more inviting. (But it really depends on your space–you’ll want to read my 7 Strategies for Choosing Your Interior Colors!) Consider shades of white, cream and beiges for the walls and bedding.

Plus, if you’re looking for ideas on how to decorate a small bedroom in low budget, paint is one of the easiest ways to make it fresh and light!

Small guest bedroom with two twin beds and art hanging over each bed. A round table is in the middle of the beds and two matching wooden benches on the ends of the twin beds.
If your small guest bedroom ceiling is a dark color, paint it a lighter or neutral shade and you’ll feel the very real difference!

“light” TIP #1:

Add pops of color through accessories like throw pillows or artwork to prevent the room from feeling too monotonous.

A large piece of art hangs over a modern wooden bed with two modern nightstands on each side of the ed. Neutral bedding.
FREE interior design guide!

“light” TIP #2:

If you want to keep it neutral but still have a pop, use dark blacks or charcoals or deep chocolate browns against your lighter colors! That’ll add interest without needing to add a bunch of colors, which is hard for people who aren’t professional designers to really get right. Whatever you choose, REPEAT IT! The repetition is what will make your eyes happy.😍🤩

“light” TIP #3:

Adequate lighting is crucial in a small guest bedroom. Wall-mounted sconces, pendant lights, or compact reading lights not only save bedside table space but also create a cozy ambiance. Don’t shy away from natural light; embrace it to make the room feel airy and spacious.

A light and airy small guest bedroom ideas. Two twin beds with large art hanging above the beds and two matching benches on the end of the beds.
Our ultimate guide to guest bedrooms!

“light” TIP #4:

One of the reasons I love mirrors isn’t just the Illusion of Space but how they bounce your light around (especially in a small room!). Mirrors come in all shapes and sizes! You can also place a mirror strategically opposite a window to amplify the natural light in the room.

“Light” TIP #5:

If your guests don’t need total blackout shades, you can easily use sheer curtains or semi-see-through woven shades like the below to allow natural light to filter in (while still maintaining privacy)!

White guest bedroom with two twin beds and large artwork hanging above each bed. Two wooden benches sit at the foot of each bed.
Your decor DOES matter to your sleep!
Should you put something over your bed?


#6: Don’t Overdo Your Own Personalization!

Embrace simplicity! When you’re thinking through your small guest bedroom ideas, keep in mind this phrase:

less is more!

Avoid overcrowding the room with personal items or excessive decor, which’ll just look cluttered! If you must hang something on the walls, try to make them functional-while-decorative, such as mirrors or hooks.

A woven daybed in front of a wall of windows is a small guest bedroom idea.
Your best daybed options are outlined HERE!

Small guest bedroom decor

#5: Speaking of Hooks…

Black hooks on a white wall and a bed with neutral bedding.
Free Design Guide (amazingly useful for bedrooms)!

As a guest, I LOVE hooks! I can put my purse there, my jacket, a scarf, a necklace I don’t want to lose on my tiny guest bedroom side table, my outfit for the next day, etc! So if you want to create a room full of hooks like the below, you’ll lure me in as a guest. And I’ll probably talk about your amazing “Hook Paradise Room” for ages. Second only to drawers. 😂🤣

I wouldn’t normally advise hanging items above someone’s head in a bed…

Small guest bedroom decor ideas with large hooks hanging over the bed and a wooden bed and two wooden nightstands
Looking for something you see in our photos? Visit our ever-changing SHOP (or check out our smaller online storefront).

…HOWEVER, if you’re really short on space and we’re talking SERIOUS small guest bedroom ideas where every inch (including the vertical ones!) count, then I don’t disagree with putting some hooks for light items like clothes or scarves above the bed! (Anything that isn’t a danger to your guest’s noggin.)

White wall with hats and hooks hanging on the wall and a bench below the hooks.
A hook setup like this can be useful in your guestroom and in your entryway!

small guest bedroom ideas

#4: Confessions of a Basket Addict Connoisseur

I also looooove baskets in a small guest room!

