Unless you live in a huge home with spare rooms, creating a home office can be a challenge. It usually means clearing out one room and moving your desk in there. And when you have to give up one room for another, the guest bedroom is usually the first to go.
But you don’t have to give up your guest bedroom to add a home office. You can actually combine them, and have them both!
Keep reading for decorating ideas on how to create the perfect home office guest room.
1. Make It Warm and Inviting
There’s one main rule to remember when decorating a home office that doubles as a guest room:
Don’t make it look or feel too much like an office or too much like a bedroom. You have to find the right balance and hit that sweet spot in the middle.
But how exactly do you do that?
The trick is to make the room feel warm, inviting, and welcoming to guests. However, that doesn’t mean you need to load it up with throw pillows and homemade quilts. The space still needs to encourage you to focus on work.
After all, working from home is fun but challenging. It’s easy to lose focus. Your home office/guest bedroom should inspire you to put the pedal to the metal.
Related: 12 Legitimate Work-at-Home Jobs
And the best way to do that is to add a few personal touches.
Whether it be wall art or a specific paint color, you must make it your own. Otherwise, you might end up with a space that looks more like a hotel room than a comfortable bedroom.
And be sure to take your guest’s needs into consideration. For example, you might like the idea of working in a room painted with bright orange walls.
But will your guests want to sleep in a room with bright orange walls? Probably not.
2. Opt For a Small Bed
When picking furniture for your home office/guest room, the bed is one of the most important decisions you’ll have to make. Having a full or queen size bed in the middle of the room will instantly make it feel more like a bedroom than an office.
So rather than a traditional bed, opt for a daybed, a sleeper sofa, or a Murphy bed instead.
Murphy beds work exceptionally well in small spaces. If you’re trying to turn a tiny room into a guest room and an office, these are great as they fold up into a wall nook. You can pull it out when you have people over and fold it back up when they leave.
If that’s not an option, a sleeper sofa or a daybed will work just as well.
Plus, having a sofa in your office provides even more options. It offers a comfortable place to sit if people visit you during working hours. You can even use it yourself when you need a break from sitting at your desk.
And when you have overnight guests? Just pull it out to create a comfy place for them to sleep.
Sofa beds are great for any guest room – even if you don’t use the room as a work space. With a couch instead of a full bed, that spare bedroom can also be a sitting room or a reading room where you can enjoy some quiet time.
3. Choose a Low-Profile Desk
Like the bed, the desk you choose makes a huge difference in a dual-functioning space. An enormous glass desk with an oversized chair on casters is sure to make your room look more like a corporate office than a home workspace.
Finding the right desk and chair combo is essential to creating a double duty home office.
Here’s how you do it:
Choose a streamlined desk that’s on the small side. It should be just big enough to fit your laptop and whatever other tech devices you need to do your job. Choose a chair that’s comfortable enough for you to work in all day and that guests will want to sit in when they’re visiting.
But the desk and chair aren’t the only things to consider. Be aware of where you place other office essentials such as printers and file cabinets.
Instead of traditional metal filing cabinets, opt for storage cabinets that look more like furniture. Keep printers concealed as much as possible. You can place them on a small shelf or atop a cabinet in the corner of the room.
The less the room looks like an office, the more comfortable your guests will be! This is especially true if you’re renting out your room on Airbnb. Guests, especially ones traveling for work, consider a workplace essential. They’ll thank you for this, trust me.
4. Include a TV
If having a television in your office seems counterintuitive, you’re right. TV doesn’t always lend itself to working remotely in a productive manner.
But your guests will undoubtedly appreciate having one in the room. So you might have to bite the bullet and mount one to the wall.
There’s no need for a massive TV like that one you have in your living room. A 24” screen is more than sufficient in a guest room.
Plus, when you’re having a rough day at work, you can always turn on the TV to unwind for a second. You can check in on the news, watch a few minutes of a movie, or catch up on some mind-numbing reality TV – whatever helps you relax so you can get back to work!
5. Organize With Shelving
Whether the room is small or large, making use of vertical space with wall shelves is a great way to make a room look and feel even bigger.
Use those shelves to organize office supplies, books, and other work essentials so you can free up space on the floor to put a small cabinet. You can then use that cabinet to store additional things or provide your guests with storage for their personal belongings.
