Guest Quarters

Published 10:00 pm Monday, February 29, 2016

In this guest room, a lovely English wallpaper with birds and flowers gives the room an air of lightness, joy and comfort. Photo by Tim Lee. Design by Drummond House.

In this guest room, a lovely English wallpaper with birds and flowers gives the room an air of lightness, joy and comfort. Photo by Tim Lee. Design by Drummond House.

Do you remember the wonderful feeling you had the last time you stayed in a five-star hotel or a fine bed and breakfast? Your guest room, barn apartment or guest house can be transformed so that your guests leave feeling rested, pampered and refreshed.

Twin beds are often best in a guest room, they accommodate a variety of people. In a room with limited space, such as the barn apartment I was recently in, a Murphy bed can be the ideal arrangement. A comfortable mattress is a must, it should be firm but have a soft surface so that you are supported but feel like you are sleeping on a cloud.

With linens, cotton is the ideal, as they are soft, cool and launder well. Supima cotton is the best and the higher the thread count, the more luxurious they are. If you are lucky enough to have someone to iron them or can afford to send them to the laundry your guests will sleep in the lap of luxury. I personally prefer white towels as they can be bleached if a guest gets make-up on them. Be generous and give your guest plenty of towels.  The same with pillows always have extras available.

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I recently saw a picture of a guest room decorated by interior designer Vincent Wolf. It is simple and romantic. The walls are painted a beautiful shade of yellow. The twin beds are iron and are painted white; they have yellow bed skirts and white linens with embroidered, lacy pillowcases. There is a natural wicker table between the beds and a camel colored rug on the floor. Some simple black and white art in white frames hangs above the beds. The pharmacy lamps that hang on the wall at the side of each bed are also white. At the windows are roman shades in a plain yellow fabric that matches the walls, with a white border down each side. You could use white faux wood wide Venetian blinds. They would look wonderful and be cost effective.

Speaking of paint, the easiest, least expensive way to give any room a wonderful look is to paint the walls a beautiful color. Benjamin Moore has a paint collection called Fresh Pales. It has many restful colors in it that would be perfect for a guest room.

The finishing touches that a make a guest feel pampered and special are some books or interesting magazines, nice smelling soap and shampoo in the bathroom, potpourri in a bowl and some fresh flowers in a vase in the bedroom. An alarm clock (I always forget mine), an electric coffee pot, and a small refrigerator are nice additions.

If you have a guest house, remember that the same principles remain true for the living room and kitchen.  Comfort, cleanliness and warmth are what I would want in guest house living room. Comfortable sofas and chairs, good light, good color on the walls, and perhaps a fireplace to sit in front of and enjoy a glass of wine in the winter months are a recipe for sure success.

One of the horse farms I recently visited had a barn apartment that was connected to the barn through the tack room. This served as a mudroom as well, keeping the guest apartment clean. Also, it’s easy to saddle up in the morning if you were staying there for a weekend of riding.

For the many horse farm owners that have guest quarters that are used by riders coming for equestrian events or friends coming to spend a weekend, you can give them an unforgettable experience if you add a memorable room to stay in. It can be a very simple space as long as it is comfortable, clean and fills their needs.

The guest room I used here to illustrate my point has lovely English wallpaper with birds and flowers to give the room an air of lightness and joy, the curtains treat a window stuck in a corner in a way that gives it style and color. The dressing table can double as a desk and the bed with its many pillows is a place to truly get a good night’s sleep. It is a guest room that leaves your guests savoring the memory.

Gillian Drummond has her design studio, Drummond House, in Tryon, N.C. You can view her website at and reach her at or 828-859-9895.