If you've visited my home tour page and read our story, then you know that when we purchased our home we nearly tripled our square footage and had a bunch of blank space to fill. We were fortunate to have stashed some things in a storage unit, and family members upgrades and moves provided us with a TON of stuff. Even with all the stuff we "collected" we still had one empty room.
The smallest of the guest bedrooms became a dumping ground for unpacked boxes and a makeshift project room. We had some crazy life stuff going on shortly after moving in which found us suddenly housing guests constantly! So in a pinch I shifted all the boxes and tubs to one side and blew up my double layered air mattress in an attempt to make it as comfortable as possible given the circumstances.
Side note: if you have more overnight guests than you do guest rooms, get one of these air mattress. They are SO much more comfortable than others and the built in pump makes them super convenient. They can be found at several stores like Academy and Walmart, but I'm pretty sure mine came from Target and is the InstaBed, which you can check out here. I do have one suggestion, place a blanket of some sort between the mattress and fitted sheet, all that air and the plastic material can make it very cold. A simple layer of insulation fixes that!)
A few months after we moved in my parents decided to replace their guest bed and offered their current one to us. While I have a ridiculously large collection of linens, none of them are for a full size bed so I had to start from scratch. We had no intention of furnishing a guest room with so many other priorities so I set out to make it cozy as inexpensively as possible.
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Making The Bed
I already had the blue curtains, silver curtain rod and lots of random blue decor from our last home so I decided to utilize them in order to limit my spending.
I absolutely love hosting, so making sure the space was comfortable and welcoming was my top priority. After price shopping several stores and reading tons of reviews, I ended up purchasing everything from Walmart.
I chose Sweet Home Collection Micofiber Sheets in Navy. I'm personally not a fan of crisp cotton sheets. I prefer something soft and lightweight and these are just that. I don't think they'd hold up long under daily use, but they work well in this space. I will say the dark color attracts lint easily, but not so much that I wouldn't recommend them. I love color, and with a white comforter, a deep splash of navy helps provide balance and warmth to the space.
I love the clean and simple look of a fluffy white comforter, but hate dealing with duvet covers. I'm guilty of just buying cheap comforters and throwing them in the washing machine, with bleach when needed, until they fall apart. What can I say, we all have our shortcuts we refuse to give up! I went with the queen size KingLinen Alternative Down Comforter and for $30 it was a great buy. I like to go up a size on comforters when appropriate. It helps create a more plush look, plus it really helps if you're sleeping next to a blanket hog. : )
Pillows are so personal, and make such a difference in the quality of your sleep. For this reason I almost splurged on expensive pillows, but after reading the reviews I decided to give the Mainstays Collection a shot. I selected two firm for the shams, and two down alternative for the bed pillows. I went with the two very different choices in hopes that everyone who stayed could find something that worked for them.
Because the shams were meant to serve as back up for guests who prefer more than one pillow or a firmer fill, I wanted to be sure the fabric was comfortable and still provided the look I was going for. I ended up selecting these cute quilted cotton Better Homes and Gardens Shams. They're soft but have a bit of texture for contrast. A few extra throw pillows I already had lying around and the bed was almost complete.
I was shopping around for a patterned blanket or throw to add to the foot of the bed when my mom mentioned a quilt she'd made but wasn't being used. Turns out it couldn't have been more perfect for the space and I'm all about personal decor so it's extra special coming from her.
That's when everything else fell into place.
Styling the Space
Before I knew it, this room became a tribute to our families, both past and present, and became home to some of our most sentimental pieces.
The art shown on the wall in the photo above holds photos and medals from my husband's grandfathers military service. The matte is navy and the frame the same warm shades of brown from the quilt. It felt like it was meant to be.
The old tattered navy book and bible on the nightstand belonged to my father-in-law.
The large blue bowl on the opposite night stand once lived in my aunt's amazing Victorian and was gifted to us after we moved in.
Even these tiny details have meaning and purpose. I always want my guests to feel right at home here, which for some includes immediately connecting to the WiFi. The frame holding this information is one of those used at our wedding to showcase photos of the family members no longer with us. The little navy votive is also from our wedding and adorned our sweetheart table at the reception. Lastly the little brass giraffe belonged to my grandmother.
The cat doesn't go there... ha! She actually isn't even allowed in this room. We have so many family members with allergies that we do our best to at least make our guest rooms allergen free sanctuaries. I must not have shut the door completely. I had to take a photo of her caught in action. I'm still getting used to being a cat mom, they're so sneaky!
The Gallery Wall
When I was setting up this space I discovered just how long and narrow the room is. I initially had the bed on a different wall but it totally chopped the room in half. Putting the bed under the window made the room feel SO much bigger but left a huge empty wall to the side. I knew I needed something significant on that wall, but all of our larger pieces were already utilized in other parts of the home. I decided to take a variety of our smaller pieces and create a gallery wall.
With the help of my mom, I started laying things out on the bed until we reached something that felt right. Below is the process in action. We almost went with the layout below. But at the last minute I decided it needed to be smaller so we removed a few pieces.
The key to a good gallery wall is being able to see it as a whole. Picking the right scale for your space is almost as important as the layout. Because the room is so narrow I wanted to be sure you could stand in the center of the room and take it all in without overwhelming the eye.
There are a few special pieces included here as well. The mother of pearl mirror used to hang in my sisters gallery wall. She and her hubby moved to Seattle a few years back and we miss them all the time, so having a piece of them in our gallery wall is a nice touch. Also included is one of our favorite gifts. After we got engaged Taylor's aunt had this adorable piece of art made for us. It's a shadowbox depicting our little family (pup included) made of all natural elements; rocks, twigs, etc. It's very special to us and this felt like the perfect place of honor here in our family "themed" room.
The Antique Vanity
Opposite the gallery wall is an antique vanity that used to be in my mother-in-laws guest room. Another special piece from our family. It had a beautiful mirror that went with it, but unfortunately was damaged when our storage unit flooded a couple of years ago. I hope to find a large mirror to accompany it at some point, but for now I hung some small silver and navy mirrors above it to take up more visual space.
The vanity is staged with mostly random pieces I had from previous designs. However it is home to another one of my father-in-laws old books and an old antique camera that belonged to my grandfather.
He was a baptist preacher and that camera traveled with him on mission trips around the world. The shutter broke at some point in time, and he replaced it with a golf tee. It looks a bit silly but it's part of the cameras story and is so true to my grandpa's personality that it makes me love the camera even more.
Opposite the bed is an old antique chair that sat in my grandparents kitchen my entire life. That dining set is central to so many of my memories of them. While the table continues to be the center of my family in it's current home in my breakfast room, the chairs have mostly retired to my attic with a few exceptions. This one works great in this antique inspired space, and serves as a place to toss a few extra blankets and a tray of goodies for any guests who come to stay.
Last, but certainly not least, is the mosaic cross hung above the chair. It was a gift from my best friend when I moved into my first apartment many years ago. She's not technically family, but my dad calls her "four" as in his fourth daughter, so she might as well be!
It's hard to believe that a space that was last on my list of rooms to set up, that held boxes and leftovers, that rarely saw the light of day, turned out to be my favorite in the house. I feel silly, but just writing about it makes me a little emotional! This room, while unexpected, is a collection of the people dearest to us. The people who have and continue to shape us, that made us who we are. Having so many of them represented here makes this room feel like a hug. A hug that we get to share with those who come to stay, a hug for those dearest to us to feel welcome, safe, and loved. I couldn't have planned a better guest room if I tried!