The less crowded the room is; the more inviting and welcoming it will be. If you have three or four metal file cabinets around the room, it’s not going to feel very warm. But one floor-to-ceiling bookcase that covers an entire wall can provide the same amount of storage.
And it won’t look like an office cubicle or a storage closet in a corporate office.
It’s also important to think about the type of work that you do.
If you run your own business or have access to sensitive documents and confidential information, don’t store them in the nightstand. Make sure you have a safe space to store that info. Regardless of how well you know your guest, it’s best to keep confidential materials in a cabinet or drawer with a lock!
6. Don’t Overcrowd the Room
When decorating a home office/guest room, there are only five pieces of furniture that you actually need:
Before you buy any new furniture, measure the room. Then, decorate with pieces that fit to scale.
The smaller the room; the smaller your bed or sleeper sofa should be. Don’t burden yourself by squeezing a bed frame into a small room.
The trick to creating a great design in any room is to find pieces that work together. Items should coordinate in color and style.
But they don’t have to be matchy-matchy. In fact, a room covered entirely in one color might actually freak your guests out.
Regardless of the pieces you choose, be true to your personal design aesthetic so the room feels like you. Remember, it’s going to be your home office, so if you work online full-time, you have to be comfortable in the space!
7. Choose the Right Lighting
Some people prefer to work with bright overhead lighting (like those fluorescent bulbs in traditional office spaces). But that type of lighting can be a nightmare in a guest room.
If you use overhead lighting while you work, be sure to include at least one table lamp beside the couch or bed. This way, guests won’t be irritated by overhead bulbs late at night, and they’ll be able to turn off the light when they start to get sleep.
If you buy a lighting fixture that doubles as a ceiling fan, it’s best to choose one that offers the option to use the light or fan on its own.
It’s even better if you buy a remote-controlled fan light. That way, your guests can adjust the fan while they’re lying in bed!
8. Think Cozy
To make the room feel as much like a bedroom as possible, you’ve got to add some cozy elements. Otherwise, there’s no point in inviting guests at all!
Include little details like area rugs, throw pillows, and decorative accents or plants. These elements go a long way in turning your workroom into a comfortable guest space.
But don’t go overboard with the personal touches. It’s not the place to show off your antique dolls or display your collection of shot glasses from around the world.
Keep it simple with tasteful accents that reflect your style but won’t make someone else feel out of place. Something as simple as a soft blanket on the back of the couch or a few comfy pillows can make a huge difference in the overall design.
9. Keep It Neat
For some people, this is the most difficult step. But if a room has to serve two functions, you need to keep it neat at all times.
When you’re working, an organized space will help you be productive. And when a last-minute guest decides to spend the night, it will be that much easier to transform the space from your office to a bedroom.
Keep the clutter to a minimum. During the workday, it can be easy to let your desk get overrun by paper, sticky notes, and memos. But if you want the room to function in two ways at any given point in time, you have to keep it in order.
Keep the desk free and clean by hanging a corkboard or a memo board on the wall to hold those unavoidable papers and notes. Store your office supplies, such as staplers, pens, and paper clips, in boxes on a shelf. Nothing screams office like a desk littered with clips, pens, and notepads!
And whenever you’re done using something, put it back in its assigned storage space. The best way to maintain a clean office is to put things back in their home when you’re done using them.
Want to make $$$ renting out your home office guest room?
If you want to create a room that functions successfully as a guest bedroom and a home office, there are nine things to keep in mind:
As you can see, turning your guest room into an office is easy. It just takes a few pieces of furniture and an eye for organization. With some careful thought and a bit of strategic thinking, even a small home office can double as the perfect guest room.
So, it’s time to put on your interior designer hat and get to work.
Make sure the space is both cozy for your guests and comfortable for you to work in. If you privilege your guest’s needs over yours, you’ll feel like a stranger in your own office.
But if you ignore the fact that other people will sleep in the room, your home office could be very uncomfortable for guests.
So, do your best to achieve a balance. It seems like a challenge – but it can be done. Keep our design ideas in mind, and your old guest bedroom can become a home office combo in no time at all!