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How to Get More Use Out of Your Guest Room

Two interior designers offer tips on creating alternative uses for this underutilized space.

Flat screen TV
Photo: Courtesy of Samsung
Erin Shakoor
Photo: McKenzie Hanson

Erin Shakoor

Design principal at Shakoor Interiors in University Village

Turn it into a media room. Get a queen-size leather pullout with a comfortable mattress, like one from Kravet. Hang a flat-screen TV that can display a work of art when it’s not on. I like the Frame by Samsung. Hide a minibar, microwave, fridge, sink, and linens in custom-made cabinetry, like at a hotel. Flank the built-in light with sconces from Arteriors on a dimmer, and add a sconce on either side of the sofa bed for reading. Put in two barrel-shaped swivel chairs that don’t take up a lot of space. I prefer washable velvet ones—the durable material will stand up to people coming and going. Put up a textured pewter wall covering, and paint the ceiling and baseboards taupe or gray. That’s my signature trick: White is too stark and cheapens the look. You want the room to be calming enough to sleep in but dark enough to screen a film in.

 

Bookshelf
Photo: Courtesy of Room & Board
Melissa Benham
Photo: Erika DuFour

Melissa Benham

Principal at Studio Gild in Bucktown

Have it double as an office, but think of it as a den. Take some risks that you wouldn’t in your master bedroom. Start with a bold wallpaper, like an Hermès overscale floral. The most important item is a daybed without a headboard. It can be a simple platform bed or a convertible from Design Within Reach. Cover it with pillows and blankets. Have some fun with color, pattern, and texture. Choose a desk from Chairish or 1stdibs, and push it against the wall for a sophisticated look. Stash the office supplies and filing cabinets in the closet using an Elfa storage system. (Add an electrical outlet so you can put your printer in there.) Choose a slim bookshelf that disappears when it’s filled; Room & Board makes a nice one. Add some fun furnishings, like an Auskin sheepskin rug or Etsy artwork—anything but family photos. The room shouldn’t feel too familiar. And no TV. This is a room where you can think and read in peace.

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