What Do You Keep in Your Guest Room?

By: Jen Shoop

*Image above: Boll & Branch eyelet duvet and shams, Boll & Branch basketweave Euro shams, Serena & Lily Pondicherry Bed, Target lamp.

In early August, we spent a few days with Mr. Magpie’s family at Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. We stayed in the guest bedroom of his aunt’s home and I noticed that she had a chalkboard on one wall that included the Wi-Fi information as well as little notes that previous guests had left — things like, “we’ve loved being here with you,” echoed by another: “so did we!” It was a highly visual guest book of sorts that made me feel simultaneously welcome and grateful, as though invited to participate in a congo line of vacationers. It made me wonder — what do you keep in your guest room to make your visitors feel welcome?

I always leave out a fresh stack of towels, a carafe of water, fresh cut flowers, a white noise machine, and a couple of books I love. (Who doesn’t love The Dutch House?) When guests are visiting for more than a night, I also leave a couple of snacks (granola bars, bags of spicy-sweet pecans, good chocolate) so that they have something to eat if they don’t feel comfortable helping themselves or asking for something they’d like down in the kitchen.

One item I’d like to purchase for the guest room is a luggage rack. We recently stayed at a little club my parents belong to up North and the rooms had spacious luggage racks at the foot of the bed. I know these are routinely kept in closets at hotels but I’d never used one?! It was so delightful when unpacking!

What am I missing? What other goodies do you leave out for guests to demonstrate hospitality? Or have you ever stayed with a friend who left you something surprisingly thoughtful on your bedside table? Please share in the comments.


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15 thoughts on “What Do You Keep in Your Guest Room?

  1. In our guest room era at the moment – about to welcome our 3rd and then 4th set of out of town guests in the span of 3 months. For stowing away their belongings, we have a generously sized dresser, a pair of Gate House luggage racks, and a rattan free-standing clothing rack for hanging items. I like to hang a pair of waffle weave hotel robes on the rack alongside a stack of fluffy Restoration Hardware hotels, a hair dryer, and iron. I never like asking to borrow a hair dryer or iron and thought it best to have extras live permanently in the guest room so they don’t need to continually go back and forth during their stay. Guest bath is stocked with full size bottles of toiletries, extra toilet paper, and new loofahs.

    Bedside tables on both sides of the King size bed with phone chargers for each (we do a multi prong to accommodate both iPhone and android users), reading lamps, a bundle of fresh lavender to encourage relaxation, and a framed photo of our guests. I always stock the room with Yeti water bottles to use during their stay and a dedicated Nespresso machine with capsules and demitasse cups (the Yetis are always most welcomed by our guests not accustomed to the heat). I recently purchased an Apolis market bag to stock with pool towels and sunscreen for guests to tote to the pool. I keep a stack of local magazines in the room for guests to peruse in addition an Austin Wildsam field guide and other TX themed books.

    Directly across the hall from our guest room is a beverage fridge and snack bar I try to fill with their favorites. This way they can help themselves to whatever without having to go down to the kitchen or asking for it. In the kitchen I have their favorite breakfast items on hand and any other requests they might have. (On their departure I always have them leave with a drink and snack for their journey home.)

    Last, but certainly not least, a note with the wifi network name and password so they don’t need to ask us for it, along with a custom code to the front door for their use (we always set to the guest’s birthday so it’s easy for them to remember). My daughter always lovingly teases me that it feels like a hotel for our guests and that is exactly the vibe I’m going for.

    1. WOW! You are THE hostess. I love all of these thoughtful ideas! Especially the robes, chargers, and wifi password note! Thanks for sharing!


  2. I don’t have a guest room (I wish!), but my parents have a guest cabin of sorts on their property that they host weekly guests in all summer long. Some tips I’ve picked up are to change out the book selection each year so repeat guests get new things to read (some people have been coming for 30 years!), get not one but two luggage racks (guests often come in pairs and it’s nice for each to have their own, plus it helps them keep the place neater), and add a yoga mat because a lot of folks have morning stretch/exercise routines. And make sure the extra toilet paper is easy to find and preferably within arm’s reach of the toilet!

