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Hi. My name is Sarah, and I have a sad guest bedroom. Possibly, the saddest little guest bedroom of all time.

guest bedroom before - left corner

Even though other rooms in this house have been easy contenders for Longest Room Renovation Of All Time, the guest bedroom IS THE WINNER, in my opinion. Not because there aren’t still other rooms that need to be finished with a capital F, but because it’s never been functional. Other rooms have managed to still serve their purposes (somewhat) as I’ve worked on them, leaving my guest bedroom as my dark little secret. It has mostly served as a dumping ground for all of the things I have never had a place for (also things I intended to haul away to Goodwill, miscellaneous electronics, dog stuff, etc.), and to be honest, I haven’t really cared about it for very selfish reasons. Who could blame me, though? When you’re remodeling, you don’t invite people over. It’s too embarrassing and easier just to hide behind a closed door. So, with no guests invited, there were no guests to need their own bedroom… just extra space to “temporarily” put all of my Christmas decorations so I didn’t have to look at them anymore.

guest bedroom before - back left corner

As luck would have it, I was visiting my pals in North Carolina recently while my boyfriend decided it was the perfect time to surprise me with cleaning it out. One, because he’s a neat freak and simply couldn’t take it anymore; two, because I was already taking out the Christmas decor and needing it for the holidays; and three, not having to clean something is totally one of my love languages.

guest bedroom before - right wall

I have been talking to K about remodeling the guest bedroom for the last few months. With the main level of the house now clean and remodeled enough to regularly invite friends over for dinner, the option of also having a nice guest bedroom seems like the next logical step when I consider the overall guest-friendliness of my home (Atlanta is a driving city as are most of the suburbs, so it always means someone needs to be DD or pay for rideshare if alcohol is involved, and I most definitely ply my friends and family with booze in my role as host… fire pits are just more fun that way!).

guest bedroom before - front wall

So, as far as guest bedroom friendliness goes… I have plenty of room to step up my game, here. With the recent cleanup, I also got an opportunity to take these before photos (I’ve learned just to shoot the room in lots of different angles just in case the before and after looks especially good from one side).

guest bedroom before - right back corner

guest bedroom before - left wall

There are a few ideas I’ve been kicking around that I really think could do well in here, and I’d LOVE to get your thoughts on this blank space too, since there are a lot of decisions to be made:

“The Saddest Guest Bedroom” Improvement Plan (ish):

  • Paint… I’m not sure if I want to repaint or not. Or maybe add cool molding? This is a variation of a common color I’ve used throughout the house, but this particular version looks great on two walls and really terrible on the other two because of the light from the window and overhead light.
  • Speaking of overhead lighting, I think a ceiling fan would do best in here, but I hate the look of most ceiling fans. It will probably take a while to find the right fit.
  • In terms of my romantic life (and life in general), there are more people and dogs in it. Charlie has had a monopoly on this room as “hers” for a really long time (not planned, of course, but it also explains why she was curious about me being in the room in the video below). So, I’d like to make this room more friendly for K’s needs given how much time he spends over at my house now. Similar to how I work around the clock and on weekends, it’s not unusual for him to bring his work and computer over. The guest bedroom is the easiest space to use for this, since I work virtually everywhere else.
  • Even though the room is a “guest bedroom”, the actual need for it to be used as a bedroom is a much smaller piece of the room utility pie. So, if the bed itself could be tucked away somehow when not in use (such as a really awesome Murphy bed build like The DIY Village did below), that would be great. Even better if we could make the underside a couch when not in use. It would be a VERY ambitious project, but a perfect thing to try to figure out as winter limits my outdoor shed-building activities.

DIY Village murphy bed setup

  • Adding in bookshelves on either side of the bed would also be great for displaying K’s vintage camera collection, my vintage maps, and photos from travels (how cool would that look???).
  • As many of you know, I run on a semi-regular basis with a group of my friends and would love to have a designated spot indoors for my related workouts. I think a foldaway area right in the corner (behind the door, so the least likely area you’d see when you walked in) would be perfect for a small set of shelves for the workout gear and yoga mat.
  • Finally, the remaining wall/corner could be a shelf/desk combo option where one of the shelves might slide/flip out at desk level to have double-duty but not stick out when not in use. Another DIY custom build idea, but another idea that makes my power tool arm itch with anticipation.

So… totally likely to happen quickly, right? Ha. It’ll inch by as my room realities always do, but if part of the issue with having a blank slate of a room like this is having a plan and the desire to get it done, I’d say I at least have that now!

