Styling a very small house – the guest rooms

Approximately three years ago we had a friend check out our little house before we placed our offer to purchase.

“It’s small”, she said, “very small, but the ceilings are high”. “It needs work, but I think it’s got potential”, as she walked through the house giving us her first impressions on each room. After telling us about the rest of the house she entered the second bathroom and told us, “There’s a second bathroom, it’s a ‘funny’ little bathroom, but, yes, there definitely is a second bathroom”.

We don’t have any of the original photos of it with its silly little plastic basin and awful toilet tank. We haven’t done anything else with it apart from replacing those two items, plus adding a rain water fixed shower head, and a hand held shower head. It’s still a ‘funny little bathroom’, but it is a second bathroom, and when we have guests, it works.

The shower is over a 1 metre by 1 metre lap bath, and the basin is small. There’s an extra shelf for toiletries above the towel rail, and of course there’s a loo. t’s not luxurious by any means, but it works!

We have two small additional bedrooms, originally painted in horrendously bright colours for such small rooms. We were pleased to get them painted!

Originally we sourced a second time round bedroom suite for the bigger room. We had our first lot of guests arriving within a week of us moving in. We’d found time to paint the walls, but the old curtains were still at the window, and the bedroom suite was still dark brown.

Later we painted the suite with chalk paint and gave it slightly distressed shabby chic, look. We moved some drapes from the living area into the bedroom. I think you’ll agree it looked better. The turquoise coloured curtains at the windows gave the room its title of ‘the blue room’.

Then my daughter gave me back my sewing machine with it’s cabinet, which she’d taken care of whilst we were on our travels. Mmmm….. Where to put it! After much thought it became clear that a smaller, double bed ensemble would be a better fit, and would create space for the sewing cabinet under the window. The bed and bedhead were on-sold. The bedside cabinets were placed on our verge with a ‘free’ sign on them, and found another new home. The dressing table was transferred to Paul’s shed and now houses nuts and bolts, or some other secret men’s business, shed stuff!

The blue room with sewing cabinet under the window, and fold up chair should guests need it

We originally put a queen bed into the other spare room, the pink room, (named after the pink curtains and pelmet that were in the room). This second time round bed also came with a brown bedhead and bedside cabinets. The bed fitted well in the width of the room, but it was to long. Damn!!! We’ve definitely been on a big ‘how to make a small house work’, learning curve, and have wasted quite a bit of time and money on the learning journey. Out went the queen bed, and in came another new double ensemble.

Now with a double bed, and the bedhead and cabinets have been painted chalk white

Both the pink and the turquoise curtains have now gone, and the bedrooms have recently been fitted with white plantation shutters. Although each room is still predominantly white, we have added some touches of an accent colour in each room. We’ve changed the accent colour in the pink room to turquoise, and the accent colour for the larger room has changed from turquoise to latte ( beige, but beige just sounds so – well, ‘beige’).

We tend to use the smallest of the rooms as the main guest room, and we keep that room clutter free at all times. The slightly bigger room has some of our over flow things stored in it’s triple wardrobe, plus it houses my sewing machine, so we only use that room for guests if we have need the two rooms.

It would have been nice if our bedroom, and the guest rooms were in different wings of the house, but of course with the house being so small, that would have been a bit to much to hope for. All the bedrooms are in close proximity to each other, but I’m pleased the builder put some thought into creating a bit of separation. The ensuite is between our room and the blue room, and there’s a bank of wardrobes, three on our side, and one on the side of the pink room separating those two rooms ( yes, although the pink room is now accented in blue, it still remains ‘the pink room’, and we still refer to the latte room as, ‘the blue room’. I think we always will).

Sometimes I still hanker for a larger house where the guests area is in a seperate wing of the house. Then I think back to my own childhood home. Four boys in one bedroom, three girls sharing another, and our parents in a sunroom off the kitchen. One bathroom only with just a bath (no shower) and a hand basin, and the luxury of an inside toilet off the laundry. The couch was made up for guests, or if we had school friends sleeping over, they topped and tailed with us in our beds. In comparison our guests have it pretty good!

So that’s our spare bedrooms and bathroom. Watch this space for the next instalment in my before and after, show and tell on how we’ve managing to get the best out of little coastal cottage……

13 thoughts on “Styling a very small house – the guest rooms

  1. What a wonderful makeover, Chris. You are really great at this! I have never topped and tailed – I imagine someone’s foot in my face! I guess I am lucky but then we did sleep on the floor in sleeping bags at sleepovers. That was fun. I used to also sleep in the “sleep out” of my Aunt’s and Grandma’s house when we first moved to Queensland. As a child, it was all different and fun. Your experience goes to show that home is what you make it. The cosmetic appearance can be changed with some imagination and a good paintbrush. How did you find using the chalk paint?


    1. I love using the chalk paint – as long as the Mr doesn’t interfere. Paul seems to think painting is strictly in men’s domain, and tries to help. He doesn’t understand the way chalk paint works. When I wanted to paint the blue wren head board and cabinets I asked if he’d help me take them apart, and if he’d get the paint sheets out of his shed for me. His reply was, “I won’t be able to go to golf tomorrow if you want that painting done.” I keep telling him chalk paint is women’s business….. He did go to golf, at my grumpy insistence, but he still couldn’t resist adding a coat of paint as soon as my back was turned. Grrrr!! Same thing with the bedside lamps. If I want him to butt out, i have to stand guard.


      1. MOTHS are funny about paint. Mine loves to paint when he is bored. Always gets paint spills on something? Does the chalk paint cover in one coat?


      2. Depends on what you are covering. Mostly I’d say two coats at least. Withvery dark wood though it can take three or four. There’s virtually no prep though, and it dries quickly between coats. You literally just slap it on, painting in all directions. That’s why men can handle it. – they want to sand, and paint evenly with the grain, and do all manner of things to make the perfect job. I prefer Paul to be out when I’m using it. Otherwise he’s chaffing at the bit, just dying to interfere, and he usually does! I don’t mind if he decides to paint something, I’ll leave him to it. But if I decide to paint something I expect to also be left alone to do it my way.


  2. You’ve done a great job with the new downsized furniture in the rooms and isn’t it amazing how a lighter coat of colour can change the look and feel of a room. Well done. It all looks lovely.


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