Guest Rooms That Truely Welcome Your Visitors

In planning spaces in our home for overnight guests our ultimate goal is to offer a place that is warm and welcoming. Some home situations allow dedication of an entire guest cottage or retreat, more often it is a guest room and sometimes that guest room has the unique challenge of having to serve combined uses, both an office and as a guest room. I am happy to tell you that with smart planning and creative decorating it is possible to transform almost any space into a comfortable retreat for guests.

Minimum planning requirements for a guest room would include:

  • A good bed, one that is comfortable, and a good supply of pillows and blankets.

  • Sufficient lighting, such that meets the needs for people who are sharing the room but who may have different nighttime routines, for instance provide individual light sources that can be turned on and off from each side of the bed.

  • Window coverings - even if your guest room has a beautiful view, it still needs window coverings to allow for privacy, light control and even control of room temperature.

  • Comfortable seating that invites guests to rest, read or write. An overstuffed armchair with an ottoman is a good choice.

Good design for a guest bedroom would require it to be comfortable and welcoming for guests, while mixing well with the balance of the living areas.

In the photo above, while planned and decorated as a handsome guest room, this retreat is a dual use room as it also is the homeowner's private sitting room between guests. The secret to such easy transition? An upholstered daybed that's equally enticing for overnight guests and daytime relaxing. This scheme is a sophisticated blend of beiges, tans, taupes and whites. The mirror is a key element to over the top and still subtle grace.

In the other photo here, we see a crisp white batten lace bedding ensemble. It draws us, even entices us, offering comfort and warmth. In fact it is just a day bed with a bit of decor. If we compare this photo with the above photo, this room is more feminine and has a Victorian look. The sumptuous bed and tray filled with teapot, teacups and scones are hard to resist. I can envision an afternoon with a great piece of literature and perhaps an afternoon nap as well.

For fun, if we look at the batten lace guest bedroom again, imagine if we were to switch out the traditional floral artwork ... and what if we were to replace it with either of the two contemporary, colorful prints that are shown in the column on the right in this blog. You will see they are ("Landscape with Trees and Pond" or "Red House"). Opening our mind's eye, we would see that despite keeping the distinct crisp white batten lace bedding, changing the artwork with either of these pieces would profoundly alter the feel of the guest room. It gains a certain whimsy and joy. I even imagine the scones would taste different. What do you think? Do you see it?

We want guest rooms to be private retreats for our visiting family and friends but it is equally important guest rooms should mix well with the adjoining areas. For a guest room to be a feast for the eyes for the homeowners, they shouldn't have to live in these same rooms to feel its beauty and rever it. The 'genuine seeing experience,' the excellent mix, the satisfaction is simply in the moment of engaging that room and its beauty, and that energy connection that it is set aside for very special times with very loved ones. The dynamics of those special moments can derive from good planning and good design.

Patricia, Editor

Do you have questions about a guest room or another room in your house? Submit your issue in the 'Ask The Designer' Section and one of the designers (or more) will provide feedback.

Ann Sacks Womens Bathroom & Showroom On Display

Ann Sacks - Back in 1980, a pioneering Oregonian stumbled across some Mexican Talavera tile she thought she could sell. Twenty-seven years later, Ann Sacks (now owned by Kohler) is the first and last name in luxury tile, stone and bath fixtures, and boasts a gleaming new Dallas Design District showroom to display it all to perfection.

Located just across the street from the company's previous location, the new, 4,200-square-foot space is a veritable shrine to surface design. Natural light floods through the floor-to-ceiling windows, illuminating tiles of every shape, size, description and color. One particularly shining example: the Davlin glass line, made from sheets of gold leaf pressed under glass and priced about $209 a square foot.

"Color is so important in fashion, so we were looking for sophisticated ways to use color in the home," says Michael Merritt, director of merchandising for the company. Pattern is also key, as evidenced in the David Hicks-inspired interlocking circles of blue Macauba stone and black Nero Marquino marble ($250 a square foot) called Beau Monde, and an amazing selection of hand-painted mosaics reproduced from 14th-century Ottoman Empire designs and sealed using glazes made from crushed quartz and semi-precious stone.

Which brings us to the women's bathroom. We normally wouldn't suggest a sightseeing detour to a powder room, but the white and gold-mirrored "Reindeer Damask" custom mural by Fort Worth native Erin Adams is totally worth the trip.

Trivia tidbit: Founder Sacks still lives in Portland, where she and daughter Amy are partners in the upscale eyewear brand Amy Sacks. The label's chic (truly) reading and sunglasses are sold locally at Neiman Marcus.
Ann Sacks, 1616 Oak Lawn Ave., 214-742-8453,

ELIZABETH M. CLAFFEY/Staff Photographer & CARTER ROSE/Special Contributor for ezine magazine Dexigner

Note: Something Beautiful Note: When in Dallas, be sure to look up Interior Designer Di Marie of Dallas Interiors At Legacy.