Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


The Hospitable Guest Room: Vogue's Guide Circa 1969

According to Vogue's Book of Etiquette and Good Manners, 1969, "A guest room should, above all, look welcoming. It should have that indefinable quality of aliveness, rather than emptiness. It should somehow suggest that it is accustomed to making visitors happy and is not a seldom-used 'spare' room. A hospitable guest room is essentially gay, and completely comfortable."

"A tall order, you may say, but you can have a lot of fun filling it." Like many decorators today, the book says go with the mad wallpaper or print fabric you love but could not abide for more than a month. Your temporary guests will enjoy the change of pace and sense of adventure.

Vogue prefers two twin beds in a guest room with a generously scaled night table between the two. Each bed should have one very soft pillow and one firm.

The lamp should be very easy to reach, and easy to read by without strain. If the floor is not carpeted, provide plush bedside rugs.

Don't forget the filled cigarette box, ashtrays and matches.

A clock with a quiet tick, a pin cushion and sewing kit, a well-lighted mirror for makeup and a full length mirror too.

A good, "brisk" book of fairly new short stories, a carafe of ice water with two glasses, and always fresh flowers.

Also include:

A chest of drawers with at least the top two largest drawers left empty.
Half a closet pole
A closet shelf
A pretty luggage rack -- not Hotel-ish
A couple of chairs, "Guests should not have to sit on the bed to read or file their nails."
A variety of wooden hangers
Shades, shutters or lined curtains that block out light
Biscuits or fruit "can be appreciated."
Facial tissues

And, Vogue says, if you live near the water or have a pool, tuck some whimsical straw hats or Japanese paper parasols in the closet.

I think I have a lot of work a head of me.

Bedroom one, Chloe Warner
Bedroom two, Kate Spade
Bedroom three, Kate Spade's guest room courtesy M. A. Belle, via Town & Country

Bedroom four, (images four through six) Peter Dunham

Bedroom five via Domino

Clock is from High Street Market
Carafe and glasses are from Park Avenue Gifts


pve design said...

Oh, I would love to have a guest room one day!
Every room is take here at our humble abode so an air mattress with fresh sheets is set up for our guests.
Clean towels,Good lighting for reading, all meals, tour guide at the ready and rides to the train to NYC!
Mi casa su casa!

Style Court said...

Sounds good to me Patricia VE!

You must be an amazing tour guide.

rebecca said...

I love this post... I can't wait to have a guest room, someday!

Patricia, I'm coming up. How's next weekend?


Ivy Lane said...

AHHH! what beautiful guest rooms! I am striving to get that done in my home as well...I love the idea of PVE Design's casa, i mean being a guest there!! HA HA! Lovely post!

Style Court said...

Becca, Ivy,

I think Patricia VE has the most important element covered -- warmth and charm.

Glad you liked this post.

balsamfir said...

Some very good advice, and when I finish plastering the room this winter(I hope) then I will try and follow some of it. The idea for crazy wallpaper is the most unexpected.

Style Court said...

Balsamfir -- even using a few of these ideas would be great. I know I want to attempt it, someday :)

simply seleta said...

Great post. and these are lovely reminders. I got a kick out of the cigarette tray and lighters. Welcome to 1969!

CashmereLibrarian said...

I wish I had friends like these! I usually end up on someone's futon or in their kid's do they when they visit me!

GrannySmithGreen said...

Love the statement on the pillows. It is so very thoughtful for a host to provide one soft and one firm pillow. The pillow can make all the difference in the world! Yawn, stretch. I'm getting sleepy just thinking about it!

Style Court said...

Thanks Seleta!

Cashmere -- yes if only we all had friends with such well-furnished guest rooms.

Mrs. Blandings said...

Courtney - It's been a while since I've had a guest room, but it's difficult not to have that "empty" feeling even in a lively room. Hopefully I'll have the chance to try it again. But not too soon!

Style Court said...

GSG -- yes, the pillows are probably most important.

Patricia -- maybe you could go crazy with a floral print.

Pigtown*Design said...

I had twin beds in my guest room and then realized that in two years, I'd never had two people at a time, so I put one in storate and added a desk there.

Brilliant Asylum said...

I love the idea of laying out a "brief" read. We don't have a guest room, but this post makes me want one!

Anonymous said...

good post- always important to remember who is staying in your guest room and adjust as needed. In the kitchen, I like to leave the coffee pot on auto start, in case a guest gets up before me (and a note that laptop is charged up for early morning surfing ;)

Style Court said...

What a gracious host you are Anon. Thanks for the tips. Good to know.

kelly robson said...

Great post, Courtney! I wish the everyone would read Vogue's Book of Etiquette! Love that clock by the way... ;) Thanks!

Style Court said...

Kelly -- I know! The world would be a nicer place. The funny thing is, the book goes pretty deep in some sections. It's really all about respect for others (with dashes of Vogue protocol thrown in).

Sir Fopling Flutter said...

I love the recommendation of a cigarette box. You would never see that today.

Deepa said...

And in these days, don't forget to leave a free plug point or an outlet strip so guests can charge their many electronics.

Great post and *wonderful* site. Thanks!

Style Court said...

Good thinking Deepa -- thanks!

Things That Inspire said...

I just had guests stay for a few days, and reading this makes me realize how truly inadequate my house is for guests. I have three children and a medium size home, so to be fair, all of my bedrooms are permanently used by my family! The guests are just squeezed in on air matresses. My guests and I laughed at how woefully inadequate my guest facilities are, but there are always hotels for those who can't deal with it. I just hope that someday I will have a guest room!

Style Court said...

Sara -- there is actually a section in the book about part-time guest rooms -- the child's room or den called into service. I need to do that next!