Can You Do A Guestroom Suite on a Shoestring Budget?

Hi Everyone,

How are y’all doing?

I know. It’s December. And, I know that some of you got some snow today. It missed us here, but we’ve had a lot of clouds, wind, and rain.


In other news, people are still looking at my apartment.


Although there’s a confirmed offer, there is no signed contract as of yet. But, hopefully, that’ll be happening soon.

Okay. I guess most of you know that I no longer take on new clients. However, maybe once a year, I will help an old client with a small project. You might recall this kitchen I worked on late last year and early this year.


Well, the other day a long-time family friend contacted me.


And, actually, I had helped them with some small things in the past. So, when they asked if I could help with their guestroom suite, I couldn’t say no. Okay, it probably isn’t clear why I couldn’t say no, but I can’t say any more than that because they have requested anonymity. Just know that this family is dear to me, and it is an honor to help them in any way that I can.


To get started with the guestroom suite, I discussed a budget.


At first, it was only $5,000, which would be difficult for a guest bedroom suite that’s a bedroom with a living area that’s almost 350 square feet. However, the budget has swelled to 15k.

But, here’s the thing about furniture in today’s marketplace. Most of it is either.


  •  expensive
  • cheap

Yes, there are some moderate-priced brands. Pottery Barn is probably my favorite in that category. Gosh, in our old townhouse, half of it was from Pottery Barn. No joke! There are also many moderate brands on Wayfair. Wayfair runs the gamut from super cheap to super expensive. But, they have a lot of super cheap. And, super cheap is fine as long as it holds up and doesn’t look super-cheap.


We also discussed the styling of the new guestroom suite.


Although, I already knew because I’ve been to this coastal New England home several times. Plus, they sent me a photo from Serena and Lily.

Well, of course, I would love to do a room filled with gorgeous furnishings from Serena and Lily. However, even on sale, their furniture is not inexpensive. It’s fully custom, made in the USA, and of high quality, however. Still, even on sale, a sofa and two chairs will run at least $8,000.00.  We need to keep a sofa and two chairs down to about $3,000.00. Why? Well, I went over what’s required to finish the room, and here’s the list in addition to the sofa and two club chairs.


  • two end tables
  • coffee table
  • four or five lamps
  • one, maybe two rugs
  • pillows for sofa and chairs
  • king-sized bed
  • bed linens
  • night tables
  • maybe a bench for the end of the bed
  • dresser
  • artwork/accessories
  • Maybe some window treatments

Plus, there’s shipping and handling and taxes for at least some of it.


So, how do I begin to design a guest suite? Who knows the answer?


Yes, Maggie, I believe you had your hand up first.


You make a plan.


Yes, that’s right! Very good!

So, did I do that?

No, of course not. Haha, I started looking at furniture.


And, you know what?


That’s okay. That’s because it’s difficult to make a plan unless you have an idea of what you’re going to put in that space.

So, I began the other day looking at furniture for the guestroom suite.

I started looking at beds, sofas, and chairs.

But, sometimes, I start with the space planning.

I didn’t do that this time because I could clearly see where the bed would go and the seating area. That doesn’t mean that this room is a no-brainer to figure out. No. In fact, it’s crucial to pay close attention to the dimensions of the furniture so that you don’t get into a situation of overlapping perpendicular pieces. OR, furniture that overlaps door or window mouldings.

This is where the 333 Decorating Rules and Tips You Need to Know will come in mighty handy. It’s like a cheat sheet for when you go shopping for furniture. It helps with the scale, sizing, and spacing of various furniture pieces in all of the major living and sleeping spaces in your home.


Okay. Do you know what is more difficult than designing a room?


It’s trying to design, source, and write about what you’re doing all simultaneously.

So, I probably won’t finish this today.

But, here’s what I have so far.


The Gallaghers (not their real name) sent me some photos of the room where their youngest is currently hanging out when she’s home from college.


They also sent me a floor plan, and I then created this scale schematic. floor plan guestroom suiteI did it in Picmonkey with a superimposed grid on my board to keep my scale accurate.

The room is almost 14 feet wide by 25 feet long. So, it’s a good-sized room. In fact, it’s the size of most living rooms.


