Interiors: Sort out your spare room before the season's guests arrive
PUBLISHED: 18:30 20 November 2014 | UPDATED: 18:36 20 November 2014
There's nothing like an occasion to spur us into action and make us look afresh at decor. And with Christmas only weeks away, there's no more pressing task than the spare room.
If there’s a good reason why you keep the door to this room permanently closed (magnet for clutter/dumping ground for surplus possessions/last on the list for a makeover) - don’t despair.
Sorting the spare probably needs only a few hours - simple DIY tasks, painting a feature wall or re-upholstering a headboard can work wonders.
Add in a shopping trip for new bedding and a few accessories, and you’ll complete its transformation. Make it even more painless by browsing high street and supermarket home ranges, which offer a brilliant selection of bargains.
“Focusing on a spare room’s well worth it, because you can end up falling back in love with the space. Even a simple revamp could make it into somewhere you’ll enjoying using long after the guests have gone,” says Claire Hornby, creative stylist at Barker & Stonehouse, encouragingly.
“It’s essential first to think about the space and layout that you have to work with, especially if you plan on buying new furniture, so you choose the right size and shape to suit the room’s dimensions.
All too often, the style of this room is an after thought and it ends up with play safe but dull decor, and a selection of mismatched furniture.
“To create a fashionable feel similar to a 5-star hotel, ensure the bed is as large and comfortable as possible, and complement with two bedside tables and a mirror. Last but not least, have sufficient lighting - a table and a floor lamp will give guests a choice of ambience they wish to create - task lighting or soft, overall lighting. Give a priority to the room just as you would to your visitors.”
A bedroom decorated in pale blues conjures a light, harmonious atmosphere - ideal for a room where you want guests to instantly relax and feel at home.
“Transforming a chaotic spare bedroom into a calm and peaceful guest bedroom may seem like a daunting task, but with a few simple changes, it’s easy to create a homely space,” says Kate Tansley, creative director, Multiyork.
“Make a list of all the possessions crowding the space and decide which can be moved either into under-bed storage or stowed away in the loft.
“Once the clutter’s out of the way, freshen up the decor with a coat of paint on at least one feature wall, and follow the colour theme with bedding. This will enhance the feeling of space by bringing cohesion to the scheme. Don’t forget finishing touches, such as guest towels, scented candles, and bathroom products for a hotel-style room.”
We’re all greedy for more space but can unwittingly waste it by not using every inch - and that’s most common in spare rooms. Fitted furniture solutions and space saving pieces can make all the difference.
“In many households, the spare room needs to serve as a multifunctional space,” says Claire Hornby.
“If space is limited, consider a sofa bed, so you retain maximum floor space during the day. Flexible storage, if you can’t afford fitted solutions, will help give the impression a room is larger, because clutter will be minimised and floor space maximised.
“Storage trunks stacked in a corner look great, as do wire baskets, which are currently very on-trend. Drawers or boxes on wheels are also a wonderful option, as they can be moved around easily.”
For a streamlined look, it’s hard to beat a fully-fitted room, which incorporates a foldaway bed. Bespoke fitted furniture specialist Neville Johnson has a 24-hour room concept, allowing you to work, rest and play all in one room. Bed and storage starts from £3,000.
Red, traditionally the keynote colour for the season, is perhaps an over-bold choice for a bedroom, but perfect for an occasionally used spare room. This rich colour instantly has a cosseting, warm effect and adding luxury textures, like velvet and faux fur, will make it even more snugly.
“A spare room should be a homely haven for guests, where they don’t just sleep but can also retreat and unwind occasionally - something which will be especially welcome in a busy household at Christmas,” says Katie Watson, interior designer for furniture chain, Fishpools.
“Splashes of deep colour always give a lift and if the room’s well equipped with ample free-standing furniture, it can be re-arranged to double as a restful homework/hobby area or den, for the whole family, once the festivities are over.
“Essentials, space permitting, are a chest of drawers (the top surface can work as a dressing table), blanket box, bedside table and a wardrobe - or at least a hanging rail. Don’t forget a generous layering of throws on the bed, cushions, and personal details, such as a selection of books and magazines.”
Choose throws and embellished cushions in a rich festive colour palette, such as ruby reds, burnt oranges and greens. Add details such a bowl filled with red glass baubles, a tiny tree and maybe a framed collage of photos of family and friends taken last Christmas, to evoke memories.