Decor & Renovation

How to decorate your guest room for the holidays

By: Brett Walther

Photography by Stacey Brandford Author: Canadian Living Credits: Photography by Stacey Brandford

Decor & Renovation

How to decorate your guest room for the holidays

By: Brett Walther
For designer Karl Lohnes, hosting out-of-town guests is as much a part of Christmas as holly and mistletoe. That’s why he decided to create a designated guest room—complete with ensuite—on the third floor of his Toronto townhouse. “It’s nice to have that spare room you can offer to family and friends, and I rely on it quite heavily,” says Lohnes.

Apart from satisfying his innate flair for hospitality, the guest room also gives this tireless trendspotter the freedom to indulge in some unique decorating opportunities. “There are two rooms in the home that you can always afford to experiment in: the powder room and the guest room,” says Lohnes. “They’re the two rooms that don’t influence your daily life as much, so you can be a bit more daring.”

This holiday, that experimentation took a decidedly feminine design direction, contrasting the masculine, nautical sensibility at the room’s core. Building on the preexisting palette of foggy grey-blues and warm whites, Lohnes transformed the versatile space into a glamorous winter wonderland simply by swapping out the bedding and adding a few festive flourishes.

The warm, welcoming space is now ready to receive all of Lohnes’s houseguests over the holidays. But thanks to hits of flirty fuchsia inspired by Pantone’s 2014 Colour of the Year, there is one visitor in particular who might be reluctant to leave. “My niece is going to fall in love with this room,” he says.

Learn more about decorating your guest room for the holidays by checking out these guest room essentials.

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How to decorate your guest room for the holidays

Pretty towels

White might be right for the master bath, but the towels in a guest room ensuite can have a bit more chutzpah. Although the bold chevron bath linens evoke the signature print of a luxe design label, Lohnes snagged them for a song from none other than Giant Tiger! Decorative trees, urbanoutfitters.com. Reeded glass doors, nautical sconce, homedepot.ca. Boathouse Pine laminate floors, pergo.com. Sink, elte.com. Mirror, bombay.ca. Glitter reindeer, homesense.ca. Bath mat, simons.ca.

By: Brett Walther Source: Stacey Brandford Credits: Canadian Living

How to decorate your guest room for the holidays

Festive figurines

Made from silver German glass, the glitter on this festive figurine has tarnished over time to a charming (and ontrend!) copper colour. Glitter reindeer, homesense.ca.

By: Brett Walther Source: Stacey Brandford Credits: Canadian Living

How to decorate your guest room for the holidays

Reinvent vintage finds

From the charming wooden jam cupboard to the edgy industrial nightstand, virtually all of the furniture was sourced through secondhand shopping websites. Even the room’s pièce de résistance—a tufted vinyl headboard with a show-stopping silhouette—was a Craigslist bargain that just needed a bit of a boost. “It was originally in a yellow, blue and green 1950s floral print, so I gave it a few coats of white spray paint,” says Lohnes. “Now it’s a neutral backdrop for trendier bedding and cushions.” Find the perfect thread count The higher the thread count, the more luxurious the bed linens, right? Although he’d never go as low as a thread count of 180, Lohnes says there are drawbacks to super-dense weaves. “The more threads per square inch, the heavier the feel of the sheet and the more prone it is to trapping body heat,” he says. “Plus, the higher the thread count, the harder the sheet is to iron.” For easy maintenance and maximum comfort, Lohnes recommends a thread count between 325 and 350.

By: Brett Walther Source: Stacey Brandford Credits: Canadian Living

How to decorate your guest room for the holidays

Get a double bed

More luxurious than a twin and more compact than a queen, a double bed proved the perfect fit. A firm mattress Even more important than a well-dressed bed is what lies beneath the fitted sheet. Lohnes takes a three-tier approach, building on the foundation of a good firm mattress with a layer of memory support foam and topping it off with a feather bed. Finally, he’ll wrap the entire stack in a single mattress protector to prevent anything from shifting. “It’s lofty and luxurious, with just enough support,” he says. Bedding, simons.ca. Faux fox fur throw blanket, potterybarn.com. Lamp, homesense.ca. Pendant light, homedepot.ca. Smoky Green CC-700 paint (on walls), Vanilla Milkshake OC-59 paint (on trim), benjaminmoore.ca.

By: Brett Walther Source: Stacey Brandford Credits: Canadian Living

How to decorate your guest room for the holidays

Embrace fake flowers

The latest generation of faux flowers, including this exotic orchid, are virtually indistinguishable from the real deal. What’s more, they’re perfect for an infrequently used room like this, where the genuine article might suffer from neglect. “The only maintenance comes when the bottom of the pot creates a dust ring,” laughs Lohnes. “Then you know it’s time to move it somewhere else.” Everlasting orchid, freshflorals.com.

By: Brett Walther Source: Stacey Brandford Credits: Canadian Living

How to decorate your guest room for the holidays

Change things up

There’s no shame in reusing cherished Christmas keepsakes year after year. “The problem is when we always put the same decorations in the same spot,” says Lohnes, who transplanted this tray from its customary spot on the dining room sideboard to the guest room. “Moving things around makes them new again, and often you’ll appreciate them a little bit more.” Lantern, homesense.ca.

By: Brett Walther Source: Stacey Brandford Credits: Canadian Living

How to decorate your guest room for the holidays

Go flameless

Whether or not wee ones are occupying the guest suite, it’s a good idea to make it a flame-free zone. “Wherever you can, over the holidays, replace real candles with battery-operated LED models,” suggests Lohnes. He put one such candle to work as a flameless festive accent, fixing it to the bottom of a large canning jar with doublesided tape and covering its base with a light dusting of faux snow. “Placing one of these in each windowsill of your home can create an incredibly beautiful effect from the street at night,” he says. Extra-large canning jar, bernardin.ca. LED taper candle, large pink ornament, canadiantire.ca. Artificial snow, walmart.ca.

By: Brett Walther Source: Stacey Brandford Credits: Canadian Living

How to decorate your guest room for the holidays

Versatile holiday decor

Lohnes focused his holiday decorating budget on a core collection that will lend itself to countless Christmases to come. The versatile metallic leaf swag hanging above the headboard was a splurge-worthy investment that will look completely different when Lohnes swaps the inexpensive fuchsia ornaments for next year’s fashion-forward hue. Glitter garland, fuchsia ornaments, sears.ca. Keep your guest room "guest ready" all year round with these tips.

By: Brett Walther Source: Stacey Brandford Credits: Canadian Living


This story was originally titled "Holiday Inn" in the November 2014 issue.
           
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How to decorate your guest room for the holidays

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