  3. Carafe of water and flowers on each nightstand, small box of nice chocolates + extra keys + a note on the nightstand closest to the door. Note conveys excitement to have them stay with us, wifi info, where the extra towels/blankets are, and anything they should know about the following morning (e.g., We’ll be on a run around X time but will brew coffee before we leave- help yourself if you wake before we return). If they’re staying for multiple days, I’ll note that they can feel free to use the washer/dryer if they need to do laundry during their stay (usually the case for couples with small children). Different flowers on the vanity in the bathroom because variety is fun and an empty laundry basket, which is always in that bathroom anyway, that they can use for clothes, towels, etc. Shower includes nice products (full size for all) and vanity has travel-size dental items in full view just in case they forgot theirs. Important to make sure there are extra rolls of toilet paper. Not guest room related, but I find that a few nice touches before they get to the guest room goes a long way… flowers in the kitchen since people typically congregate there, water when they arrive- I offer the water without asking as people are more likely to say no than yes to things they want when offered, and something small to eat, like cookies. Things like throwing the windows open if the weather is nice or playing music throughout the house at a low volume when they arrive are also nice.

    1. These are so incredibly thoughtful! Absolutely stealing the note on the nightstand idea — so sweet and inviting. I also just realized I don’t have a laundry basket up there. I feel like putting one up there will make them feel more comfortable dumping towels, etc in there at the end of their stay. Thank you! xx

      1. PS – Also loved your note “full size for all” because, YES! Who wants to feel like they’re depleting a tiny bottle for future guests? So thoughtful.

  4. The timing! Just this very week I purchased a vintage bamboo luggage rack for our guest room. We have a pendant light in the space versus a ceiling fan, therefore I leave a fan (Vornado mini classic, the brand you introduced me to!) on the bedside table for guests who may enjoy a cool breeze while sleeping. It provides just the right amount of white noise as well. This may strike obvious and is certainly not glamorous, but read one time the most important thing to have for guests is a plunger in the guest bath.

    1. These are fantastic – thank you so much for sharing! Love that little Vornado fan, too. It has its own retro chicness, doesn’t it?


    2. Great ideas! The plunger, Oye! And this reminds me; as a woman I’m very self-conscious when traveling and I’m on my period. So for my guests I keep a freshly lined trash can with a lid in the bathroom, wipes and female necessities.

  5. I am excited to read these comments! I always leave a few bottles of water, a bowl of candy, towels. I love the idea of reading material! An iPhone charger is nice to have on hand as well. I find they are one of the “commonly forgotten” items. I also leave mini versions of toiletries either in the guest room or the guest bathroom.

    Can I ask your recommendation for a duvet insert? The photo got me thinking about how mine is feeling a bit sad these days.

    1. IPhone charger is such a good one! Thank you – going to install one upstairs right now before I forget.

      For duvet insert, I have two recs I love. Feathered Friends was a splurge Landon bought for our queen size bed in NYC after reading a ton of reviews. It is dreammmmyyyy. Note that there are different weights – I think ours was a touch on the hot side, and would do a lighter fill if doing it over again unless you live somewhere super chilly. Here is a link:


      For something less expensive, I am totally blown away by the quality of this more reasonably priced one from Look Lifestyle. We currently use it in our primary bedroom (we upgraded to a king not long ago) and it is divine. The brand gifted me one and I have no inclination to ever change. It’s fantastic:


      If you’re talking budget for a guest room / child’s room, I like these inexpensive ones, which we use in the guest bunks and our children’s rooms —


      They have a decent amount of fill to them and a good weight. The price can’t be beat, too! Super important because my children have thrown up, spilled on, peed on their beds — ha. So I don’t feel horrible if we need to chuck and replace every now and then.



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