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As gratifying as it is to host a houseful of guests, it’s OK to admit that it also brings its share of stress. Prepping for guests means there’s cleaning to do, meals to plan and cook, and entertaining to schedule. It’s no wonder getting the guest bathroom ready can slide down the to-do list. But your visitors will start and end each day there, so you want them to be comfortable.

With a few easy touches borrowed from hotel pros, and by implementing some simple guest bathroom decorating ideas, your guests will feel as though they’re getting the red-carpet treatment.


First on any list of guest bathroom essentials is a clean bathroom! Obvious, perhaps, but it’s worth setting aside time to make sure yours is sufficiently sparkling before your guests arrive. Think about every inviting hotel room you’ve ever stepped foot in—the bathroom no doubt looked and smelled fresh. A bit of elbow grease will take care of the former, while some flowers or an essential oil diffuser will sort out the latter.


If the guest bathroom has become a de facto storage room or the closet, drawers and shelves are a jumble of products, go through that stuff, tossing out what you don’t need and organizing the items you think are still useful into baskets, jars and other containers. A neat and tidy bathroom is much less stressful and a better canvas on which to realize some modest but impactful guest bathroom decorating ideas.

Tolva Two-Handle Widespread Bathroom FaucetTolva Two-Handle Widespread Bathroom Faucet

Consider the Commode

Family or friends in from out of town? Stephani Robson, a senior lecturer at Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, famous for its hospitality focus, suggests “a small local guidebook as, ahem, bathroom reading would be a nice touch.” Also, ditch the scratchy, one-ply toilet paper and stock up on rolls of premium, extra-soft bath tissue. And because there’s nothing worse than searching for more toilet paper in an unfamiliar bathroom, keep a few extra rolls visible, either in a basket on top of the toilet tank or on a stand. 

Let There Be Light

Spot a few burned-out bulbs? Change them. Robson, often a hotel guest when she’s not lecturing on hospitality, recalls a stay in a room equipped with gorgeously flattering multicolored mood lighting. Replicate that effect in your guest bathroom by swapping a plain bulb or two for cool green, blue or purple (it’s best to have this on a separate switch, so the ambient and task lighting can stay white); these colors promote relaxation and will have your jet-lagged or road-weary guests feeling that much better. If the bathroom is a bit dark, now would be a great time to consider adding a lighted mirror, so your guests have adequate light at the sink for doing makeup and shaving.

Upgrade Towels

A luxury hotel staple, plush towels bring that spa-like experience home. A few new sets, including oversized, cushy bath sheets, hand towels and facecloths—the fluffier, the better—are guest bathroom details family and friends will appreciate. (Pro tip: Skip the fabric softener in the laundry, and they’ll actually fluff up more.) A soft robe or two is another welcome touch.

Broadmoor Two-Handle Centerset Bathroom FaucetBroadmoor Two-Handle Centerset Bathroom Faucet

Make Some Simple Design TweakS

New towels are a good first step. Add in a new shower curtain and luxuriously soft bath mat, and the guest bathroom will look even more lavish. A new shower head can extend that spa-like experience into the shower itself. Similarly, an eye-catching and state-of-the-art faucet, such as the Broadmoor Collection Two-Handle Centerset Bathroom Faucet, which includes a pull-down spray wand for extra-easy sink cleaning, is a welcome upgrade. Take a closer look at what’s on the walls as well. Maybe that framed poster or family photos aren’t as useful as a decorative mirror or two. If guests are in the bathroom at the same time, having multiple mirrors also lessens competition for the vanity mirror.

Dryden Single-Handle Vessel Bathroom FaucetDryden Single-Handle Vessel Bathroom Faucet

Stock Up on Luxurious Basics …

Quality body and beauty products like a higher-end, French-milled lavender soap bar say “welcome to my abode!” so much better than a plastic pump soap dispenser. Shampoo and conditioner, body and face lotion, and shaving cream are musts to provide. Think of all the other grooming items that loved ones may have forgotten as they rushed to get to you: a box of tampons, disposable razors and sample-size toothpaste. Also check that the medicine chest is stocked with aspirin, ibuprofen and antihistamines, and that they aren’t expired.

… And Those Few Extras

Robson recommends attractive containers stocked with cotton balls, Q-tips and makeup-remover wipes. Also, round up all the sample-size moisturizers, mascaras, perfumes and sunscreens you’ve acquired from department store beauty counters and luxury hotel stays of your own (you knew these would come in handy one day). Collected in a wide-mouthed glass apothecary jar, these make for a colorful, fun display that lets visitors pick and choose whatever strikes their fancy.