Updating the Guest Room

The folks from West Elm stopped by last Thursday, putting an end to my decorative no-buy. They brought some neat ideas we hadn’t thought of (including highlighting the need for something above the kitchen sink and recommending a neat grapewood branch above the wine rack). We’ll be meeting them again at the store this Thursday do review some options for both, as well as a few other ideas for the new bookcase, an entry rug and a few other ideas.

With the no-buy over, I set out to do some shopping Friday afternoon. Before heading to the shops, I stopped at Best Buy to return the $100 omni-directional antenna, which has been outperformed by a $35 option from Amazon that looks like a laminated piece of paper. When I parked outside Best Buy, I noticed a huge World Market shop, which I’d read about on Young House Love, but never been in. So, of course, I went in to check out out. Oh my gosh, was I in love! I was actually a little sad to not have discovered WM sooner, considering all the neat furniture options they had. Better yet, they had World foods, including lots of British treats like Marmite (blegh, but Mark likes it), McVittie’s biscuits (and Cheddars!) and Nando’s hot sauce (my life is complete now that I can have my full array of desired hot sauces in the US!). After browsing WM, I popped in Ross and Marshall’s to see their mirror selection. Ross had a full length black wooden framed mirror for $50, which I picked up. I figured if it worked, we had a cheap solution to our floor mirror quest and if it didn’t, it was easy enough to return (it was too short, and got returned Sunday).

Having mirrors on my mind, I crossed the road to Aaron Brother’s framing. I bought a couple frames from them last month, and remembered they had some nice mirrors. Lo and behold, they had a round, gold and black mirror that looked about the right size! I snapped a pic and emailed it to Mark for a second opinion. He liked it, too, so I had the sales associate measure it , and…32″! Yahtzee! Just what we needed to go above the dresser in the guest room! Thanks to a sale, it was 40% off, too! When we were both home, Mark and I agreed it was a perfect fit, so finally checked “guest room mirror” off the list. Hooray!

You’ll notice above we also hung curtains. With our first set of overnight guests arriving this weekend, Mark and I slept in the guest room Friday night to ensure the bed was comfy and wouldn’t collapse in the middle of the night (we also used the guest shower last weekend to ensure it worked properly). The bed was comfy, but we noticed some other issues in the room. Because the guest room is at the front of the house, it is brighter at night from the lit walkway outside. Our room doesn’t get any light because there’s a balcony trees outside, so we hadn’t prioritized curtains, but we realized we needed them for the guest room ASAP.

I disliked the linens, too. I liked the idea of the organic cotton sheets, but the particular set we bought (from Target) weren’t nearly as soft and comfy as I like. Mark said they were fine, but I maintain most men have lower sheet standards because 1. linens aren’t usually a guy thing and 2. guys don’t really feel sheets with their legs anyway thanks to their leg hair. We also noticed that laying under a quilt doesn’t feel as comfy and bed-like as being under a duvet. It was like laying under a sheet only, and I didn’t like it.

So, after realizing the shortfalls of the guest room, Saturday morning was re-purposed from a relaxing, tv watching (for me), code writing (for Mark) day to a drive-all-around-San-Diego-and-get-this-fixed day (on the up-side, we did get to stop in Chili’s for lunch; their 2 for $20 deal awesomeness is only beat by their chips and salsa, just sayin). Having decided we’d be buying all new linens, I decided to re-vamp our color scheme a little. We’re still working the colors around this Dwell acrylic artwork we shipped from England (which, by the way, should currently be in LA awaiting customs clearance!). With so much dark wood already in the room, I wanted to go with lighter, more neutral linens and bring out the jewel-toned purples and teals with the other accents in the room.
We started with sheets. This time we stuck to what we knew and liked, and bought the same sheets we have in our room (Royal Velvet from BB&B) in white. Next, we looked for a duvet. Again, we stuck with what we liked and bought another Real Simple down alternative duvet, which we have on our bed (I don’t like real down, and wouldn’t put it in a guest room anyway, because our friends and family have so many allergies, it’s bound to cause an issue for someone). For the cover, we found a nice goldy-beige damask set. To up the visual fluff-factor, I also raised the bedframe rails a couple inches to make it a little higher. So, Saturday the guest room went from this:
to this:
Full length view:
I plan to swap almost all the pillows currently on the bed for darker options, as well as swapping the existing set of pillow shams that came with the duvet for something white and beige patterned (a pattern like the guest room shower curtain would be great). For now, the combination of the higher mattress and squishy duvet make it much more inviting than the previously lower, flat quilt look.I also think swapping eggplant for beige makes the room more gender-neutral, whereas it felt a little too feminine before. (then again, according to Littlewoods, a purple room may have ‘enhanced’ our guests stay).
You might have also noticed the alarm clock in the ‘after’ picture. Friday, I stopped in Pottery Barn to pick up the frames I’d been coveting for our bathroom (photos below), and also picked up this cute alarm clock. Unfortunately the retro-style means you can’t set a recurring alarm, like you can on modern digital clocks (nor does it distinguish between am and pm, so you can’t set your alarm more than 12 hours in advance), but being in a guest room it’s more for time-telling than early morning wake-ups, so we’ve let form override function.
For the curtains, we initially bought 2 rod options at BB&B Saturday. Unfortunately, both were too narrow, so we bought and hung a wider rod from World Market on Sunday. We’re currently undecided on the curtain panels. We selected two options, but the pattern we prefer is a thinner material and blocks less light than the other. I’m researching black-out liners this week; hopefully with an additional liner, we can keep the preferred option that brings in some depth and pattern. Otherwise, I’ll likely return both and look for an alternative satisfying all our requirements.
As mentioned above, I finally bought the PB frames I wanted for the master bathroom. I bought 3 sizes to try in the 2 spaces we wanted to hang them. The 2 larger sizes looked great, so Saturday evening after adjusting the dining room mirror height and hanging the guest room mirror, I hung them. Unfortunately, it proved more challenging than it should have (which was basically the story for Saturday; in addition to replacing all the guest room linens and buying a too short curtain rail, our new white sheets had a stain and needed to be exchanged and the outdoor lantern we bought for the patio didn’t have a plug so would require wiring it in to the mains… but I digress). I hung the larger frame above the stool the wrong orientation, so had to re-drill and hang, and the frame above the toilet was about 1.5mm off center, which was noticeable to both Mark and me, so it had to be re-drilled and hung, too. Once they were both in place, however, we really liked them.
I love how it unifies the open-plan master suite. Initially, the bathroom looked like a little white space attached to the dark-wood furnished bedroom, but you can see below how the stool and frames help bring it all together, especially since the mats coordinate so well with the lampshades.


  1. […] addition to the big changes, like guest bedroom changes and new furniture arrivals, a few other tweaks have been made in the last couple […]

  2. […] matching pair (something we’re yet to do in the guest room, since I’ve not resolved the blackout liner issue […]

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