For example, you can

  • Use a basket instead of a generic trash can (I love this one with a lid…I’m all about garbage cans with lids. Or hiding them entirely.)
  • Use a basket for the extra guest towels.
  • Use a basket for a place to put my shoes.
  • Use a basket as a place for me to keep any dirty clothes a guest may not want to put back in his or her suitcase.
  • Use a basket for the guest to keep any miscellaneous items, such as leashes and dog toys if the guest has brought a pet, or for kids to corral their stuffed animals into.

I LOVE BASKETS, if you can’t tell. 😉 See some of my favorites in our Shop.

decorating a small guest bedroom

#3: Greenery (aka Cue the Freshness!)

Small guest bedroom layout with two twin beds with neutral bedding and greenery in one corner of the room.
See how we made our own fake tree when we needed a specific shape in our room!

Bring the outdoors inside with potted plants or fresh flowers in a beautiful vase or planter (I share a client list of those here)!

Why do I love greenery (especially in a small guest bedroom)? Because it not only adds a burst of color but also purifies the air, which just makes everything smell fresh and extra clean for your guests. Choose low-maintenance plants like succulents or snake plants to keep things hassle-free (I share my list along with tips in this post about sleeping better at night)!

Tip: If natural plants aren’t your forte, consider high-quality artificial plants that look incredibly realistic. That will at least add the fresh look and greenery element visually, which is better than nothing at all! 🙂

Decorating a small guest bedroom with large pieces of greenery art above two twin beds with a nightstand and large lamp in-between beds
My other decor “trick” you can use if you really don’t want to add or maintain real greenery is to add the greenery in your artwork! 😉 (You’re welcome.)


#2: Try Not to Block the Window!

I realize this can be hard in a small guest room, but I really really try to arrange small guest rooms in such a way that they do NOT block the windows (or what’s usually the ONLY window!) to the room!

Why? Because this

  • Allows your guest to access fresh air.
  • Allows your guest to look outside easily.
  • Gives an airier feeling.
  • Allows you to do floor-to-ceiling drapes or curtains (this is important! so much better than the shorties!)
  • Feels so much more open with the light into the room isn’t blocked in any way.

I’ve only heard one person ever specifically ask for their bed to be in front of a window. She said she liked to sit and look out the window when she woke up in the morning. But remember, you often can see better out your window when your bed isn’t directly in front of it! Just a thought.

Of course, there are certain rare super-small guest bedroom layouts that only allow you to have a bed in front of a window (such as a built-in bed, like a daybed), and there are DEFINITELY certain situations I am 100% in favor of that! It really depends on your room!

Light and airy guest bedroom with large art above a wooden bed and sconces hanging from the wall. A woven rug lays on the floor
In my Expert Room Layout Guide, I discuss more of my “Design Rules” like this for amazing bedroom layouts!

small guest bedroom decor

#1: A Genuinely Personalized Welcome!

Fun and/or personalized touches really help a guest feel welcome!

  1. Frame a welcome note or a WiFi password (we’ve created 5 FREE printable designs you can choose from!) and place it on the bedside table.
  2. Add a small tray with bottled water, glasses, and perhaps a few snacks to make your guests feel instantly and genuinely welcomed!
  3. Once, a guest was coming soon after my daughters and I had made our own toothpaste, so we put some of our favorite peppermint flavor into a cute little jar we had been saving, stamped her a label, and she LOVED it! (You don’t need to make your own toothpaste—you do you!—just using a real life example from my world.)
  4. Provide a variety of pillow types (soft, firm, hypoallergenic) to cater to different guest preferences.
  5. Same with blankets. Giving options helps a guest feel like they have a hand in choosing their own comfort levels without having to come ask you every time they need or are missing something.
Small guest bedroom decor idea. A large piece of art hangs above an upholstered bed with two wooden night stands and matching lamps on each side of the bed.
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If you missed the below design help, you’ll want to check out

  1. Peek at The Massive Space-Saving Hack We Did In Our Guest Room!
  2. Under-bed Rug Sizes: The Only 7 Rules You Need!
  3. The Ultimate Guide to Guest Bedrooms (+ FREE Guestroom Printables for you)!
  4. 7 Strategies for Choosing Interior Colors!
  5. The Expert Room Design & Layout Guide (instantly downloadable!)
  6. See a list of The Only 7 Office Guest Room Ideas You Need!

PS: Click to see all our home projects HERE!

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