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Essentials For A Guest Room

Getting ready to host overnight guests? Let’s assume you have a bed or air mattress and coverings on all the windows. That’s a great start! This list will help fill in all the little things your guests will want to have on hand for a comfortable night’s sleep. What you won’t find is season-specific decor, extra charging cords, books and other optional extras that your guests might enjoy, but can live without. Instead lets focus is on versatile, key pieces to get your guest space up and running so you’re ready for visitors, no matter when they arrive.

Water Carafe

Needing a glass of water but not knowing where to get one can be frustrating and uncomfortable for guests. And after traveling by car or plane, they probably need to hydrate. Be prepared with a glass carafe filled with water, and add an extra glass if you’ll be hosting a couple.

Coordinated Set Of Bedding

Since your guest bed is probably used far less often than the master bed, there’s no need to go all-out with top-of-the-line bedding, unless you want to. But a good-quality set of sheets and a quilt or duvet in a coordinating hue will make your guests feel well cared for. A neutral palette will look appropriate year-round.

Bedside Lighting

Good lighting is key to making your guest room feel welcoming. At minimum, place a lamp on each bedside table — lamps with three settings are ideal, so guests can adjust the light levels to suit their preference.

Full-Length Mirror

Your guests will appreciate having a simple full-length mirror propped against the wall or attached to the back of the door. If the mirror is in a dark corner of the room, draping a strand of white twinkle lights on it is a quick and inexpensive way to add a warm glow.

Extra Blankets And Pillows

Help your guests out by providing a few extra blankets and pillows so they can get comfortable. This is especially important on chilly winter nights, but if you have central air conditioning, your guests may reach for an extra blanket even in summer.


This is a small but important detail that will help your guests keep their room neat without making frequent trips to search out garbage cans in other parts of the house. Whatever you opt for, choose an attractive wastebasket that enhances your guest room style.

Extra Toiletries

Have a few spare sample-size toiletries in a drawer? Gather them together in a pretty bowl or basket and add a new toothbrush so guests won’t stress if they forgot something.

Bath Towels

A stack of fluffy white bath towels on the bed is a welcoming touch. Be sure to include a wash cloth, hand towel and bath towel for each person.

Wall Hooks

Unless your guests are staying for a week or more, they probably don’t need an empty dresser to unpack their clothes into. A few sturdy wall hooks will do for hanging damp towels and with the addition of a hanger or two wrinkle-prone outfits.

Coffee And Tea Makings

Considerate guests won’t want to bother you if they get up before you do. Including a little tray with everything they need to make a morning cup makes it clear they are welcome to help themselves.


Self Care For The Holidays

The holiday season is a mix of happiness and stress. But, you can regain your center and enjoy a peaceful, joy-filled season. Here are some self-care ideas to try during the holidays. 

Create A Bedroom Retreat

Having a soothing, clutter-free space where you can rest and unwind at the end of a long day can do wonders for relieving stress and promoting sleep. Leave the digital screens at the door and read from a real book or write down your thoughts in a journal before turning out the lights.

Bundle Up And Get Outdoors

Even if it’s cold, going outdoors each day can be a real mood booster. And if you are lucky to live on the Sunshine Coast, getting out into the woods can be a great way to decompress and regain your center in the middle of a busy holiday season.

Soothe The Soul With A Bath

Essential oils can completely transform a bath into a blissful sensory experience. Try a few drops of eucalyptus oil to open the lungs, or soothing lavender to relax before bedtime. Add the essential oils to your warm bath when it’s about half full, and the whole tub will be fragrant by the time you’re ready to get in.

Try An Unplugged Evening

Simple pastimes like playing chess or games, or working on a puzzle, can provide a nice chance to catch up with family without everyone staring at their own screens. To boost the ambiance even more, turn off the overhead lights and play by the glow of candles and twinkle lights.

Warm Up By The Fire

If you have a fireplace or wood stove, now is the time to put it to use. Light a fire, use a cozy throw, and settle in with a hot drink and a good book. It doesn’t get much more relaxing.

Try Meditation

If you’ve found meditation frustrating in the past, try exercising before you meditate. A bit of movement can help settle your body and prepare it to be still and focus. When you’re ready, find a comfortable sitting position, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. And remember, there is no one judging you. Even a minute of meditation can have a positive impact on your day.

Practice Mindful Tidying

A bit of daily tidying can go a long way toward keeping a home that feels light, spacious and relaxing. If you find yourself resisting, try gently reminding yourself that by doing just a bit each day, you can savor your home even more.

Take a Cue From Your Furry Friend

If you have a pet at home, you might want to consider it your resident Zen master. Take a cue from your lounging, care-free cat or happy-go-lucky pooch, and enjoy the present moment to the fullest.


Designing Around A Corner Fireplace

If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace in the corner of your living room or family room, you know that it can be both cozy and confounding. You might wonder how you should orient your couch and rug. And where should the TV go? Doorways, tight square footage and other variables can make those decisions even harder.

