Small Bright Guestroom Small Bright Guestroom

This room is a great example of how even a small space can have a big design impact. You don't need hundreds of square feet to create a room that looks crisp, clean, and welcoming, if you know how to put all the necessary elements to work for you.

Looking at this room with the Sheffield Guidelines to Interior Design - function, mood, and harmony - let's consider first the mood of this space. We chose this room in part because it is so bright and cheerful, and we thought everybody could use a little bright cheeriness.

This bright mood, first of all, comes from the light in the room. You can see the sunlight coming in the window hitting the wall above the bed and the bed itself. And the designer here has made good use of this light, choosing eggshell-painted walls, a pale wood flooring, and a white painted bed. All these light colors reflect the light back into the room, ensuring that it will stay bright even when the sun isn't coming directly in the window.

The white upholstered slipper chair beside the window serves as even more of a reflecting device, especially framed as it is by the gauzy white curtains.

  • Tip: This consideration of light is especially important given that the room is so small. When you have a small room, you need to make the most not only of the space, but also of the light - giving the room the appearance of being even larger than it really is.

To add definition, the designer has chosen well in selecting the slate dresser, the forest green hope chest, and the slate frames for the pressed flowers on the wall. The white curtains are hemmed with plum borders. These colors, along with the plum-colored borders on the bed linens, help to define the room, so that it isn't all just white and off-white.

The function of this room is to provide hospitality for guests. It could work quite well as either a guest room in a private home or as a room in a bed and breakfast. In addition to providing a welcoming bed, the window chair provides a place for reading, and the dresser provides plenty of room for a weekend's worth of clothing, without being so large that it takes up valuable space. The chest can be used for storing extra blankets.

Finally, the harmony in this room is one element that makes it feel so soothing. The choice of plum, slate, and forest green is a fine one, as these colors are all compatible in tone and brightness. The rustic style of the bed goes well with the dresser and hope chest. Even though the slipper chair is a little more formal, it still fits well with the overall style, and the lack of arms on the chair saves a little space.

The only thing that might round out this room more would be a simple throw rug, maybe in plum and off-white. But even the lack of a rug contributes to the clean, bright feeling in this welcoming small guestroom.

Reprinted with permission from the Sheffield School of Interior Design.

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