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Making Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays

Making Guests Feel at Home for the Holidays

As the holidays approach, it's time to once again spruce up extra rooms, prepping them with crisp sheets and fluffy pillows, as well as vacuuming up any dust bunnies.

In a previous Thread post, we spoke with interior designer Allison Hennessy about creating a gracious guest room. This time around, we checked in with two of our favorite designers, Anne Maxwell Foster and Suysel dePedro Cunningham of Manhattan-based design firm Tilton Fenwick. This very stylish duo is known for rooms layered with rich texture and pattern. Their aesthetic is colorful, comfortable, and overall just fabulous—perfect for welcoming guests into the fold.

In designing guest bedrooms (and all bedrooms) the pair always starts with a beautiful bed. The barley twist bed in the red guest room above sets the stage and anchors the space, as well as adding textural interest.  "We spend so much of our lives sleeping, so we always advise clients to invest in high quality sheets and they are always thankful for making the investment. As designer Richard Keith Langham says, 'Spend money on great sheets and shoes because, you spend all your life in either one or the other!'"


Both bedrooms have upholstered headboards in funky silhouettes against large scale patterned wallpaper. Bedside tables hold all the perks, including a pretty lamp, alarm clock, water, and reading material.

Tilton Fenwick's tips for decorating a guest room:

1. We love wallpaper in the bedroom. All-over color and pattern create an enveloping look and feel that's cozy for nighttime relaxation.
2. Having a large bedside table is a luxury that's often overlooked. We always make certain there is ample space for a table lamp, books, a drinking glass, and personal devices like cell phones and iPad.
3. For guest rooms, we also include a water carafe, current magazines, and extra blankets, all which allow visitors to unwind as though they're at home.
4. "Good lighting is always critical, especially for guests—you don't want them fumbling around in the dark. Guests should be able to easily access lights from the bed. Bedside lamps add more color and texture to a room too. We often choose colorful lamp bases and have fun with the shades by adding fabric or trim. Or, try sconces mounted on the wall on either side of the bed.
5. The scent of a room is one of the most welcoming elements. For the holiday season put out candles that smells of winter, pine, and logs on a fire.

To these great recommendations, we’d like to add a few other tips for making sure that guests have everything they need.

1. Leave a basket full of things that guests might need or enjoy during their stay. This can include an extra toothbrush and toothpaste, mints and gum, and travel size bottles of shampoos and lotions you’ve brought home from hotel travels. It’s also really nice to include a guidebook about your town, or some recommendations for sightseeing.
2. An iPhone docking station to play music and charge up is always appreciated.
3. Every visitor needs to know the house secrets, so why not put the wifi passcode in a pretty frame and leave it somewhere visible. Also, instructions for making coffee in the morning can’t hurt. Finally, the alarm code and a set of spare keys will let your guests know that they are free to come and go as they please.

A grey and white room enveloped in a floral print wallpaper that's then echoed on the throw pillows, works surprisingly well for a young girl, as well as for occasional overnight guests. Matouk Mirasol dress the bed and sconces on either side make  reading easy.

For more inspiration, we've gathered over 200 images of guest room worthy bedrooms on our "Gracious Guest Rooms" Pinterest board.