5 tips to create the perfect spare room using a sofa bed.
Updated: Sep 18
Having turned my room of doom into a rather fab, multifunctional spare room, I thought I’d share my top 5 tips for success.
Like a lot of people we have a lot of multi purpose rooms in our home but the most ambitious and dysfunctional one was our downstairs ‘spare room’. It was unofficially called the room of doom due to some malingering damp but it's other somewhat optimistic name was ‘the playroom’. This was a room where we stored all the kids toys, had a sofa bed for extra guests and another TV where I hoped my family would watch stuff that I didn’t want to….they didn’t…
It never really worked and it was definitely the worst room for guests, home to the friends with dogs (they start to arrive around middle age), the teenage kids and the last arrivals in a big party…
Once we started AirBnBing our home I started to feel some serious guilt as it just didn’t feel as lovely as the bedrooms. I imagined the painful guest dynamics as people fought over who wouldn’t get it, the years of therapy that might ensue for that least favourite child….so the spare room overhaul began. Heres how it looked by the end and here’s what I learnt.
Our spare room after it's makeover. Featuring a Swyft Home Sofabed. Throw and Vase by Janet Bell Homestores. Cow picture original by Jo Alexander, Wallpaper by Borastapeter, Table by La Redoute. Rug by Dunelm.
1) CHOOSE THE PERFECT SOFABED AND MAKE THE MADE-UP BED THE FOCAL POINT
I knew I had to have a Swyft sofabed because we’d had our Swyft sofa for about a year by the time I started planning this makeover and I loved it’s soft velvet ways, its glamorous good looks and the fact that my kids & their messy chocolate addiction, an incident with some yogurt and 2 cats had proved it to be indestructible. It also has an undemanding nature and never needs fluffing up after the kids have run all over it.
Swyft Home Model 03 sofa in Vine. Rug La Redoute. Side table West Elm, Throw Janet Bell Homestore, Original artwork by Dionne Swift, Monochrome cushion by French Connection. Rattan table vintage.
Photograph by Kirstina Banholzer
So once I had worked out my scheme for the whole room and been back and forth with the handy Swyft fabric samples sticking them on walls and materials boards, I veered from the Elephant Grey Velvet (my first choice below) to the Seagrass. This change from velvet to linen look was really to ground the scheme and be more restrained as I went full steam ahead with wallpapering every wall - so the sofa had to be the sensible grown up one in the room. This linen look fabric brings a country, classic hit to this scheme and I hope pulled everything into the calm zone.
original materials taped to the wall
Just as in a bedroom you may want to make the bed the focal point by dressing it beautifully - so you can do the same with your sofabed once it's in bed mode. In this room I pull it away from the walls so it feels spacious with space to get in from both sides and dress it as well as I would a bed. I mean some would put chocolates on the bed but I draw the line there.
the mood board of the spare room
2) BE BRUTAL ABOUT ALL THE SPARE STUFF AND DECLUTTER….
Credits as picture one. Ceramic side table La Redoute. Stool, blue duvet and lamp vintage. Paint Little Greene Company.
There’s a tendency to think “I can put all the rubbish furniture that doesn’t really fit anywhere and doesn’t really work in my house into the spare room because I might move house/suddenly fall in love with it/it might come in useful” and so on.
So channel Marie Kondo/Head Girl/Yoda or whoever….
It's tough to declutter but sell, give and re-purpose what you can to get that spare room as functional, spacious and calm as possible.
3) THINK ABOUT THE CONDITIONS NEEDED TO GET A GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP
So generally the most important things here are heat/light/sound as well as the obvious - a comfy bed.
Some guests need blackout to sleep. I wanted blinds and curtains in this room to get a double layered effect and to offer options to all sleepers. This room is downstairs with one window looking onto the street so I really wanted it to feel more cocooned and cosy than maybe an upstairs bedroom needs to - pulling down the blinds and drawing the curtains really helps with this. I like some light to come into a room so choose unlined blinds knowing the curtains would provide the darkness needed for sleep.
If budget is more pressing choose either blinds or curtains and get them with blackout lining unless you go shutters.
Credits as previously. Curtains using fabric by Ian Mankin and blinds using Warwick fabric. Radiators by Castrads. Clock and Mirrored portrait both vintage.
4) REPLICATE THE ESSENTIALS AND LUXURIES YOU WOULD GET IN A BEDROOM - THINK HOTEL...
I’m sure I’m not the only one who has woken up in a spare room, in blackout, and staggered around trying to remember where the lightswitch is.
I love the simple thought out luxury of a bedside table and wired in wall lights above the bedhead, so always place a lamp on a table or stool next to the bed or you can go even further and design in a wall light next to where the bed will go. Your guests will have that lovely sleep knowing that they can just flick a light on if needed. You don't need to stop there, you can take inspiration from hotels and put other things in reachable distance. See below for light positioning, books, a glass of water and a radio. All great ways to dress a stool next to your bed.
Image of The Ned Hotel top and Paint and Paper library below.
The other detail is of course storage for clothes and even a cupboard for a suitcase if you have room.
Ideally you would provide a wardrobe and a chest of drawers but as space is everything in these hard working rooms it may be more practical to provide a pull out option and a few baskets. This Kilim pull out hanging rail from Tikamoon is a current favourite as it folds up so you can keep it in a cupboard until needed - these are apparently for kids but I would use for anyone and its on my wish list for our new spare room.
Kilim Kids Solid Teak Clothes Rack from Tikamoon.
5) A SPACE TO SLEEP IN SHOULD FEEL CALM….
No doubt your spare room will need to store other stuff - bikes, ironing boards, boilers, who knows….In my case I wanted to store some of my work samples, books and a cupboard for kids toys and craft stuff. So it sounds obvious but either keep it behind closed doors (toys and craft stuff in my case), or style the life out of it….
If you don’t have the right furniture you could always try to find some screens to hide it behind and create a more calm feel.
All credits listed earlier.
YOU CAN BE AS QUICK AS YOU LIKE OR GO SLOW.
In a spurt of guilt about an upcoming AirBnB booking I managed to redecorate my room in 3 weeks. If you want to watch the journey warts and all its all on my instagram highlights...When it takes 24 hours for a Swyft Sofa Bed to arrive and minutes to put it up this helps if you are in a hurry!
I hope I've given you a few things to think about if you're about to upgrade your spare room and I hope you have fun with it. This blog was written as part of a collaboration with Swyft Home.