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Evolution of Our Guest Room—From Leftovers to Home Office to Staged-to-Sell to Proper Guest Room

Late last year, my college girlfriends and I planned a ladies weekend for this February at Madison Manor—our home—and let me tell you, there's nothing like hosting a group of six ladies in your house that makes you excited to freshen up your space a little bit :)

If you've followed us for much time, you know that we have an Airbnb in the upper half of our house...

Our second-floor guest room, bathroom, and 800 square foot open attic are a dedicated guest area for Airbnb guests—but we also have one additional guest room on our second floor (in our half of the house) that's evolved several times over the last four and a half years we've lived here.

Terra cotta plant with midcentury wood arm chair

We started planning our girls weekend right around Thanksgiving 2019, so of course, I had to check out some of the Black Friday deals to see if any of my favorite pieces were on sale.

I'd been wanting to add an additional chair to our guest room to make the seating area comfier, and to my delight, both the rug AND chair from our Airbnb reading nook (shown below) were heavily discounted.

The Airbnb has been great because it's allowed me to try out a few pieces in the guest area before adding them to my own space! Needless to say, I quickly made the purchase!

bright airy reading nook in an attic apartment

After I set up the room, I thought about the various forms the space had taken in the last several years. Inspired by our previous post, The Evolution of our Living Room, I thought it'd be fun to get a visual of how this room, too, has changed over the last five years!

Ready to jump in?

Just After Move-In

This was immediately after we moved in to Madison Manor, almost five years ago now. I sort of cringe when I look at it, but remember...we were just one year married, and moving from a two-bedroom duplex to a four-bedroom three-story house; it took us 3-4 years to even have enough stuff to fill this place!

The Papasan chair was from my college days, and I hung on to that dang thing for a looong time. Even though I hardly ever used it, it was so stinking comfortable that it felt really difficult to let go of even though it wasn't my style any longer.

It was also a little sentimental...while my mom and I purchased the cushion new, the bamboo stand was a trash-picking find (that's right. I said TRASH PICKER!!).

guest room before shot

Our neighbors in my home town had set the base out for the trash team to collect, and I quickly eyed it and sent my dad out to snag it for me. SO not above trash picking!!! Anyway, I finally sold it last year on facebook market place for a definite profit!! HA!

If I could go back to my pre-wedding days, I'd encourage myself to think a little more deeply about my style and how I wanted my home to feel. It's not every day that people BUY you a bunch of awesome home stuff!

So much of what I registered for was verrrry neutral, but not in a good, classic way. Like, I registered for these weird beige towels that I now loath. I remember my thought at the time being that I wanted Larry to feel comfortable with all our design choice. I still want that, but now I know that his taste is much better than the blando style I apparently thought he had (sorry babe!!).

Guest room before shot

Anyway, back to the room. When we got married, Shabby Chic was in it's hay-day. This blue desk (two below) was one of my first ever furniture purchases (I actually bought it the year we got engaged, before we got engaged).

The bedspread was purchased for our first apartment. That I ever went for this boldly patterned (while monochromatic) comforter is also a head-scratcher to me, as someone who rarely goes for pattern. I think it was just popular at the time, and since it was a bargain, I went for it!

I still struggle with bargain shopping...I always encourage my clients to wait and invest in the higher quality pieces, but for myself, gosh sometimes I'm just so impatient! So beware the bargain...I've often realized that I went out and bought four small things that totaled up to the big thing I didn't think I could afford...less is usually more!

guest room before shot

Anyways. Apparently I thought the desk in front of the window was a good idea (I'll give myself a little grace since I'm aware this photo was taken the day we moved in). But it is fun for me to see how my style as evolved and, I think, matured over the last five years.

The above, to me, feels like a child's room. Bold playful patterns, not a lot of surprise to the color palette, and I think those tones of blue also add to the youthful feeling.

Okay...can't stand it anymore...moving on!

The Home Office

After about a year living in the house, I had moved from working several part-time jobs while getting—at the time—The Georgia Pear Interiors off the ground, to finally making the jump to doing interior design full time. I needed a dedicated workspace, and I decided to make the guest bedroom my home office.

This was a super fun rendition of this room! We moved the loveseat from the main floor office (which is currently my office) to this space, which fit perfectly in this somewhat strange floor plan. It made for the perfect little seating area for when I didn't feel like working at my desk, whiiiiich was a lot of the time!

bright and airy home office

creative home office in our second floor guest room with wood accent wall

I floated my desk in the center of the room facing the door (the "command position" in feng shui...if you have an office, do try this).