“The Saddest Guest Bedroom” Video Tour

Since I’ve been trying to make good on my promise to do more video as I move along with these rooms and projects, here’s a quick “before” guest bedroom tour so you can take in all of its blandness. Charlie makes a cameo, of course (because whenever I make a video, she is curious why I’m talking by myself and assumes I must be doing something she needs to investigate). This is my first time embedding this particular video type into one of my posts, so if it doesn’t play or you aren’t seeing it in your feed, be sure to click over to the post or to Youtube if you have trouble and let me know!

Got any of your own thoughts on this room? I’d love to hear it!

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13 Comments

  1. Is there a closet that could be converted or enlarged to accomodate Murphy Bed to not lose space? Or turn into desk/office area? Then add nice armoire to house yoga equipment, etc or you would have room then for sofa. Liking your ideas!

    1. Unfortunately ALL of the closets other than the master are those shitty-ass closets where the door isn’t the full width of the closet space, so it’s just a simple door and a little bit more storage on either side. But it also doesn’t have ENOUGH space on the inside of the closet where the labor would be worth it to open up the doors and expand it along the wall. It’s always been kind of a chip on my shoulder with this house (obviously, as I’m clearly in a huff just typing this comment, haha). The closet is also where I store holiday decor that can’t be stored in the attic (my antique glittery ornaments would tarnish if left up in extreme weather conditions in the attic space, so they have to be kept in the interior storage instead). So I don’t really want to convert the existing storage space and would prefer to add a little more.

    1. I hadn’t! Thank you for sharing this! I was considering some sort of hacking the existing bed, so this is kind of right along that thinking.

  2. If you are seriously thinking of sofa + murphy bed in the room – why don’t you just use a sofa bed? Not nearly as exciting but a lot fewer headaches!

    I like the idea of a shelf that slides out for a desk – although a fairly narrow table makes a nice guest desk. I actually purchased a hotel desk at a furniture liquidator that I used as laptop desk/sewing machine table for years. I could hide a few supplies in the drawer that spanned the entire width and put the sewing machine on the floor beside it leaving the top for guests to spread out their stuff when necessary.

    1. Lots of food for thought in such a short comment! Ha! I considered a sofa bed, I really have… but sofa beds usually aren’t all that comfortable and the styles are limited. So if I found something that was totally PERFECT, I might try that route, but the appeal of a custom build means I can do exactly what I want to make it look more my style. Great suggestions though, writing them down!

  3. I can attest to that Rockler DIY Murphy Bed kit. We bought it, the plans, and the shelf plans a few years ago and have the bed, although not the shelves, completed. Our house is in a perpetual state of confusion, and the guest room is most often used by my parents when in town. The biggest hurdle I remember when putting it all together was finding the right wood supplies. Lowe’s may have a better selection now, but at that time it was just basic lumber. We went out to Suwanee Lumber Company (Buford Highway in Suwanee before you get to the “town center” area, for NE Atlanta locals) and they had a great selection and were pretty helpful. I will say I recall that there were parts of this that were definitely a two person job and there were things I’d do a little differently (I HATE veneer and wish I had never seen that stupid veneer strip the instructions call for on the edge), and some a lot differently (mostly to do with my finishing choices). At any rate, it stays mostly down now (because you know…cats), but when we need the extra space that fold up option is AMAZING to have.

    1. I’ve been looking at that kit! But also looking at another supplier just to see what my options are too. Thanks for the tip on the lumber supply, that’s not too far of a drive for me so I’ll definitely check it out! I can’t remember but that might actually be a place I’ve been to before.

  4. In our home back in Georgia, we had one main-living-area guest room, but we didn’t have guests often. So our cat took over, it was his room. When we *did* have guests, especially since they would usually stay for a week or so, our cat would be very confused and annoyed that his queen bed was suddenly occupied.

    1. I think Charlie is having the same feelings. But she’s getting used to the change (just as she got used to having my bf’s dog around all the time). She’s a pretty good adapter!

  5. Hey Sarah. I recently came across your blog and I’m excited to see where you take this guest room! I recently bought my first house with my wife. We’re also doing a ton of renovations to our home and documenting it in a blog. My sense of aesthetic isn’t as polished as yours, so I’m looking forward to following this to get some ideas. Cheers!

  6. Hi Sarah! You have a lot of great ideas for your guest room, and I am excited to see if you do pick a Murphy bed I love any space saving furniture! I just inherited the furniture for my guest bedroom so I am in a similar state of trying to make things work, right now I have to figure out how to make matching curtains and chairs stylish. Best of luck on your project and I look forward to reading!

    1. Matching curtains and chairs? That is definitely a throwback! If it doesn’t work out the way you hoped, maybe you can reuse the fabric somehow (like maybe pillows or an ottoman for a different room, for example). Glad to have you along for the transformation!