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7 Smart Steps to Prepare Your Guest Room for the Holidays (and Beyond)

My wife Rose was hauling junk (including a Buzz Lightyear – circa 1995 sleeping bag) from our 18-year-old college-bound son Parker’s bedroom. This room was being repurposed into a “slash” room (it will be Parker’s bedroom when home from college, a guest room and a Zen-meditation space). I laughed when I saw the sleeping bag going out and got nostalgic about Buzz and those “back in the day” times when I heard the words, “To infinity and beyond.” Now, this sleeping bag is going to “Goodwill and beyond.”

While it’s fun to think about the concept of “infinity and beyond,” if you’re looking to repurpose a bedroom into a guest room, you need to first think about the “here and now.” How can you make this guest room comfortable – but not so comfortable that your Crazy Uncle Louie won’t want to leave. In addition, you need to think about “infinity and beyond” (to quote the Mensa-like Buzz Lightyear). How can you make this guest room not just a dusty place guests use 1% of the time? How can it become the ultimate “slash” room (i.e. have more than one purpose)? Could it be used every day for you and your family?

'How can a #GuestRoom be a space you use all the time?'Click To Tweet

It’s a waste to have a cluttered one-function guest room which houses a bunch of your family’s extra stuff (AKA clutter) and sits idle 99%. Why let valuable space (which is getting more valuable by the moment with rising home prices) go to waste?

In this article I’ll give you 7 smart ideas to prepare your guest room to go beyond an “occasional space” to become a “essential space,” – a multi-purpose area which works hard for you (and your guests) year-round.

Let’s take a journey and check out 7 smart multi-purpose guest room design steps to take “your guest room at least to Columbus and beyond!”

Step #1 for a multipurpose guest room – Have a vision and don’t let go

All beautifully decorated and infinitely functional rooms begin with a plan. Ask yourself how could I use this space beyond slapping a bed in the center and calling it a guest room? Here’s some fun and functional ideas to have a guest with a “slash” room used by you and your family:

  • Idea 1 – Create a home office/guest room. Wouldn’t it be nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of working in a cramped space in the kitchen or den? Would you like a room where you can close the door and work on paying bills, growing your solopreneur business or catch up on your (what should be) day job? If you lack space in your guest room a fun way to have room for a comfortable bed and an office is to use a fold down Murphy bed with a desk attachment. How cool is this idea?
Fold down desk and murphy bed combination Columbus Ohio | Innovate Home Org

This desk is simple to bring down and it folds into itself to be a Murphy Bed

Murphy bed which converts to a desk during the day | Innovate Home Org Columbus Ohio

  • Idea 2 – Create an exercise room/guest room – It is tough in a small 10’ x 10’ or 12’ x 12 spare room to have space for yoga, meditation or a treadmill if the bed eats the room. Replace the bed with a futon or a fold out couch – or if you want more comfortable bedding choose a compact wall bed with a 10 or 11” mattress.


  • Idea 3 Create a craft room/guest room – Maybe you want to “invent” a space to do crafts with your grandkids or kids. A guest room which doubles as a crafting space is a fantastic idea (note – I have to admit when my daughter was young and wanted to do crafts I would say, “Jade, let’s go to the mall).

Step #2 for a multipurpose guest room – The room won’t work if it resembles a jumbo- sized junk drawer. Decluttering is top priority.

You know the pleasure (sarcasm intended) of fishing through the family “junk drawer.” Ours is in the kitchen and it desperately needs storage containers – but I digress.

Spare rooms can become “junk drawers on steroids” (can you relate?). Don’t know where to put some extra clothes? Put them in the guest room. Not sure where to put those ugly shoes your Aunt bought you for Christmas (which you have no intention of wearing)? Store them in the guest room. The kids are away at college and you don’t know where to put their old stuff? How about the guest room?

To add function and style to for a “multi-purpose” spare room you must be ruthless in getting rid of stuff, junk (call it whatever you like). You can’t have a fully functional and beautiful space without starting here first. If you can’t bear to declutter – call in the cavalry (or maybe it would be simpler contacting a professional home organizer) to lead you – or pull you – through this un-tasty task.

Step #3 for a multipurpose guest room– Your spare room closet must serve two masters – you and your guests   

In most cases a guest room is simply the smallest bedroom in the house which has been repurposed. It has a tiny reach in closet. You need to make the most of it (like the rest of your closets!). Here’s how you can do this in a multipurpose guest room.

First, split the closet into 2 areas – one side for guests the other side for you and your family’s day to day use. On the guest side include one hanging section long enough for jackets, dresses and jeans. Include a luggage rack for the real – hotel-type feeling and practical use for guests. Use decorative or felt hangers (all the same type) so your closet looks fancy. Include 2 shelves in your design for blankets and extra bed linens.

Second, on your side of the closet put in 5 to 6 adjustable shelves. If you have a home office use this area to store copier paper, banker’s boxes or filing cabinets. If you use this space for crafts or an exercise room, you can add wicker or canvas baskets which you label to know what’s inside.