The desk was constructed of two file cabinets with a long piece of pressure-treated lumber placed on top (we still utilize this setup in my current office as one side of the "L" in my L-shaped desk), and the beautiful rug I'd found at HomeGoods in a very Lauren-esque pattern and color palette.

Centered on the back wall was a FABULOUS midcentury modern wood veneer console with brassy accents that I still absolutely ADORE. This was one of those once-in-a-lifetime thrifty finds, which currently lives in our bedroom.

The tree beside it was a hibiscus tree from my mom's front porch, which lasted a couple season, but never flowered again after being brought inside.

creative home office with giant cork board

I moved the blue desk to the far wall and placed a giant corkboard (a find from Furniture City Consignment) above. This gave me an additional workspace, as well as a place to play with and pin inspiration images.

You'll notice that paired with the many warmer wood tones, this desk feels very appropriate and grown-up, whereas previously, it felt very kiddish. I also particularly loved the juxtaposition of the french country traditional and brightly colored desk with the very clean, modern, black and neutral desk floating in the center of the room.

fabric samples

floating shelves and decor

floating shelves and decor

Because it was an interior design office, and at the time, I had about zero experience in design, I felt the need to make it look and feel like a design studio: the West Elm fabric samples and countertop color chips, the mood board over my desk, the stacks of product catalogs...

And you know what? That's great! I didn't know it at the time, but I was manifesting and visualizing—with my space—what I wanted to become. I was essentially training myself to look and act like the designer I want to be!

loveseat with wood accent wall in home office

The wall mirror was a great find and awesome add to the space as well! The wood frame coordinated perfectly with the wood accent walls, and it so nicely reflects the light from the windows making the space feel bigger and brighter.

This is also where I check all my outfits, since we don't have a floor-length mirror in our room...

sitting area in home office with trunk as coffee table

sitting area in home office

Staged to Sell

Next up, we have late Fall of 2018. At the time, Larry and I were considering his transition from a career in public accounting to grad school.

To make our finances simpler, we were thinking about selling our house (to the point we had Alyssa Wagner photograph it and had our realtor buddy Josh Barman give us an idea of what we could get for it!), and we thought it would be better to have the guest room staged as an actual bedroom.

guest bedroom decor

We moved my office to the main floor office space and staged this room as a proper guest room. The artwork was a flea market find, and the pillows, comforter, and table lamps I picked up from HomeGoods.

This wasn't necessarily an attempt to redesign the space the way I would want it, more so, to brighten it up and give buyers an idea of how the space could actually be used.

MCM console with mirror and lamp

We moved the console to the right side of the bed and leaned a large gold-framed mirror (thrift find) on top.

We added in a few faux plants and a lamp from another room to make the space feel complete, and popped one of our wrought-iron outdoor chairs in the the corner by the bed (below). I wasn't a huge fan of the double-sconce paid with similar arch lamps, but I was working with what I had.

guest bedroom decor and layout

guest bedroom sitting area

The floor in the guest room, while very cool and funky, has a lot of imperfections. Our second-story floors are very slopey (gotta love old houses), particularly right at the entrance of the room, which can actually make it a little slippery.

SO, I moved the rug to the sitting area so instead of slipping on the painted wood, you can walk in right on the rug, as well as to make the yucky looking floor less of an eyesore.

guest bedroom decor

guest bedroom sitting area and decor

A Proper Guest Room

When we decided not to sell the house, I started dreaming about how to make this space one that truly functioned for our needs. So here, we have it's current status (my apologies, I took these photos myself so they are not nearly as lovely as the above shots by Alyssa!!).

Guest bedroom sitting area

Since it is a guest room and storage isn't a high priority, we no longer have any sort of dresser in this space. This was a GAME CHANGER.

There's a smaller closet in the room, which is perfectly adequate for short-term clothing storage, and that leaves a TON of extra floors pace for moving around and making the space feel big.

bedroom decor

Guest bedroom sitting area

I mentioned the rug/chair combo from our Airbnb that I purchased again on Black Friday; these were added to the seating area. Notice the way the rugs work together: we have one that is very low-pile (or thin) with a busier, smallish pattern and more tone, paired with a high-pile shag rug with a large-scale pattern in neutral tones.

The scale of the patterns are varied enough that they don't compete or clash with each other, and the color palettes are complimentary. I also like that the rugs help define the two different areas in the room: sitting area, and sleeping area.

