Personalizing a Guest Bedroom

| November 23, 2014

I like to have a guest bedroom that reflects our guests, and hospitality in general.  Here are some of my personal touches to both the guest room and guest bath.  Don’t get too excited–they’re not Martha Stewart quality. Many of these are geared toward family and friends coming from the States to visit us here in Germany, but most ideas can transfer to any guest room.


I won’t post a photo here, but I use a place card holder to display our wifi password. Guests aren’t stressed out about bothering/waking anyone, and they don’t have to wait until morning to ask.

Next to the bed, I have placed a German guestbook.  When people sign it at the end of their stay, they typically jot down some of their favorite memories from the trip. We’ve found some fun drawings in there, too. It will make a great souvenir for us at the end of our time in Germany, and guests have a comfortable way to express their thanks without getting sappy during goodbyes. Curious guests flip through and check out previous visitor comments.

german guest book

German guest book

By the guest book, I keep a basket of toiletries. This includes face cleansing wipes for easy freshening up, tissues, and shampoos and other toiletries. I often stick some German chocolates and/or Gummi Bears in there! On the same table, guests find adapters for their electronics. They’re easy to forget when packing, and not everyone owns adapters.  If a family is visiting, kids get their own guest toiletries, treats, and souvenirs.

toiletries, adapters, game, guest book

toiletries, adapters, game, guest book

On both nightstands, guests will find local wooden toys.  A few times sending the wooden car down its track with its monotous clickety-clack, can help put the jet-lagged to sleep.  Inside the shelf of the nightstands, we keep magazines and books for people to read when they’re up in the middle of the night.

German-crafted wooden toy from a local shop

German-crafted wooden toy from a local shop

Guests who forget to buy a postcard can grab one of ours from town as they’re packing to leave. A book about our little town gives people an idea of what there is to see here, as well as the history behind the town and its landmarks. We store guide books and brochures from local attractions, bigger cities, etc., on a shelf in the family room. Visitors can borrow a pocket phrasebook while they’re here.

guest room

Guests immediately know who else has stayed in our guest room.  Above the bed, photos from each visit hang on an Ikea shower curtain wire/artwork clip display.  Returning guests can remember a moment from their last visit.

photos on wire

Ikea shower curtain wire

On the wall, I’ve hung a glass dry-erase board on which I write visitor schedules, activities, and cities we’re visiting, so they can see what’s going on. I add what people might need (sturdy shoes, nice clothes, etc.).  Okay, sometimes I doodle the activity…

Ikea glass dry erase board

Ikea glass dry erase board

After each long visit, I create a photo collage canvas of our best moments, on Snapfish or Shutterfly; or I place photos in a collage frame.  In the case of friends we’ve met up with, but who have not visited overnight, I frame a picture for the windowsill.

Snapfish and Shutterfly collage photo canvases, tabletop frame

Snapfish and Shutterfly collage photo canvases, collage frame



It is important that people know to open the bathroom skylight while showering, in order to prevent moisture and mold. In addition to us telling people when they arrive, I created a photo canvas with a picture of open windows, from our visit to Burano, with a gentle reminder to open ours when showering.

shutterfly photo canvas

Shutterfly photo canvas reminder

Germans recycle like crazy, so we have to sort our trash. Female guests who experience unfortunate timing with their cycle, or other feminine issues, can place feminine products in fun plastic Toy Story bags. They have a twist tie, are not see-through, and are easy to spot when we are sorting trash.

toy story plastic party treat bags

Fun, twist tie shut, and easily recognizable for trash sorting

I’m always looking for ways to make guests feel comfortable while they’re here. What does your guest room look like?




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Category: FAMILY, Germany, In Germany A Broad blog, Top Tens, Travel, Uncategorized, US Travel

About the Author ()

Kari Martindale is a writer and ESL instructor. She’s visited all 50 states and 37 countries, including many of the big cities of Europe and a ton of Christmas Markets. She spends her days straddling the fence between a sense of adventure and a sense of dread. She is married to what is clearly a patient man and has a daughter who, frustratingly, is just like her. Her academic and professional backgrounds are in linguistics and foreign languages. When she's not teaching ESL, she's writing. When she's not writing, she's thinking about her next trip.

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