And, below is the furniture layout for this guestroom suite.


guestroom suite remodel floor plan
At the bottom of the plan is a lounge area with a sofa and two club chairs. The Gallaghers already have a seagrass rug they like. Also, I added a 36″ round coffee table and two end tables, and lamps.


pottery-barn-carlisle-sofa - bench seat - guestroom suite


For here, I’m thinking of a deep, comfortable sofa like the Pottery Barn Carlisle sofa with a bench seat in the 82″ size. Oh, I am hoping there’s room in the budget for down cushions. I would rather cut back in other areas than the sofa. This is a terrific sofa because when the back cushions come off, it makes a pretty darned good spare bed– for one person, of course.

Pottery Barn Carlisle sofa everyday performance velvetI’m not expecting them to do white, although I love that, and it comes in performance fabrics that are super practical, even if white. But, this everyday performance velvet would be lovely too. It can be brightened up with beautiful pillows and a throw. Right now, Serena and Lily have all of their pillows, throws, and bed linens on sale!


Soma Mina club chair Pottery BarnFor the club chairs, they could do the Soma Mina club chair from PB.




Or, one of my other favorites, as many of you know, the Irving club chair. Even though the room will have a beachy vibe, I love to add some heft with a bit of leather. It helps to ground the space.


Let’s move on to the bed area of the guestroom suite.


The Gallaghers are all in for a king-sized bed. I love clients who know what they want. I asked them if they wanted the option to make it two twin beds, and they indicated not.


Now, here’s where the rubber meets the road.


Upholstered beds can run upwards of five large. And, we don’t have five large to work with. But, we also don’t want the Gallagher’s guests sleeping on a piece of crap. Right? This is when I rely on the reviews. Raise your hand if you do that too.

I love to check out Wayfair, and I don’t mess around. I make as a condition that the piece MUST have five stars. And, the more, the better. Well, I found some very nice five-star beds in dark blue.

Here’s one of them. It has 33 reviews, and 31 of them gave this bed five stars! That works for me!


I’m not linking to it because the stock is low. Sorry. If you have to have this bed or you’ll die, please contact me, and I’ll let you know.


I love this bed because it doesn’t have that gap you often see between the headboard and the mattress frame. I prefer this because sometimes it’s obvious that there’s a gap and I feel it cheapens the bed.


My other pet peeve about cheap budget beds is when they put those silly little legs on the frame.


It’s as if they think we won’t notice that they’re not real legs? Well, guys. Guess what? We do notice them, and IMO, they’re pretty pathetic. These aren’t the best legs, but they’re tall and tapered. And, I do love the rest of the bed. I think it’ll be quite lovely when made up. One thing I love is the lower headboard.


This room is only eight-feet tall, and I find super tall headboards can look out of scale in a room with a lower ceiling height. I like that the rails are a little higher off the ground, giving it a lighter look. And yet, this bed can hold up to 700 pounds.

- Raleigh Bed Pottery Barn 1199 before 20% off


Pottery Barn also makes an attractive upholstered bed with a variety of fabric options.


I thought it would be cool for a rug to do a Mark D. Sikes favorite and start with a seagrass rug and layer it with a flat weave blue and white stripe in the bed area. In this case, it’s an indoor/outdoor rug I found.


Soraya Blue and White indoor/outdoor rug.


I’d love to change the curtains and have them hung higher and with rings.


Ballard Design Bowen Striped drapery curtain - guestroom suite


These ready-mades from Ballard Designs are on sale. They’re 96″ and will need to be hemmed, however.

I’d also love to see some architectural embellishments like a small crown moulding and perhaps some applied wall mouldings.


Luxe architectural self-sticking mouldings

These are from one of my favorite sources in the new Best of Etsy Guide is Luxe Architectural. The guide is about 150 sources and only $29 if you get it alone. However, you can get it for free, along with the 333 Decorating Rules and Tips Guide, if you get any of my other guides. That’s only from now through the 30th of this month.

Anyway, those mouldings come already put-together with a ton of instructions. And, they are self-sticking! Luxe Architectural also does custom work. Or, you can do what I always do.

Hire someone. lol


Okay, of course, there’s more. However, it will have to wait.


  • Nightstands
  • lamps
  • bench
  • dresser
  • pillows
  • linens
  • art/accessories
  • TV


I’m very much liking the direction this space is going in.


I hope the Gallagher’s like it too. Or, at least some of it.




Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES and the HOLIDAY SHOP filled with holiday decorating ideas and gift guides.


Welcome To Laurel Home!


Hi, I’m Laurel, and Laurel Home is the website and blog for Laurel Bern Interiors.
I’ve been creating new-traditional interiors since 1988. The blog is where I share all.

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