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Creating a gorgeous guest room without breaking the bank

My husband and I purchased our first home two years ago—a lovely four-bedroom Cape Cod with beautiful clean lines. It was a breath of fresh air in a market crowded with homes with patchwork carpet, bad flips, and design touches in sharp contrast to the style of the home.

Buying our first home was exciting and there was so much we were both looking forward to finally having in our new place after years of living in cramped rentals. My husband was excited about having a home office where he could do freelance work and enjoy listening to records. I, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to finally have a guest room. Now friends and family would have a comfortable space to stay, and lucky for me it was first on the list to tackle!

When it came to turning one of our spare bedrooms into a guest room I knew what I didn’t want, but had a harder time figuring out what I did want—and more importantly what I could afford. So I looked to hotels, design sites, and what furniture I had around me for inspiration.

Here are my five tips for putting together a comfortable guest room on a budget.

Hotel inspiration: Free!

I love a good hotel, especially ones that maximize a tiny footprint and take the traveler into account. Hotels know something what we as homeowners creating a guest space often forget—travelers have different priorities. They know that at the end of the day you really only need a comfy bed and a place to store your suitcase. So embrace minimalism! Doing so can also help you save a few bucks in your redesign.

Repurpose old stuff: Free!

You don’t need to buy a bunch of fancy stuff! Guest rooms are a great place to give new life to that old bedframe, dresser, or side table you have lying around. If the items don’t match to your liking you can always give them a quick once over with some stain or paint on the cheap. It’s also very on trend right now to mix and match your furniture.

My guest bedroom includes a family heirloom table from the early 1800s, a fairly ornate walnut dresser, and a bed with a velvet headboard. Because the wood grains and stains are all in the same family it works in the space. I also repurposed and painted a plant stand as a bedside table to hold a small lamp.

Paint: $45

I am a sucker for a bright and airy guest room. I like to stick to bright, light neutrals to appeal to everyone. But don’t think neutrals have to be boring or antiseptic. They can be a lot of fun! In my guest room I did a tone-on-tone accent wall in light gray with alternating wide stripes. Even if you like the color of the room it’s always a good idea to add a fresh coat of paint to touch up any nicks or marks that may have happened over the years.

Functional touches: $5 and up

There are several functional touches that should not be overlooked when putting your guest room together. In this day and age, you should make sure outlets are easily accessible, and that the guests have the Wi-Fi code. The Wi-Fi code can be placed on a piece of paper in an old picture frame and displayed, or written in a welcome letter you leave on the bed. Another thing to include is a bedside lamp. You can pick one up for as low as $5.

Little touches: $5 – $30

One of my favorite things is introducing guests to what makes my adopted hometown of Cleveland cool. For me that means a guidebook, and a sampling of local magazines. These items also play double duty, as it can be hard to sleep in a new space so some light reading material is always nice to have out.

Our guest room remodel cost about $200. The bulk of that was a storage bench that doubles as a place to store extra blankets (always a nice added touch) and a place for guests to sit and get ready. The rest was spent at an off-priced department store on some fun, whimsical wall art.

In the end we are very happy with the way the space has turned out, and how easily it can be customized to meet a guest’s needs. When my friend, her husband, and their new baby came to town, I was able to switch out a table with a comfortable armchair that she could use to feed the baby.

If you embrace minimalism and repurpose what you already have, you don’t need to spend a fortune to make your guest room a cozy and beautiful space.