What makes a guest room more comfortable and inviting? Author Carol Donayre Bugg knows. As the vice president and director of design to approximately 500 Interiors by Decorating Den (IDD) business owners and interior decorators, Bugg is in the catbird seat when it comes to viewing beautiful interiors.
Her new book, Creating Great Guest Rooms, is her fourth, following
Dream Homes for Real People (a Book-of-the-Month Club selection),
Divine Design (a tribute to IDD’s 25th anniversary), and Smart
and Simple Decorating. In her goal to “make the world beautiful,
one room at a time,” she employs the wide-ranging resources
and talent of IDD franchise experts showing fabulous guest rooms,
regardless of space and budget. Bugg presents ideas for six varied
themes (Warm & Welcoming; Gracious & Spacious; Down-Home
Style; No Frills; Separate Beds; and Double Duty) as well as a chapter
of helpful tips for enhancing guest baths.
WON’T YOU COME INN?
The first chapter, Warm & Welcoming, tours rooms that lean toward
more traditional décor—reminiscent of a comfortable
bed and breakfast inn, for example. Bugg explains that this look
incorporates antique furniture, a variety of wood and metal finishes
for beds and dressers, lush window treatments and an array of soft
furnishings and amenities.
What I found immediately engaging about this chapter (as well as
found throughout the book) was the use of sidebars to point out
interesting tidbits, rather than burying every bit of information
into a bulky run of body copy.
Sidebars ranged from discourse on color combinations for traditional-style
rooms; “Wise Words”—quotes from famous smarties
that could be stenciled onto a wall (including one of my favorite
quotes by essayist E.B. White); and how to quickly change a room
over from feminine to masculine by changing out linens and other
Photographic examples were spot on and conveyed the warmth and luxury
that we, as consumers, expect when staying at a B&B. What fun
to have a B&B inspired guest room in a home! Why would anyone
ever need to leave?
SPACIOUS & GRACIOUS
Focusing on large rooms (which can have as great a share of decorating
obstacles as small rooms), Spacious & Gracious discusses employing
larger furnishings such as armoires and canopy/corona beds to create
a sense of majesty and opulence.
One sidebar I really bought into was the idea of providing light
refreshments for your guests in their room, being that while the
host/hostess may be entirely comfortable opening their home and
refrigerator to guests, the guests themselves may not feel comfortable
rummaging through a fridge while in the throes of midnight munchies.
Compile a wicker basket with granola bars, fresh fruit, non-refrigerated
cheese and crackers and chocolate. Or, provide bottled water, a
full ice bucket and some slices of lemon. These little touches are
what make guests feel pampered and loved.
The remaining chapters follow the same format and are just as satisfying:
Down-Home Style doesn’t necessarily mean “country”—it’s
the style that makes you comfortable. No Frills tackles monochromatic
colorations, clean lines and simple stylings, perfect for any age
or sex. Separate Beds tackles the two-bed room in every form from
clean and simple to wonderfully opulent; and finally, Double Duty
is the reality check chapter for many people: how to make a home
office, craft room, sitting room—or whatever its normal function
is when guests aren’t in the house—into a well-appointed
guest room in the two weeks out of the year you do have someone
One small complaint about the sidebars: while the information is
all helpful, some of the tidbits are placed a little willy-nilly,
meaning that they don’t necessarily pertain to the chapter
in essence. They’re good, they make sense, but one would be
hard pressed to recall which chapter, for example, contained the
information about choosing the proper pillow. The index does help,
however, so consider this very mild criticism.
The good news about Creating Great Guest Rooms is that employing
Bugg’s ideas and examples will most likely result in a great
guest room of your own. The bad news? You will be hard pressed to
rid yourself of your guests! Beware!
Kathleen Stoehr is the author of Dream Windows, Historical Perspectives,
Classic Designs, Contemporary Creations and Dream Floors, Hundreds
of Ideas for Every Kind of Floor, [both from Randall International,
2005]. She is also owner of Chemistry Creative, an editorial and graphic
design company in Minneapolis, MN. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.