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No one has a lot of extra time around the holidays. Luckily, making your overnight guests feel loved and just the right amount pampered doesn’t have to take a lot of time and effort. These five bite-sized guest bedroom ideas will go a long way toward keeping your guests happy. And the best part is, you can do them all in advance.

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1. Swap in a few festive accessories

It’s great to have a few items (like the tall blue vase pictured here) that go with both your holiday look and your everyday look. 

A few inexpensive accessories like throw pillows, LED string lights, and votive candle holders are all you need to make your guest bedroom feel festive. You don’t have to spend a lot, and you can pull out these items year after year. 

Here’s what we have:

2. Be thoughtful about lighting


Even if your room has good overhead lighting, it really pays to have a couple of lamps flanking the bed. That way guests can tuck in and read before drifting off without getting up to flick off the light switch.

These days you don’t have to spend a lot to find great-looking lamps. Target is our favorite place to find whimsical bedside lamps, often for under $20.


A super-easy way to give guests a cozy first impression is to set the mood with good lighting before they arrive. Turn off overhead lights, and turn on bedside lamps and those LED string lights. It’s the easiest way to create a little bit of magic.

3. Make like a French lady and layer, layer, layer

We’ve never met two people with the same temperature preferences, and being too cold or too hot at night is a great way to interfere with sleep. In wintertime, we like to start with a set of cozy flannel sheets, which you can make more or less holiday-themed to suit your preference. Flannel doesn’t need a high thread count or a high price to feel good.

We also like to adorn the bottom of the bed with a throw blanket or two on top of the regular bedding. These can be smaller than the size of your guest bed, since often only one person will want to use them.  

Depending on your living space and climate, you may also want to offer guests a space heater. This space heater is our longtime favorite, super-effective, affordable, and amazingly small option. 

4. Don’t forget about books 

Nothing makes a house feel more like home than a great book collection. Place a small stack of your favorite books from different genres in the guest room. This little touch doubles as something for your guests to do and a chance for them to get a little voyeuristic peek into your inner life. You know, if they’re into that kind of thing. 🙂 Find some of our perennial favorites here.

5. Spend five minutes thinking about your guests’ individual needs


Did you read that popular NYTimes article a while back that said the question you should ask on all first dates is, “In what ways are you crazy?”

We’ve all got our ways of being special, and a little bit of thought about what your individual guests might want or need can go a long way. This may seem like unnecessary advice, but the holidays can be such a busy time that you really have to take a conscious moment here and there to check in.

Fierce independent streak? Maybe leave a house key on the dresser. Recent major life change? How about a teddy bear on the bed.


Having taken a moment to focus on your particular guests ahead of time will only enhance the fun and connection you have with them once they arrive.

And hey, if this is the way in which you’re crazy, it could be worse.

Talk to you soon. xx


Guest bedroom photos in this post were taken by the lovely Shilpa Iyer for Umami Girl

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About Carolyn Gratzer Cope

Hi there, I'm Carolyn Gratzer Cope, founder and publisher of Umami Girl. Join me in savoring life, one recipe at a time. I'm a professional recipe developer with training from the French Culinary Institute (now ICE) and a lifetime of studying, appreciating, and sharing food.

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