Decorate with Crafts

Suite Retreat

Follow the Country Sampler stylists' handy tips to create a spring-themed guest bedroom that's as "suite" as can be!

CS508WDWC01Along with warmer temperatures, longer days and the return of garden-fresh flowers, spring often brings with it visiting friends and family who take advantage of the ideal traveling weather. To help one Illinois homeowner get her spare bedroom guest-ready, Country Sampler stylists Sally-Jo Enstad and Catherine Parker recommended saluting the season with a pretty bedding ensemble and focusing efforts on providing smart storage solutions. "When decorating a guest room, you want to make sure that the space is inviting, but also functional," Sally-Jo explains. "As you choose furniture, think about whether or not a piece can double as storage space for luggage."

Catherine adds that existing furniture can be modified for more stow-away potential. "Usually the closet of a spare room is filled with our own stuff, so guests need somewhere to put their belongings that's out of the way," she says. "Bring in a bench with a lift-up seat for extra storage. Or, try boosting the bed up on plastic risers and covering them with an extra-long bed skirt. Just be sure you check under the bed before guests leave!"

Accommodating a guest often means moving furniture around the room -- or even to another space. The stylists suggest relocating a desk or other workspace to an area such as a large landing or a corner of your own bedroom. "It's only temporary, but it will make your guests feel at home because they aren't in the way of your bill-paying or letter-writing," Sally-Jo says. "And a happy guest means a happy host!"

CS508WDWC02Haute Chocolate
A white ceiling and neutral flooring help balance out the bold wall color in this cozy bedroom and prevent the dark hue from shrinking the space. Also, an old-fashioned white bed frame contrasts with the walls and draws attention to a springy bedding ensemble. "This room's deep chocolate walls are warm and welcoming, but we wanted to make sure that the look stays fresh enough to not seem closed-in," Sally-Jo says. "Floral bedding in shades of pink, green and baby blue contrast perfectly with the brown. The bedding's palette comprises a lot of trendier colors, but the vintage floral pattern and the cotton fabric keep the ensemble from seeming too modern."
Not only is the room visually a breath of fresh air, subtle storage ideas pop up throughout the space. In the left corner, a white jelly cupboard with plenty of room to stash clothes and small bags acts as a nightstand. The stylists topped the cabinet off with a framed print perched at an angle on a stack of books, a cute bird figurine and a handy black metal clock.

CS508WDWC03In Your Corner
More extra supplies get a fashionable treatment in the opposite corner, where the stylists displayed rolled-up bath towels in a wicker basket and repurposed a basket stand as a spot for hanging a bathrobe. "We also hung a bucket of bath supplies on the basket stand so that guests wouldn't have to worry about where to store their toiletries," Catherine says. The stylists also dressed up the corner area with decorative plates hung on the wall; for extra dimension, they attached smaller dishes to larger plates using hook-and-loop fastening tape.

CS508WDWC04Desk For Success
"Instead of tripping over your guests and going into their private space to pay your bills or write a letter, move your workspace to another area of the house," Catherine suggests. "In this house, we were able to set up a desk just outside the guest room on the second-floor landing."
Painted a soft mocha hue, the walls of the landing provide a welcoming gateway into the dark brown bedroom. The stylists played up the contrasting white paneling behind the desk with an ornately framed mirror hung on the wall above. "Vertical paneling that reaches three-quarters of the way up really makes a wall feel taller than it is," Sally-Jo says.
When this workstation isn't covered in paperwork, it's the perfect spot for an arrangement of spring treats that give a preview of the guest room's decor. A pretty pillow on the chair echoes the hues of the bedding ensemble; a sign on an easel adds a dash of humor; and several flowerpots used for supplies repeat the garden theme. "You might love the desk's new location so much, you'll want to leave it in that spot even after the guests are gone," Catherine says. "It's the perfect place to settle in with your coffee or tea in a pretty mug and write in your journal."

CS508WDWC05A New Angle
Even though space is at a premium in this guest bedroom, Sally-Jo and Catherine set the dresser at an angle in the corner for more visual impact. "When arranged this way, the dresser does take up a little bit more room," Catherine explains, "but it makes the area more visually dynamic and draws attention to the great dormered ceiling. Plus, you can stash a suitcase or a backpack behind the dresser if space is really an issue."

To dress up the chest of drawers, the stylists put together a simple collection of springy accents, including a trio of enamelware pots filled with blossoms, a bird's-nest-themed lamp and a pair of too-cute ceramic birds. Above the dresser, a painted wood sign heralds the season alongside a painted tin picture frame. "For a special touch, place a favorite photo of yourself and your guest in the frame," Sally-Jo recommends. "They'll feel so welcomed by all your thoughtful preparations, they may never want to leave!"

Written by Elizabeth Preston
Photographed by Maurice Victoria
Styled by Sally-Jo Enstad & Catherine Parker
Produced by Dennis Morgan