Room to Spare
Festive guests are the perfect excuse to turn that neglected dumping ground into a stylish room. Gabrielle Fagan reveals the superb solutions for sprucing up that sorry space
Guests can be a duty or a pleasure, but whichever category they fall into, they need a stylish, comfortable room for overnight stays. Naturally, if you like them, you'll want to treat them to such a spoiling space that it encourages them to stay longer - and if you don't, if they like their room at least they'll want to retreat to it .
Either way, a smart spare is especially helpful during the festive holidays, when everyone crammed into one space can send tension levels soaring. So, look on those looming visitors as just the nudge you need to turn that long-neglected space into a beautiful boudoir.
"My wife and I have three children and we both come from large families, but it's nice to do Christmas on our terms sometimes. We designate one room for the children and then have another kitted out with a sofa, bed and a couple of chairs, to make it into a peaceful sanctuary from the happy chaos, noise and mess of the holiday," says Charlie Marshall, founder of sofa and bed specialists Loaf .
"To make your guest room snug, add lots of blankets to the bed. At our home, we have giant lambswool ones, which are super soft and so large they cover the whole bed. I'm a fan of laid-back pure linen bedding, which feels soft and natural, rather than starched and ironed - bedlinen which looks nice, but doesn't feel as cosy.
"My other tip is go easy on the cushions, which may look great stacked on a bed, but will inevitably end up littering the floor, which can be really annoying in a small room."
Keen to transform your spare? Take your pick from 'hotel-room luxe' or 'beautiful on a budget' - the effort will pay dividends as after those welcome (or pesky!) guests have departed, you can reclaim the space and finally start enjoying a room which previously may have been wasted or treated like a dumping ground.
Small but Smart
Limited space or a tight budget doesn't mean you can't create a stunning spare. Space-saving solutions and budget pieces can save the day - and the visit.
"Guest rooms should be warm and welcoming, as opposed to an afterthought," says Alison Cork, founder of online interiors company Within.
"Keep a colour scheme simple - two shades always works best - so ultra fashionable grey and white, or give a room a festive feel, with red and white.
"For this room, the little thoughtful touches, which needn't be expensive, are everything. A throw, a lamp, a radio, a basket of bath goodies, scented drawer liners and a candle, and a pile of magazines all work together to conjure a cosseting atmosphere."
Ensuring there are enough electrical sockets for charging phones, tablets laptops, plus an extension cable near the bed, is a pleasing, practical touch.
Spoil the Spare: Save pennies and simply paint the bedhead wall as a feature, or revamp old furniture for instant effect. The Colours paint range at B&Q includes a Grey Slate Emulsion (£13.94 for 2.5L).
Style connoisseurs know Dunelm is a brilliant destination for affordable pieces - Skandi Oak Low Bedstead (from £449.99); Elements White Telephone Table, (£69.99, which could double as a bedside table), and Elements Set Of Three Wooden Painted Drawers (only £7.99).
If space is an issue, Boncept has two contemporary solutions: a Melo 2 Sofa (£1,659), which reclines into a bed position, or a Kyoto Sofa Bed, which folds flat to make a double (£1,389). Loaf's super Two Pack Daybed (£875) has a top which lifts off and can be placed next to the base to make a double bed.
Follow a red and white theme with an Asinara White Matt Pendant Ceiling Light (£46), B&Q; add a Mini Book Lamp (right, £3.99), The Oak Room, and for a seasonal touch, a red Christmas Cushion (above, £1), Poundland.
Spare no Expense
Luxury and comfort are the watchwords if you're creating indulgent spaces, where guests can retreat and relax as well as sleep.
"I love a spare room that has personality, style and is a talking point for guests," says Samantha Parish, interior design account manager for Hypnos Beds.
"Being bold in your decor, and creating a room with a boutique hotel look, works brilliantly to give a guest space the 'wow' factor. You can easily capture this look in your own home with an oversized statement headboard, which is a dramatic focal point. Use contrasting bright colours on walls or fabrics, styled with eclectic soft furnishings or accessories."
Spoil the Spare: Cashmere is synonymous with luxury, and Hypnos has an Orthos Cashmere mattress from £1,035 for a double (from £2,050 when purchased with a divan and headboard). Alternatively, Willow & Hall's Foxham two Seater Sofa Bed, upholstered in Magnesium textured linen, currently from £1,053 (previously from £1369), combines good looks with comfort.
Rich colour and fabulous fabrics can transform a room. For instance, a bed canopy adds grandeur to the most modest bed. If you're seeking inspiration, Ian Mankin is a good destination and its Britannia collection, available in on-trend navy blue, includes a Blazer Stripe (£29.50 per metre) and a Dunoon velvet (£49.50 per metre).
Accessorise a blue room with a blue and white Kraakware Ceramic Chinese Table Lamp (£139, shade extra), OKA, and one of my favourite Oliver Bonas pieces, a Velvet Tub Chair in blue (£445).
Luxury bedlinen and towels are a must, and Christy is a byword for top-quality ranges. Bag a bargain right now as its Luxury Egyptian Bedlinen is currently reduced online, with double duvet covers down to £127.50 from £170. Soft textures are soothing and a Mohair Throw (£99) from Within, is a cuddly choice, or a John Rocha Light Purple Faux Fur Cushion, currently reduced from £28 to £19.60, Debenhams. The designer's Silver Cutout Lily Scented Reed Diffuser (left), reduced to £15.40 from £22, would make a perfect finishing touch.