These rooms feature fireplaces built at an angle in the corner. Check out how home professionals and homeowners approached this common design challenge and read some helpful tips. Then, if you’ve designed around a corner fireplace, tell us how and post a photo in the Comments.

Arranging Seating 

Sofas and Chairs 

A fireplace is an architectural focal point — and furniture is usually directed toward a room’s focal point. So why is it hard to find a couch facing a corner fireplace?

While every room is different, designers often advise against that layout, since it causes a couch’s corners to stick out awkwardly in the room, impeding flow. Instead, orient a couch and rug parallel to a wall. A chair or chairs can then be placed at an angle.

Hot Tip: 

  • Draw it! Map how you think you want your furniture arranged and how traffic is likely to flow through the room. Then make sure large and sharp-edged pieces of furniture aren’t in that path.

Another Option: 

Place two chairs or a loveseat facing the fireplace and at 90 degrees in relation to the couch, to create an L shape. A feature wall, facing the couch, is a secondary focal point.

A room could have a second seating area, which is a nice addition whenever space allows. An armchair next to the fireplace, paired with a side table, creates a cozy reading spot that can still feel connected to the conversation area.

The furniture placement in a living room with a large opening into adjacent rooms can be challenging, as the busy travel path goes right through the middle of it all. To keep the path as clear as possible, scale down a rug, chose tailored pieces and push the couch and chair against the walls.

Hot Tip: 

  • Swivel chairs let you change your orientation from the conversation area to the television or the fireplace.
  • You’ll want at least 3 feet of width for paths of travel. If there’s a rug in that path, opt for a thin flat-weave and make sure there’s a nonslip pad underneath.
  • Rounded furniture, such as circular coffee tables and rounded-back chairs and sofas, also deemphasizes angles in awkwardly shaped rooms while being easy to navigate around.


An angled sectional is conducive to conversation, but it can create a pleasing continuity with the angle of the adjacent fireplace.

Placing a chair directly in front of a fireplace is best avoided if possible. But it can work if the fireplace isn’t frequently used and the chair is visually light and easy to move out of the way.

Hot Tip: 

  • In a small room used mainly for conversation, consider omitting a couch altogether. Instead, group four comfy club chairs around a circular coffee table in front of the fireplace.

Adding A TV

On The Adjacent Wall 

Optimal TV viewing height is eye level when the person is seated, and heat and electronics don’t mix. So placing a television above a console or a built-in entertainment unit versus above the fireplace mantel is often the best solution.

Because the fireplace and the entertainment center are on adjacent walls, those seated on the couch can enjoy both. Two additional chairs opposite the couch can be placed so they don’t block the view but do allow for conversation.

Even though the television becomes the dominant focal point an angled sectional can help to invite the fireplace into the furniture grouping.

On Another Wall

Doorways, windows and other architectural elements also can leave few places for the television. But wherever the TV ends up, the seating arrangement ideally will allow for comfortable viewing of both it and the fireplace.

Hot Tip: 

  • A neutral, monochromatic palette keeps a room with multiple focal points from looking cluttered.
  • Echo the materials and design of your fireplace surround in other elements of your room to create a cohesive look.
  • If your room’s proportions allow it, place the longest side of your sectional toward the focal point you want to emphasize.
  • Another way to avoid the big-black-box look is to use a Frame television, which resembles artwork when it’s off.
  • When you have a corner focal point, populate the room’s other corners to create symmetry and balance.

Above The Fireplace 

The concept of placing the TV over the fireplace sparks a lot of debate in the design community. If you have a low, linear fireplace that doesn’t emit much heat, or if your seating is far away from the set, it can work well. But the configuration can be bad for your TV and a pain in the neck — literally and figuratively.

But there’s no denying that installing a television above the fireplace is popular, and it has the advantages of being space-efficient and creating a single focal point in a room.

Hot Tip 

  • If you’re still scratching your head about where to put the TV, consider a pull-down screen and a projector.

Placing A Rug

Rugs are great for grounding conversation groupings, but they can conflict with hearths and draw attention to awkward angles. A round rug, resolves the “In which direction should the rug go?” question.

Hot Tip: 

  • Organically shaped rugs, such as hides and sheepskins, faux or real, and multiple rugs layered to create asymmetrical shapes also can help to ground a seating arrangement and add softness without having a distinctive directionality.
  • Designers usually advise having all furniture legs, just the front legs or no legs at all on top of an area rug.
  • Wainscoting or built-in cabinetry can help to spread out the visual heft of an ornate fireplace so the room feels more balanced.
  • If you have a wood burning fireplace: prevent sparks and embers from lighting your rug on fire, place the rug at least 12 to 18 inches away from the fireplace and invest in a pretty fireplace screen. Flame-retardant hearth rugs are available as well.
  • Read: 11 Area Rug Rules and How To Break Them
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