How to Design the Perfect Guest Room
With the holidays in full swing, odds are that loved ones from near and far will be pouring into your home over the next several weeks. Luckily, long-time home guru Mary Ella Gabler has curated a hospitality guide for smooth sailing throughout the entertaining season. Her recipe for a cozy, homemade getaway is all in the details, whether that’s fresh flowers with a hand-written note or a fully stocked bathroom.
A veteran of the home décor genre, Gabler is the founder of the luxury bedding and bath company Peacock Alley. Abiding by a philosophy that a well-lived life starts in the bedroom and bathroom, Gabler shares her secrets to create an oasis for every house guest, from your far-away friends to difficult-to-handle relatives.
It all starts with the bed
"Before my guests arrive, I have the sheets professionally laundered and pressed. This is the ultimate luxury and trust me… try it for yourself and you will know why! For the lavish gift, go a step further and personalize your guests' pillowcases. This is something extra special for your guests to take as a keepsake. Provide a playful saying or their family monogram. It is the thought that counts and this is something your guests will always remember."
Shop the look: Soprano Sateen Pillow Cases, $115; peacockalley.com.
Layer, Layer, Layer
"The holidays are the ideal time to provide layers of comfort and warmth for your guests. Not knowing how your guests will sleep or how the weather will turn, I like to leave an extra throw blanket or a duvet folded at the foot of the bed. Guests can simply add or remove these layers of warmth depending on their sleeping preferences. After all, there’s nothing more luxurious than a good night’s sleep!"
Create a thoughtful nightside table
"Provide your guests a space where they can connect, recharge and refresh. Fill a table with a pretty carafe of water, fresh flowers (my personal favorites are lilacs), and a hand-written note welcoming your guests with the wifi password and an extra phone charger. An alternative are these elegant wifi note cards I was treated to on a recent trip. Although the holidays are a time meant to be shared with family and friends, this is a thoughtful way to provide your guests a quiet place to connect in their own personal space."
Shop the look: Wifi Password Card, $8; bellinvito.com.
Make the bathroom truly indulgent
"The guest bathroom is an extension of the bedroom and a chance to really spoil your guests. Make sure to provide a stack of fresh, plush towels, a comfortable robe, and some of your favorite beauty products to create a spa-like experience. The little things like an extra toothbrush, toothpaste, and cotton balls make a welcome difference."
"I prefer a fresh clean scent around the house. Leave a candle in the bathroom. If you have a bathtub, continue to build a spa-like experience for your guests. I love a perfectly built bathtub basket. If your guests are new to town, provide a current local magazine with a list of upcoming events or your go-to city guide filled with the city favorites. Bath tub reading is indulgent!"
"Make sure your guests sleep soundly. It is always a nice touch to provide earplugs and eye masks. No one wants to be woken up on his or her vacation."
"I always appreciate a little extra room and freshly pressed clothes and after a long day traveling, nothing sounds better. Keep an extra iron or steamer in the closet (along with extra hangers). For an extra touch, keep a robe and fresh slippers in the closet."
Shop the look: Conair Extreme Steam Fabric Steamer with Dual Heat, $35; target.com.
It’s a Framer
"Depending on the guest, I might also include a framed photo of the guest and myself to add a personal touch. Maybe a snapshot taken a few years ago, reliving fond memories and favorite traditions."
Fancy a Cocktail?
"For an extra personal touch, I always like to ask in advance what my guest’s favorite cocktail is. Who doesn’t want to be welcomed with a holiday toast awaiting them? Our go-to holiday cocktail is Uncle Joe’s Old Fashioned. It’s a family tradition!"