If you don’t have a closet for storage at all – but desperately need one – buy a wardrobe from a furniture store or install a custom designed wardrobe to fit the specific space you have (you can choose finishes which go with your décor).

Custom wardrobe for a spare guest room in Columbus Ohio | Innovate Home Org

Step #4 for a multipurpose guest room– Choose a bed you’d want to sleep on  

I can get a good night’s sleep almost anywhere (as long as I have an electrical outlet for my crazy-wind-blowing C-Pap machine – now that’s sexy!). My wife Rose is not so fortunate. A bad mattress will have her tossing and turning. The following day won’t be pretty for her.

When designing your multipurpose guest room, design it around Rose (or your guest who finds it hard to sleep on bad bedding in new places). Before you purchase a futon or sofa bed where you can feel the support structure underneath ask yourself, “Would I like to sleep on this bed?” As Johniee Cochran would say, “If it don’t fit, you must acquit …and get a better bed (I’m not sure Johniee said the last part of this line).”

If you have a large guest room a full sized conventional bed with a thick mattress, foam pad and luxurious bedding is the ultimate. If your space is limited – but you have 8’ ceilings – a vertical wall bed with 10 – 11” mattress is a sound choice.

'If space is limited a #WallBed is best for a comfortable spare bed.' Click To Tweet

Vertical wall bed with shelving in Columbus Ohio | Innovate Home Org

Vertical wall bed which has library shelves

On the other hand, if your ceiling is lower (in the case of a dormer style room) a horizontal wall bed is efficient and comfortable.

Horizontal wall bed for a dormer spare room in Columbus Ohio | Innovate Home Org

Horizontal wall bed for a dormer space

Step #5 for a multipurpose guest room– Make it pretty. Be thoughtful

Since I’m a guy I must admit I don’t “major” in pretty – however, I do enjoy an elegant room.

In my case, when visitors stay over, fortunately Rose knows how to be thoughtful and make things looking nice. When my business partner Ron comes from New Jersey Rose will put a dark chocolate on his pillow (of course -my question is why don’t I get that on my pillow?). Other nice ideas are fresh cut flowers, magazines in a decorative rack, or putting up unique artwork which reflect your personality on the walls.

A room which is thoughtfully decorated and organized is a pleasure to be in.

Pretty guest room with flowers nice bedding

(Image) Country Living

Step #6 for a multipurpose guest room – It’s got to be help guests be productive and digitally connected

We are working too hard.

We are too connected to our electronic devises.

Although I plead guilty on both “counts” (or points) above – it’s a fact of life our house guests (and family) need the ability to stay digitally connected (and productive). Design your multipurpose guest room with this in mind. Here’s 2 practical ideas:

  • 1) Create a framed print – with some fancy writing for a special touch – with your WIFI password. Guests will appreciate the faster speed and no data charges using your password. They will also like not having to ask you for the password (which is kind of embarrassing). Plus, if you’re like me who the heck – other than your kids – remembers this password anyway?
WIFI password code framed print in a guest room

(Image) Elegance and Enchanchment

  • 2) Make sure the room is well lit and ready to be powered up. Since your house guests aren’t familiar with your room, the more lighting you have the better. A lamp by the nightstand will help them read themselves to sleep. A desk with a power strip for their laptop is convenient. For extra credit put in motion detected LED lights in the closet, wardrobe and dresser drawers for a wow factor.

Step #7 for a multipurpose guest room – Don’t forget the cannoli’s’ (AKA as the snacks)  

If you’re Catholic and Italian, you may have to say 5 “Our Fathers” if you forget the cannoli’s for Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve dinner. If you’re Italian – or even if you’re not Italian – it’s all about the food. A well planned multipurpose guest room must include good snacks (even if they aren’t as tasty – and sugar-filled – as cannoli’s).

Create a snack basket with fresh fruit, water bottles, energy bars – you name it. Whether it’s a guest enjoying them – or you – it doesn’t matter.

Snack basket for a guest bedroom

(Image) Simple Saving Savvy

Here’s a note I’d include next to our snack basket. I’d call it our “Guest Dis-honor Bar.” Let your guests know if they DON’T eat the snacks – then they WILL have to pay! You want them to leave rested and well-fed (now you can really tell I’m Italian!).


There is no reason for your guest room to be the red-haired stepchild of your home. It doesn’t need to be cramped, cluttered and not used daily. Step back and create a multipurpose vision for this room. See how you can make the most out of your storage space and include a comfortable space-efficient bed. Make sure you make it pretty, functional and most importantly – don’t forget the snacks!


If you need help designing your Columbus spare room or guest room with better closet storage, a Murphy bed, or a custom wardrobe and would like Free 3D guest room design, contact Innovate Home Org in Columbus at 614-545-6888 or in Cleveland 216-658-1290.

For more information on closet organizing and Murphy beds follow the Author on Twitter @Mike_Foti or our companies’ @InnovateBuild and @InnovateHomeOrg.


Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. You can learn more about Mike here.

Mike Foti

Mike Foti is the President of Innovate Home Org, a division of Innovate Building Solutions. You can learn more about Mike here.

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