Our Family Budget

Being Budget Savvy with the Guest Room

Being Budget Savvy with the Guest Room

One of the things many of us with financial problems dread most is having guests. Yes, believe it or not more than the tax man, more than a blind date, and more than going to the dentist hosting others can be a major headache.

It’s not that we dislike people but a strange feeling comes over us that although our homes are the perfect setting for us they aren’t the best match for guests. We worry our humble abodes don’t have what it takes and as a result creating a setting for friends or family is too pricey a venture.

This, however, is far from the truth.

Much of what it takes to establish a modest guest room can be done on a simple budget and in most cases once it’s set up maintaining it is easy.

That being the case, with the summer vacation season fast approaching here are a few tips for designing a guest room on a budget in time for the summer guests.


Guest rooms can be in just about any space in the home as what matters most is how you intend to use it. For instance, if it’s just for one person an oversized closet can do the trick but if you’re counting on hosting your parents, an aunt or uncle, close friends and their baby or the in-laws you’ll need a regular size bedroom. If you want to create an outdoor feel an enclosed porch may work or if you’re looking for a room with a view there’s no better place than a finished but unused attic.

Either way, picking out a locale comes at no cost. Time is the only thing spent when contemplating which room to convert into a guest room.


After the location is decided upon the next step is clearing out and fixing up the space. At the very least paint the room from floor to ceiling so it’s not full of dull colours from thirty years ago. Doing so is an easy remodelling job that usually completely transforms a room and doesn’t require hiring a painting contractor. Furthermore, wash curtains, clean window panes, make sure the floor (whether its linoleum, carpet, stone, or any other material) is clean, change the ceiling light cover and put a clock on the wall.

Altogether these are things that will make the space inviting and are all minor expenses. Even hiring someone to install a ceiling fan is worth the money as they use far less electricity than air conditioners and depending on your region it could pay for itself in one season saving lots of cash down the road.


Filling the guest room with appropriate furnishings is probably the hardest part of the project because you can easily go overboard spending lots of unnecessary money which is what we’re trying to avoid.

Keeping this in mind some of the essentials for the guest room include a bed with bedding and linens, a dresser or closet, a night stand with a night-light, and a small table with a chair. Included in a second tier of items can be a shelf with books, a magazine rack, a small refrigerator, and possibly a couch.

When considering any of the above guest room decor there’s no reason to purchase them new. Since you still have a little time as the paint dries and the room is aired out search for them at thrift stores, list serves, and with the warmer season here at yard sales. Another great place to find furnishings for the guest room is with relatives who may be willing to pass on a bureau or chest of drawers they no longer need.

Either way, making the guest room a special place for any guest can be done on a simple budget and should no longer be a problem. It can be maintained easily for when anyone needs to stay the night and setting it up now means you can probably use it for the holidays later this year and on.

Contribution By: Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for Networx. He blogs about re-purposing and reducing debt for pros across the U.S. like Tacoma, WA, flooring contractors. All photos are copyright the contributor.


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    1. Hi,
      Yes it really depends how far out you want to go in your case a blow up bed was suitable and that’s fine. The wife and I love decorating every room in our house even the guest rooms so our companies stay is a pleasurable one. Thanks for your comment Mr.CBB

  1. Hey Mr. CBB – I don’t have huge financial problems – and I still don’t like having guests! 🙂 My guest room has a bed..and a mirror..oh and some books. If I’m really nice, they get clean sheets. 🙂

    1. We don’t mind guests in our home and we have a few guest rooms we never go in. The only part we hate is having to clean all the linens and put the room back together again. Sometimes I think we bought the house with the extra rooms simply for resale value lol…

  2. Now that we have moved we have an “official” guest bedroom. In fact we have been here not even a month and it has been used many times already. We were able to put together the guest bedroom for free. The following is a list of items we were able to obtain or had:
    – comforter my mom bought five years ago and then didn’t like it, better yet you would think the previous owners painted the bedroom just to match our new comforter
    – small cabinet, repainted it with paint we got for free from my husband’s parents, this acts as a night stand and houses towels inside for our guests to use.
    – the lamp for the room I got at a garage sale for free, the lady was cleaning up and she said it was going to the dump so she said I could have it
    – a friend was upsizing to a queen bed from a double and didn’t want to pay to get rid of the mattress, still in very good shape, so she said we could have it if we picked it up and got it out of her way, got to love friends like this 🙂
    – the drapes in the room came with the house so they coordinate
    – this house has an open concept so there are less walls to hang pictures on, I ended up with 3 that match perfectly and are hanging in the guest bedroom.
    – I was at my daughter’s inlaws baby shower and I won two prizes (I usually don’t win anything so I was surprised). I won two beautiful wall hangings, you guessed it they match perfectly with the decor in the guest bedroom
    – My dad made a beautiful wooden clock and painted it rose to match my kitchen, that was many years ago, but it goes very nice in the guest bedroom
    – I have an antique bench from a dressing table that was just being stored at the other house. It is now in the guest bedroom and the material it is covered in matches perfectly as well. It gives guests a place to put their suitcases on.
    – being as we have so much storage space in this house the guest bedroom closet is empty so I have put hangers in so guests have a place to put their clothes.
    – we also have a desk top computer that doesn’t get used now that we have laptops so it is in the guest bedroom in case people want to check their email or catch up on what is going on on Facebook.
    – I gave the room a good cleaning, put out a few magazines, a couple of candles and voila, a guest room that looks like a spent a lot of money on being as it is all coordinated.
    A bonus is that everyone who has stayed here love it and say it is very comfortable and inviting. So glad to have a special place for guests to stay now, and all for free.

    1. It’s amazing what one can do when they put their mind to it and think outside of the box. Would love to see a pic of your room if you have one. Post it on FB! Cheers and thanks for you long well thought out comment. Mr.CBB

  3. Thanks for sharing, Our computer room/office doubles as our guest room. Not the most inviting space for guests I’m afraid but we just have a small house and can’t have a dedicated room for those couple of visits a year. Could probably work at making the room a little more inviting by using a few of these ideas.

    1. Really that’s all you need to do. It’s true though it’s only a couple times a year people come to visit. We have a few spare rooms and they are more like show rooms, no one uses them. In your case as long as there is somewhere to crash… and the room is furnished that’s all you really need.

  4. Unfortunately, I have no guest room. If we have guests we just take one of the kids rooms for them. But if I did have a guest room, I would buy most of my stuff second hand, and decorate it the cheapest ways possible:)

  5. I completed my guest room on Easter weekend! I bought paint on clearance at walmart for $14 and had all the other required supplies on hand. We got a futon frame, dresser and 2 end tables off of freecycle. All we purchased was a futon mattress. I tried freecycle for the mattress as well but all we ended up with was a old, pet hair, smoke smelling, hole in it mattress. We put it to the curb and I researched futon mattresses online. I found the best deal for a decent quality mattress at Sears Warehouse for $164. My guest room cost me less than $200! It looks great!

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