Are Guest Rooms A Waste of Space? (Really?)

We’ve included a guest room in the plans for our extension, but we haven’t had an ‘official’ one for over ten years. So do you really need one?

If you have the space, guest rooms are a good idea as they not only provide more comfort for your guests, but can also be used for other activities such as gaming and reading when nobody is visiting. Guest rooms can raise the value of your home, and can be rented on Airbnb for extra income too.

Let’s dive down into the subject of guest rooms in more detail, and discover what size one should be, what should go in one – and what you can do if you don’t have space for a guest room in the first place…

Are Guest Rooms A Waste of Space?

Do You Really Need a Guest Room?

Sure, if your home is the size of the Crawley’s, this question may not be for you. But for the rest of us, a guest bedroom can be a pretty precious space investment. Most experts say that, even if you hardly ever have guests overnight – it’s still worth it.

For one, you might not always be a hermit. There are many instances where you may like a space for someone to sleep over. Times like holidays, weddings, relationship crises or medical emergencies – like pandemic quarantines. 

With a spare room, you can consider side gigs like renting it out with Airbnb.

Also consider that a guest room doesn’t have to collect dust in between guests. Make it a multi-purpose room. Push the bed up against a wall for a little more room and make yourself a reading nook.

Got books? Use that spare room as a reading room with plenty of books on shelves, a cozy chair, a furry throw and a floor lamp. Use it for your hobbies. Install a Murphy bed and use it for your home office.

Got a shoe collection to rival Imelda Marcos? Or lots of winter coats? Turn the extra space into a walk-in closet. 

Are you a master gamer? Consider making your spare room a spare room/game room. Game rooms need space for a desk, a chair, and tons of tech plus crazy LED lighting.

Then, there’s the value when you want to sell your home. Sure, buying a home with an extra bedroom will cost you a little more when you buy. But you can reap what you sow. When the time comes to sell your home, that extra bedroom will have that much more value.

What’s The Point of a Guest Room?

A room dedicated to your guests, filled with things that will please them, and allowing them some privacy, is the best way to make guests feel welcome.

What is a Good Size Guest Room?

Experts say that the average size of a guest bedroom is 450 square feet. That size leaves room for a double bed, two small bedside tables, a chest of drawers and an armchair.

If you don’t have that kind of space, don’t panic. There are lots of ideas for smaller rooms.

Check out Murphy beds. Murphy beds fold up against the wall when not in use and pull down as twin or double beds at night. Murphy beds have been around for a while and there are many beautiful models to choose from. 

Daybeds are good choices for small guest rooms. Daybeds are typically twin – or twin XL – size. The frame has three sides so when it’s not used for sleeping it can double as a couch. Dress up the couch with lots of pillows and comfy throws.

If you have the space, some daybeds have trundle beds, too. These twin size beds pull out from under the daybed. Some have springs that raise the trundle bed up to the daybed height, effectively giving you a double or even a king-sized bed. 

If your spare room has a good sized closet that you don’t really use, consider making it into a bed nook. Add some interesting peel and stick wallpaper to liven up the space. Most queen mattresses will fit into a good sized closet. Take out the closet shelf and add some lighting for a cozy sleeping space. 

Here’s a Wayfair article with links to different ideas.

What Should Every Guest Room Have?

To answer this question, experts suggest taking a vacation in your own spare room. Do you have enough pillows in there? Warm blankies and comfortable mattress? How about a bedside table with a clock? 

A guest room should have most of the comforts of home. Ideally, it should have its own bathroom with clean towels and those adorable travel-sized toiletries. 

If you don’t have a spare bathroom as well, that’s OK, but you should provide fresh towels for their stay. If everyone is sharing a bathroom, be sure to have a brief chat about schedules so everyone isn’t lined up outside the door at the same time. 

Be sure to double check that there are a couple of spare rolls of toilet paper somewhere in sight. Don’t make your guest search through your bathroom cabinets.

Every spare room needs a bedside lamp for reading before bed. Experts recommend leaving some light reading materials like magazines. If you have the room, provide a comfy or at least sturdy chair for your guest. 

Some guests don’t sleep well in strange spaces. Provide your guests with a nightlight or two on the way to the bathroom. Consider providing a small fan for white noise.

Clear out a drawer in a chest of drawers. Leave some space with empty hangars in the closet.

Not everyone has the same biorhythm. Some guests may wake up or go to sleep at different times than you. Windows should have curtains or shades that provide privacy and light-blocking. If all else fails, leave a pack of disposable ear plugs and an eye mask for their use.

And, for the pièce de résistance, how about a bud vase with a couple of fresh cut flowers.

Here’s a video with 23 good ideas for your guest room.

How Do I Keep My Guest Bed Fresh?

Experts say to make up the bed the day of the guest arrivals – not sooner. If your sheets are clean but have been in the linen closet for a while, fluff them up in the dryer with a clean-smelling dryer sheet. If you have a clothesline, there’s nothing better than the clean smell of the outdoors.

Bedspreads, blankets and quilts will also benefit with some fluffing. Put away the toys, books or office supplies you may have in your spare room and give it a good dusting. Vacuum up the dust bunnies under the bed.

Let the light shine through your windows with a little window cleaning.

Not all guests may appreciate your favorite air freshener plugin or bowl of potpourri. In fact, they may bring on migraines and allergies. Best to avoid them and let in a little fresh air.

What Do You Do If You Don’t Have a Guest Bedroom?

Lots of people don’t have guest bedrooms – some by choice – so there are a lot of solutions. Sofa beds are much more comfortable these days than they used to be, thanks to foam mattresses. Even the sofas are more comfortable.

There are many styles of convertible side chairs that fold out into twin sized beds. They also make fold-out ottomans.

You can still buy those fold up, roll away beds on frames like they have in hotels – although you’ll need the space to store them.

Air mattresses have also come a long way. They even make plush top ones with a velvety fabric.

Futons can double as couches. No matter what your style is, there are several to choose from. Research the reviews for real people comfort ratings.

Room dividers can come in handy if you don’t have an actual spare room. They can provide privacy in the morning if your guests like to sleep in. Room dividers come in many styles and can also be statement pieces in your living room.

If you don’t have the space for a room divider, think of other ways of providing some privacy – like a row of tall houseplants.

Here’s a nice article with ideas for overnight guests when you don’t have a guest bedroom.

Guest room

Final Words

To be honest, I’m really looking forward to having a guest room when our new extension is finished. I know it’s a luxury of space but we haven’t ever had one before so it’s actually quite exciting.

I’ve always felt a bit guilty about making my friends and family sleep on the sofa bed in one of the kids’ rooms when they come to visit – so knowing our guests will now enjoy a little bit of luxury is a great feeling.

The only downside is will some guests now stay just too long?! 🙂