How to Outfit a Guest Room for $65 or Less

There's more to preparing a guest room than just making the bed. Welcome visitors with a practical space that's comfortable and anticipates their needs. First tip: While it's tempting to put infrequently used rooms to work as storage areas, clear away clutter and keep decor generic-but-beautiful when you're expecting guests.

In the end, there's only one way to be sure your guest room is grand: Pack an overnight bag and test it for yourself. Is the rarely used mattress comfortable? Are there enough unobstructed outlets available for chargers and laptops? Are there a couple of empty drawers? Space in the closet? Keep reading for clever tips and thoughtful, affordable upgrade ideas to help make your loved ones feel right at home this holiday season.

Sleep Tight

Guest room mattresses are either new and rarely used bargain finds, or old and lumpy remnants from another bedroom's upgrade. A good mattress pad is an affordable way to add comfort and support. Take a page from the best inns and dress the bed with two firm and two soft pillows. Have a synthetic-filled pillow on standby for guests who may have allergies to feathers in down-filled varieties. Also, make both light and heavy blankets available so your overnighter can customize bedding to suit their tastes.

Shown: Simmons BeautyRest 5-Zone BackCare Mattress Pad; about $55

Light the Way

Intuitive lighting is important, especially for first-time visitors to your abode. Include a lamp on or near the bedside tables (for evening reading) and a nightlight (for late-night trips to the bathroom). Guests will appreciate every available surface to set out their things; installing a wall-mounted light will lift your light source off the nightstand to free up space for toiletries, medications, books, and other things they'd like to have at hand.

Shown: Portfolio Brushed Nickel Transitional Arm Sconce; about $40

Get Hooked

Depending on your space, you'll want to make room for your guests to hang coats, dresses, or other articles of clothing they don't want to keep crammed in a suitcase. Leave a few empty hangers-Velvet Wood Suit Hangers with Pant Clips (about $7/ pack) from The Hanger Shop are our favorites-and a couple of empty chest drawers. If space is limited, consider adding an overdoor hook; it'll make use of dead space behind doors, and may lead guests to keep wet towels off of your wood furniture and floors.

Shown: Orbinni Overdoor Chrome Valet Hook; about $7

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