The decor above the sitting area remained similar, I just toned it down a bit. I removed a lot of the smaller trinkets, which I've come to tend to dislike (I think I'm more sensitive to "clutter" these days), and I added a nice earthy piece of pottery to the top shelf.

desk in guest bedroom

music books

To the left of the large window (two above), we added in a leaning desk in a modern industrial style. I love the bright wood tone, and we wanted this space to double as an additional workspace for Larry as he transitioned into being a student again.

Now, a semester into school, we've discovered this desk isn't ideal for him. He needs a lot of space to spread out, and this smallish desk just doesn't cut it.

That's a great lesson for all of us: sometimes you gotta try something to know if it's going to work! And truly, nothing wasted: he does do a lot of work in this space, it's just typically from the armchair. The desk does, however, serve as an awesome space for storing theology books! HA!

desk in guest bedroom

plant in terra cotta pot

Per usual, I added greenery to the space. The plant above had lived in our dining room for a long while, but now it's presence was needed here! I think it's a little happier now too, since this room gets way more light than our dining room.

You'll also notice the painted canvas hanging above the chair (below), which was another thrifty find, along with one of the side tables that had previously been our master bedroom nightstands. While I LOVED these as our nightstands from a style perspective, functionally, they simply did not make sense.

Guest bedroom sitting area

As I mentioned, Larry needs lots of space to spread out, and typically has 10-15 books he's working through at his bedside. While I don't need a lot of stuff by my bedside, these were so small that they got crowded quickly, which always made it feel like our room was getting messy, and I can't deal with that.

All that to say, one now lives here as a side table, which look rockin', and the other is in our room as a side table to our armchair—or should I say, Ruby's armchair!

Guest bedroom decor

As for the bed, since we no longer needed a spot for the dresser, we swung it around to the back wall (below). I looooove this change! Facing the window feels so you have a this great view of the whole neighborhood right out your window! And since we face Pleasant Park, which is always hoppin', it's actually kind of true.

I moved the large art piece above the bed, and brought in a new combination of pillows from around the house. All these pillows had lived in other places with different combos of pillows before coming to rest here—

Which is a great tip: sometimes, if you feel sick of a piece or it feels tired, try pairing it with pieces you own that you've never used together before; that might just give them all some new life!

In this new space, I used pillows from my sunroom, another bedroom, and this guest room to form a combination that felt bright and fresh. I'm really enjoying pairing grays with beiges lately too; it feels bright and clean without feel too cold or bland. Love it!


Bedding in guest bedroom

The side tables and lamps, while tiny, are the perfect fit for this smaller space. Since the room is meant for short term stays, the tables don't need to house lots of extra stuff. The upholstered headboard was a facebook marketplace find (my weaknesssss), and the throw is from HomeGoods.

Artwork over upholstered headboard

Guest bedroom sitting area

Desk in guest bedroom

While I love the space as a whole, my favorite part of this new room is the completed sitting area. Before, if someone were sitting on the loveseat, the only other place to sit was on the bed. Now, our guests can actually sit and hang out together after a busy day.

Also—as in the case of an awesome girls weekend—it's another spot to land and chat with girlfriends! The cozy rug makes the floor a comfortable option for sitting, and it doesn't really feel like you're hanging out in a bedroom.

It's the perfect place to unwind and relax...

Guest bedroom sitting area

...I think Ruby agrees!

Dog in Guest bedroom sitting area

The Wrap Up

I love looking back at photos of our spaces from earlier times, even if it's just a year or two. It's a reminder of how much and how quickly things change, and it helps me to appreciate where I'm at and where I've come from.

I love to see how my style progresses (or digresses!! ha!), how my values change, and how our understanding of our home and how we use it has changed over time.

So what about you? Do you have a space in your home that's gone through a transition? Or maybe you're heading in to transition, and making some changes in your home might benefit you in this new season of life!

Remember, our homes should be designed to work with us (not against us) to help us easily accomplish the things we need to do. At one point, I needed this space to serve as a place for creative work, and now, I want it to serve as a place of hospitality for the friends I so dearly miss (and whom want to spoil when they're here with me!!).

Lauren Figueroa Interior Design team


Work with Lauren Figueroa Interior Design

LFID is a full-service interior design firm serving West and Southeast Michigan known especially for our Designed in a Day service.

We work with clients from Detroit to Novi to Clarkston, and Grand Rapids to Holland to Traverse City—and anywhere in between! We pride ourselves on creating bespoke, people-centered spaces—because after all, people are what this life is all about!

If you have a project on the horizon, get started by telling us about your vision here, and you can view past projects here. Thanks for stopping by!

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