Design Plan and Mood Board for the Guest Suite

I just put the finishing touches on the mood board for the guest suite and I’m really pleased with how it’s shaping up! It’s the perfect mix of masculine and feminine, dark and light, and specifically designed to work with the lack of natural light.

OK, “guest quarters” sounds really pretentious and fancy and I promise, it’s not. I just want it to FEEL fancy for our guests. Matt’s parents live in another state so when they visit, it’s important for us to make it someplace they look forward to spending time. For almost a decade we’ve had some version of pullout couch/inflatable bed/cast-off kids bed as the extra place to sleep and none have been at all comfortable.

So when we decided to go all in and create this basement haven, we knew a guest suite topped the list of must-haves. I wanted it to feel soothing while also keeping some of the more dramatic pops of black we have throughout the house. Black makes everything just a little bit cooler, don’t you think?

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Artwork  //  Dressing Table Inspiration  //  Bed  //  Nightstand  //  Faucet  //  Bathroom Vanity  //  Tile  //  Sconce  //  Shower Curtain

I love the general vibe of this. It’s soft and relaxing but the hits of black give it a satisfying edge. I’m not necessarily committed to all of these exact items (I’m also considering this brass sconce as well as this black set), but the overall feel is spot on.


  • The overall color story will be muted pastels, sharp hits of black, and natural wood tones.
  • The bath will have fresh white walls and these epic black tiles that almost have the look of tooled leather.
  • The shower is going to need a really good curtain. I don’t know if the one in my mood board is “the one” but it’s really lovely and the colors are right. TBD.
  • That print though! That is definitely “the one.” She is going right above the bed.
  • I would love to add a small dressing area with a little table and mirror if space allows. Not quite as feminine as this example but chock full of the same small space function.
  • We have two leftover cabinets from when our house was built so we are using them to create a little kitchenette under the stairs.
basement floorplan


This is going to be a great space but like all things, it comes with a couple of challenges to consider:

  1. Almost zero natural light. There will be a window in the adjacent bathroom but that’s it.
  2. It’s pretty small. Not laughably so, but a 9 x 12 room for a queen bed is… snug. And the bathroom is only 4 feet wide.

Minor issues in the grand scheme of things but they still need to be accounted for.


Let’s be honest: nobody wants to feel like they are sleeping in a basement. We are very lucky in that ours has full-size windows, but the bedroom has none.

(Side note: I am now allowed to call this a bedroom! After the whole permit debacle it was discovered our lot is already approved for a fourth bedroom.)

Back to the issue of light. Whites can look dingy and sterile without windows. Darks can work, but that wasn’t the vibe I was after. Normally, I am NOT a fan of the pale purple family but lavender does work really well with a lack of natural light. It gives off its own glow and doesn’t tend to color-shift into sad-looking territory.

Affinity by Benjamin Moore is a gorgeous line of paints with a nice muted base tone: keeping things from skewing too saccharine. I took a quick look and, of course, they have the perfect light violet shade with just a touch of gray (Violetta).

The Guest Suite Wall Simulation

Here is a room simulation via their site that gives a rough idea of what the color might look like on the wall. Obviously, I need to paint a test swatch once we have actual walls to paint on, but I think this is a great starting point.

Other than color, I think a nice mix of overhead and task lighting throughout the room will be enough to create the inviting vibe I am after.


Even though a smaller bed would be better in a 9 x 12 room, having a queen is non-negotiable for two very good reasons.

  1. It will almost always be sleeping two adults.
  2. We already have an extra queen mattress.

I really don’t think it will be too bad though. The key will be in using open, airy furnishings and a smart floorplan. This bed is so perfect. The lines are very spare but all that negative space makes it really interesting to look at. Using just one full nightstand on the more open side of the bed and a floating shelf on the wall side of the bed will maximize the amount of floor space in the room while still being super functional.

That said, if it feels too crowded IRL we’ll pivot. You have to stay flexible and things can (almost) always be returned.

As far as the mini full bath, my only real concern was finding a small, inexpensive vanity with a bit of storage that wasn’t ugly. I’m happy to say I found a ton of great options! Is anyone interested in a round-up?

I really dig this one for the wood tone (similar to the bed), the clean lines, and how well it will highlight the good pop of black from this affordable faucet. To customize things a bit, I’ll definitely swap out the hardware. This is a super simple and inexpensive DIY that I recommend for any and all cabinetry that comes pre-knobbed.


Or, really, a make-up/doing your hair area. Since the bathroom will be a little cozy, it would be nice to be able to get ready without hogging the bathroom, so to speak. I can see fitting one in on paper, but this is one of those things that will have to be figured out once the important things are in place. What works on paper doesn’t always work in reality.

Let’s add this to the list of nice to haves.

Do you want to create a relaxing, serene guest room in your home? Read on for ideas and a good starting point to create a retreat in your own home. You don't don't need an official guest suite -- any room could leverage these ideas! #guestroom #guestsuite #guestretreat #guestquarters

That’s the general plan for the guest suite! I’ll share more decisions and details once things are underway. In the meantime, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Also, let me know if you are interested in a round-up of small bathroom vanities