A thoughtful guest room makes visitors feel welcome

Aug 2023

Whether your visitors are staying for a weekend or a month, a thoughtfully arranged guest room will help make them feel welcome and part of the family. Here are some tips for a guest suite that won’t break the bank.

It starts with space

You’re not going to surrender the master bedroom to your guests, and they’d probably feel awkward if you did, but you should make your guest room as spacious as you can. Do you have a good-sized secondary bedroom or even a space in the basement that could double as a place where your guests can spread their wings without intruding on your daily routine?

A sound sleep

A good night’s sleep means your guests will wake up with a smile. A comfortable mattress is essential and a mid-priced one will last for years if it’s used only by occasional guests. Crisp sheets, good pillows and a comfy duvet also help your guests feel right at home.

If you’re planning on buying a guest bed, look for one with built-in storage drawers: they’re a great place to store extra linen — guests may want to contribute to household chores by changing their own sheets and pillowcases — or for visitors to stash some of their clothing.

Where to put everything?

Help your guests make their quarters their own by emptying dressers and closets and providing enough clothes hangers that they don’t have to worry about wrinkled clothing. An inexpensive over-the-door hook for the closet will make for even more storage space. If your guests are staying for more than just a few days, you could offer to put their suitcases in the basement or elsewhere.

Let there be light (and chairs)

Do you have enough room in the guest suite to add an upholstered chair with a small table and lamp? They make for a cosy spot when a guest wants to sit and read in privacy. And remember you can never have enough light in a room — make sure overhead bulbs are bright and that you’ve provided a couple of bedside lamps.

Access, access, access

Offer your guests a key to the house or the access code so they feel comfortable coming and going as they please. If you have a security system, don’t forget to give them a rundown on its operation. And write down your internet access information so they can log in whenever they need.




  • A couple of throw pillows add colour and visual warmth to a room. They won’t get much use in a guest suite, so you don’t have to spend a lot of money on them.
  • Avoid cluttering up the dresser and bedside tables with your own possessions — leaving room for guests to set out their hairbrushes and other personal items will help them feel the space is their own.
  • Blackout curtains or light-blocking blinds help with a good night’s sleep.
  • Add thoughtful touches like a lighted clock with an alarm on one of the bedside tables, pens and paper in one of the top dresser drawers, and a box or two of tissues.
  • What about stashing simple snacks and freshly topped-up water bottles in your guest suite? Some folks like to sit up late in the evening reading and won’t want to be poking around your kitchen if they get the midnight munchies.

A final suggestion: you don’t have to entertain guests 24/7. Arranging some outings and at-home gatherings you can all do together are wonderful ways to welcome them but giving visitors the freedom to explore Ottawa on their own will also help make their visit memorable.