Everything You Need for the Ultimate Guest Room

Give your guests the five-star treatment with an exceptionally clean, cozy, and comfortable room. Here's your checklist.

Green and pink guest room with comfy bed and bedside table
Photo: Getty Images

Whether you're hosting guests for a single night or an entire week, a carefully considered guest room can help make your visitors feel right at home. First and foremost, your guest room should be clean and well-organized. From there, add on a few much-appreciated extras, like fresh flowers and fuzzy slippers. To transform your spare guest room into a luxury hotel, complete the guest room checklist below.

The Essentials

  • Basket of Basics

    Offer a neat grouping of new toothbrushes, travel-size toiletries (including toothpaste and saline solution), and "just-in-case" meds, so guests instantly feel cared for.

  • Hand Sanitizer and Disinfecting Wipes

    Leaving out a few extra cleaning supplies may help your guests feel more comfortable and in control of their space.

  • Vacant Drawers

    It's off-putting for visitors to find the guest room closet and dresser bursting with your overflow clothing. Leave at least two free drawers (set ajar so it's clear that they're for guest use), ample hanging space, and a half-dozen hangers to stow belongings.

  • Air Freshener

    Keep a room deodorizer on hand to combat mustiness or cover up a bad smell (quick). Or consider a natural-oil diffuser with a subtle scent, like lavender or eucalyptus.

  • A Cozy Rug

    A plush covering (on a wood floor or on top of a carpet) softens the space and makes the room feel cozy. Choose a durable, stain-resistant material, like wool.

  • Electric Fan

    If you have a ceiling fan to keep the space from getting stuffy, great. If not, pick up an electric table fan. Before guests arrive, make sure it works and clean the blades.

  • Carafe of Water and a Glass

    Keep the vessel freshly filled to prevent guests from having to hunt, opening and closing cupboards, when middle-of-the-night thirst strikes.

  • Spare Key

    Without one, guests are less comfortable coming and going as they please. Leave the key on a tray on the nightstand, along with a note detailing any tricky locks or alarms.

  • Covered Waste Can

    It's inevitable that guests will accumulate trash. A covered can lets them toss litter without having to look at it. Instead of a version with a lift-off lid, choose a step can—it's easier and more sanitary.

  • Luggage Rack

    Their suitcases have been dragged through a plane or a train or stuffed in a car trunk. Do you really want them opened on top of the duvet? A rack is more convenient.

  • Extra Toilet Paper (and a Plunger) in an Obvious Place in the Bathroom

    Because no visitor wants to ask!

  • Clean Towels

    Leaving a stack of fluffy towels on the bed or in the bathroom signals to your guests that they're free to use the shower, without having to ask. Bonus points: If your shower is particularly difficult to operate, consider leaving out some brief instructions.

Extra Credit

  • Fresh Flowers

    They're the best way to make a space welcoming. Just put mildly scented grocery store blooms in a vase that's out of the way and not tippable, in case guests are getting ready in a hurry.

  • WiFi Password

    Bonus points: Print it on card stock, have it laminated at an office-supply shop, and place it on the nightstand so that guests can find it at a glance.

  • Reading Material

    Two to three current issues of newsy or general lifestyle magazines or a small stack of books (short stories, poetry, and essays) are a nice touch for lounging.

  • Comfy Slippers

    Leave a pair or two next to the bed so visitors don't have to walk around in socks (or barefoot).

  • Charging Station

    Leave one on the nightstand so guests can power up if they forgot theirs at home (or just don't feel like digging around in the suitcase for it). Consider a universal phone charger that'll work for iPhones and Androids.

  • TV/Remote Instructions

    It's much easier to provide printed steps. Include a list of crowd-pleasing channels (CNN, E!, ESPN) for quick reference.

  • Hamper

    It's so much nicer to have a spot for stashing dirty clothes other than a suitcase, especially for guests staying more than a few days.

  • Steamer

    A space-saving alternative to the iron and board for smoothing blouses and button-downs.

  • Motion-Sensor Light

    Any nightlight en route to the bathroom is appreciated, but a motion-sensor version lets you keep the house nice and dark when it's not needed. It's low-cost and a cinch to install, too.

  • Room-Darkening Curtains

    Light-blocking drapes are a godsend for late risers.

  • Snack Station

    A small basket or jar of snacks lets midnight snacking happen without them feeling awkward about asking you.

  • Extra Pillows and Blankets

    Take the guessing game out of prepping a bed by supplying overnight guests with ample blankets and pillows so they can customize their sleep space to their liking.

  • Clock Radio

    Sure, they'll probably use their phone, but a clock radio may give them another option for listening to music (or checking the time in the middle of the night).

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