Having a room dedicated for guests seems to be a luxury these days. With homes becoming smaller and smaller, it’s hard to keep a room empty and waiting for friends and family who want to visit — especially with all the lifestyle changes of late — working from home, sharing childcare duties and of course, the need for storage (a.k.a. clutter).

I’m lucky enough to have one of these rooms (sans clutter) in my house and I enjoy when people come to stay. My guest room was decorated with a seaside look — bright and airy, with a nod to the Atlantic coastline. Its an escape route from the busy downtown area I live in. Its colours are serene, cool and the room is very practical. Although decorated almost 20 years ago, a classic colour combination of pale wood, warm white and soft blue seem timeless. Here’s my checklist of decorating and furnishing for a guest room that makes it easy to clean, practical to use, and enjoyable to stay in.

Easy Clean

One of my wish lists when designing my spare bedroom was that it would be easy to care for and clean. After guests leave, stripping the bed, cleaning the small bathroom and floors should be a breeze.

The wainscotting was taken much higher than a normal height at five feet tall. It’s painted in a scrubbable, glossy warm white so it’s easy to wipe down and clean. The floors, which take on the look of hand-scraped pine boathouse floors are laminate. They float on top of the old wood flooring and were an economic way to add a bright yet rustic look to the room. They can be dry-mopped clean in a jiffy.

The linens for the bathroom and bedroom all have a small percentage of synthetic fibre. This allows them to be washed in hot water without shrinkage and wrinkling, less fading and staining. I also have pillow protectors which, between stays, are taken off and washed to ensure pillows stay clean and fresh.

My most tedious cleaning job? Keeping the wooden blinds dust free. Luckily a nifty blind cleaning brush allows me to give them a good swipe every few months — it’s the most tedious job of cleaning this easy-to-care-for room.


The guest room and bath combo is 11-feet-by-15-feet in total. Not a lot of space, therefore furnishings need to be practical, attractive and useful. I chose a double-size bed frame. It’s a great size for one and can fit two in a pinch and allows for a little extra room in and around the bed.

There’s a single closet where I keep all the guest-room supplies housed — ensuring there is hanging space and shelf space for a suitcase worth of clothing and shoes. The basket of cleaning supplies, extra bedding, towels and soap, ensure guests have everything at hand without needing to ask for supplies. The slim bathroom has a custom three-inch ledge running the entire length where guests can display toiletries so nothing gets left behind.

The guest room now has a slim console table in front of the window. People like to have some private time in their room to write emails or do some work. The console acts as a desk or a place for books, magazines and tech accessories. It simply pulls away from the window towards the bed on easy glides so guests can sit at the edge of the bed and do some work.

During the winter months, I add a cosy area rug, throws and decorative pillows to help warm up the space, although I’m a true believer that less is more.

Looking Good

Although the guest room is practical and easy to clean, it also needs to be attractive and an enjoyable environment for people to stay.

A slim electric fireplace adds a focal point and ambience to the room, especially in the winter. In the summertime, the top of the mantle acts as extra storage for guest’s keys, maps and tote bags. Soothing colours help to create a relaxing guest room and Benjamin Moore’s Smoky Green is my all-time favourite. During a sunny day it appears green, on a cloudy day it looks blue and at night it morphs into a neutral grey colour. The pale green-grey colour matches the laminate looking floors, which also incorporate the warm white bead board and the natural warm wood glow that is in the window blinds, cabinet and bedframe.

As a townhouse can be traditionally dark, I used reeded and textured glass in all the doors between the bathroom, hallway and even the closet doors. Its translucent look offers privacy, but makes the room appear lighter and airier than if they were solid doors. Add a sound machine of waves softly crashing and one might think they’ve climbed the townhouse stairs and ended up in Nova Scotia.

Do you have a decor dilemma or want more decor inspiration? Follow Karl on Instagram at @Karl_ Lohnes.

2023-07-23T15:16:52Z dg43tfdfdgfd