Decorating Dilemmas: Lynn’s Empty Nest

Helping Lynn decorate her empty guest bedroom with a bed and workspace

Decorating Dilemmas is a weekly column in which our stylists answer your design questions, so you can tackle your home decorating project with complete confidence.

Dear How to Decorate,

We are re-doing a kids bedroom as a guest room/extra room and essentially are starting with a blank slate for furniture, bedding, rug, curtains, light fixture and room decor – the works! It’s a reasonable size room (15×14 square open space) plus a small bath and closet area. Two walls are knee walls about 4 feet tall at the lowest point, but it doesn’t really impede walking around the room. The entry into the room passes thru the bath/closet area and faces the far wall with a double window.

The walls are Sherwin Williams Tradewind blue, and the floor will be a medium brown vinyl plank. Starting with nothing seemed like a fun opportunity, but actually picking so many coordinating pieces and colors and deciding what type of furniture is a bit overwhelming.

I am drawn to the spa blue/green/gray/cream color palate and was considering the Adelaide area rug and the Ava block print quilt in spa. I also like “pops” of emerald, purple, or dark turquoise (peacock colors?) And I love a variety of the bird, feather and green landscape (eg, southern oaks) artwork in your catalog.

We’d like a queen or king size bed with a headboard (no upholstery) and end tables or at least somewhere for bedside table space. If possible we’d also like a sitting area/daybed as well, and maybe a desk area too. I like the idea of a bench at the end of the bed but I don’t see how to arrange the room to accommodate all of this without disrupting traffic flow; I’m thinking maybe all this is too ambitious and I need help deciding what will work!!

Thanks so much for any advice.



Wow, what a great space you have to work with! We know that creating a multi-use space can be overwhelming, but we think we can help!

A great way to a design blank canvas is to start with an inspiration piece. Since you mentioned the Adelaide Rug, let’s start there. This rug will be the foundation for our color scheme and will add depth and texture to the space. The Louis Queen Headboard is an ideal piece for your guest bed because the height of the headboard is 48.5″. If it’s pulled out a touch from the wall, it should fit just under the slope of your knee wall. On the otherside, we suggest something a little more low-slung, like our Victoria Daybed, upholstered in our Danish Linen Natural fabric.

For bedding, we love our Audree Pom Pom Quilt mixed with the Kenzie Painted Herringbone bedding, both in spa. You could also use the Kenzie Drapery Panels for your windows in either gray or spa. Now that the beds have their foundations, let’s add in color and personality with pillows. The Courtney Spa, Kiki Frog and Signature Velvet pillows echo the spa in our rug and the peacock colors you love.

The Suzanne Kasler Writing Desk will serve double duty as a bedside table and a workspace when paired with a Parsons Chair covered in an Everday Peacock Linen Slipcover. To add more softness, consider a skirted side table with a Natural Linen tablecloth.

Lighting is so important when designing any space, and the Suzanne Kasler Gourd Lamps in French Blue are the perfect compliment for each side of the bed. Place the Julian Floor Lamp in Brass next to the daybed to create a great reading area. Finish off the room with the Airlie Chandelier.

For final touches, add the Amelia Storage Ottoman in the Sunbrella Cheetah Taupe fabric under your window. It can store any supplies you need for your workspace or bed linens. You mentioned loving emerald greens and peacock blues. Beyond Blue Art has both of those colors and looks fantastic with the Adelaide Rug — hang two on either side of your window to create a beautiful focal point when you walk into the room.

We hope this design gives you all of the functionality you desired.

Happy Decorating!

The Design Team

Helping Lynn decorate her empty guest bedroom with a bed and workspace

Do you have a decorating dilemma? Send us your own questions here.

How to Decorate Team

We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Reply


    July 6, 2020

    What a lovely and well thought out plan for Lynn! I love the addition of the animal print on the bench and the colors are dreamy!