You Can Help Guests Feel Right at Home This Holiday Season By Giving Them a Retreat, Says Margaret Chambers

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By Margaret Chambers

The upcoming holiday season likely will bring a guest or two to stay in your home for a few days. You have some time to create an inviting guest retreat that ensures your family and friends feel both welcome in your home while being able to escape to their own personal retreat to unwind. So, as you contemplate your guest room, follow these suggestions to ensure that your guests have a truly first-class experience.


The Essentials

Make sure the room has a beautiful, well-thought-out color scheme and design that flows with the rest of your home. The style of furnishings should complement the furnishings throughout – not be filled with your first apartment’s leftovers! Be sure to employ proper light fixtures in the room for reading in a bed or working at a desk on a laptop. Also, provide enough lighting at the bathroom vanity to allow guests to see when putting on makeup, shaving, etc. And, of course, don’t forget a night light.

A queen-sized bed is typically perfect for most guest rooms, but my favorite is using a pair of twins. It’s just more practical if you are hosting two guests who don’t know each other especially well. However, a trundle bed is often ideal for a small room.

I love to use unusual beds, often with an antique canopy and interestingly shaped and upholstered headboards. You don’t want to buy a suite of furniture. It looks boring and doesn’t display a personal touch. Mixing finishes and styles is a more unique way to go. You’ll never see a matching suite of furniture in a major interior-design magazine as a featured article; only in an advertisement for a national furniture maker.


Creature Comforts

Utilize efficient window treatments to block out the morning light. Also, include lots of amenities, such as a bowl of fruit and iced-down bottled water, fresh flowers and, perhaps, a small coffee maker accompanied by a fragrant roast. You might consider including a few things they are likely to forget: an extra toothbrush, shaver or hair dryer. Be sure to clean out the closet, dresser and night stand, so your guests have ample room for their belongings.


Another nice touch to have in a guest room is a little sitting area for morning coffee and the latest magazines and newspapers. If a space is available and you are building a new home, include a warm inviting fireplace and an armoire for a flat-screen TV. I am still not a fan of mounting a TV directly on the wall as if it were art – even in contemporary spaces.

Have Fun!

Creating a guest room is an opportunity to let your imagination fly. This is a room where you don’t have to please a spouse or a child. Create a fantasy room, a room that is unforgettable to your guests and one that you can enjoy from time to time. I would also recommend staying a few nights in the room yourself to see how the guests will experience their stay.

When it comes to designing a great guest room, the only limit is your imagination.


Margaret_portrait_new-sm (1)An interior designer for the most discriminating clients, Margaret Chambers is able to achieve the exact looks that her clients envision for their homes. She has more than 60,000 hours of interior design experience to her credit, and her work has been published in more than 20 industry books and magazines. Chambers’ experience, innate talent, and European studies enable her to confidently mix different styles, techniques, and cultures. Her work has earned her state and national awards from the American Society of Interior Designers, and she has been named a Best Designer in Dallas by D Home for eight consecutive years. Sought after by clients who understand the value of superior professional design, Chambers and her team at Chambers Interiors & Associates, Inc. are beloved by clients for the spirit of collaboration that they bring to each project and their willingness to share in the creative process, not control it. You can view her portfolio at


Joanna England

If Executive Editor Joanna England could house hunt forever, she absolutely would. Instead she covers the North Texas housing market and the economy for While she started out with the Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University, Joanna's work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News as well as several local media outlets. When she's not knitting or hooping, or enjoying White Rock Lake, she's behind the lens of her camera. She lives in East Dallas with her husband, son, and their furry and feathered menagerie.

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