Our movers likened the bedrooms in our new home to those you’d find in a hotel. While they weren’t talking bed bugs, dead hookers or beams carved with the words “Brooks was here,”* they weren’t giving us a compliment either.
The main point of their observation was that every one of our bedrooms has permanently mounted sconces on the wall. While one could say this is a lovely convenience for bedtime reading, one isn’t trying to arrange a bedroom with furniture that’s not that of the previous homeowner/builder of the home.
(I shouldn’t admit this, but my husband and I finally replaced our full bed with a king bed — we’d been talking about one ever since having kids — but, what finally “pushed us over the edge” was actually more of a “falling over the edge.” I was tired of falling out of bed while reaching to turn off the bedside light. Seriously. Turning off the light was more acrobatic than other things that happen in that bed and well, that’s just not right. And gosh, that ended up being a long parenthetical aside. Moving on …)
When it came time to set-up the guest room, I attempted to place two twin beds where previously there was a queen bed. Add to that the ceiling duct work, can lights, an intrusive closet and large windows and … it was too much for my things-need-to-be-centered affliction. It was debilitating.
I hated the guest room. Hated. It.
As I’ve previously mentioned, we’ve had quite a few guests this summer. I’ve loved having them and I really wanted them to feel comfortable in the room. I wanted them to feel like it was a vacation for them. A retreat. Someplace beautiful.
Well, it wasn’t until the impending arrival of my inlaws that I decided — at the very least — I would have sheets with matching pillow cases. That would bump us up from a one star to a two star for sure. The day before their visit, off to Bed, Bath & Beyond I go. (My husband is a saint. Even after a long shift, he agreed to watch the boys. Of course, I did hit him with the one-two of sweet eyes and this-is-for-your-parents-honey argument.)
Following is how I whipped this room into shape. I’m really pleased with how it turned out and I hope you find a tip or two that helps you bring a space in your home up a notch:
Screw the room elements. I’m makin’ my own center: My sister-in-law later informed me this is called “subway art.” I call it a room saver. This large, dark piece of artwork is dominate enough to dictate the center of the room. The sconces, the duct work — it all becomes subdominant to the artwork. Bonus: It applies directly to the wall. This is especially nice because it was super easy and quick to hang; and, it keeps the wall space between the beds unobstructed.
Spotting this artwork at Bed, Bath & Beyond is what kicked off this entire re-do. I saw it while trying to find some sheets — everything quickly fell into place after that.
Avoid being too matchy-matchy: I love these twin beds. I would never get rid of them, so I’ve been trying to work with them for years and years. A problem I always encounter is finding bedding that is interesting enough without being overwhelming. If you get a pattern, it can look too busy and/or cutesy when put on TWO beds. If you go plain, then you end up with a lot of boring real estate. These geometric patterns have just enough interest to add some oomph without swallowing the entire room in pattern. To avoid the matchy-matchy problem, I simply turned one 180 degrees to the other one. They match, but aren’t matchy-matchy.
The bedding was on clearance at Bed Bath & Beyond. Sorry, I can’t find it on the website.
Select a welcoming color scheme: A color scheme like this brown and blue works perfect for any age or gender. The geometric shapes give it a masculine feel, while the accent pillows add a feminine touch.
I got the accent pillows several months ago from Target — love them — so they dictated the color scheme. I selected the bedding without having the accent pillows with me. I might not remember if I signed up my youngest for two-day- or three-day-a-week preschool, but I can retain color shades in this worthless mass of grey matter, dammit.
Add special touches: Long ago, for a previous blog, I wrote a piece about how to equip a guest room. Taking from that, here are some suggestions:
- an easily accessible power strip for guests to recharge all of their gadgets and gizmos
- a full kleenex box
- coasters and glasses for drinks — most everyone who visits likes having a glass of water bedside
- bedside lamps that are easily turned on-and-off without getting out of bed
several night lights — let them place them where they want them (bedside, hallway, bathroom)
- an atomic alarm clock, so it is always set to the current time
- extra blankets and pillows
- space to unpack — some empty drawers in the dresser, hangers in the closet — if you can’t do that, an over-the-door hanger works great
- clutter-free dresser-top space or shelf for toiletries, jewelry, etc.
- a mirror
- a trash can (I feel bad because I forgot this one in the new house and my sister had to request one)
- if you have the space, it’s nice to incorporate a chair into your room — this gives them space to put things, or sit and read, or a place for you to sit while having a conversation without having to sit on their bed
- a lap desk or clear space where they can work on their laptop computer, do homework, etc.
- if you have a TV with a complicated remote control in the room or wi-fi, a small sheet of typed directions can come in handy — also if there are multiple light switches, consider labeling them to minimize guests’ frustration
- books and magazines
Finally, I recommend flowers and chocolates: this one I did for my inlaws partially as a joke. My father-in-law, who does a lot of business travel, teased my husband that he was “expecting executive-level service.” I made sure there was a beautiful fresh floral arrangement on the bedside table and delicious chocolates in their room upon arrival. I say it was partially a joke because really, it was just one way I wanted to let them know I was so happy and excited they were finally able to visit with us. I hope they found the visit so enjoyable, that they’ll be back again soon. We miss them and the boys miss them, too.
* “Brooks was here” is a Shawshank Redemption** reference. If you haven’t seen the movie, get thou browser to Netflix. Get it. Watch it. You won’t be disappointed.
** Little trivia for you: Parts of the movie were filmed at the Ohio State Reformatory. That would be just outside where yours truly grew up.