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How to Make a Small Guest House Look Luxurious

Building a guest house is a wonderful thing for many families. If you have room on your home lot and often have the occasion to host friends or family, a guest house provides both elegance and privacy for your guests. However, one of the signatures of a guest house, especially in the suburbs, is tight quarters.

Guest homes tend to have small square-footage. You can realistically build a cozy one-or-two bedroom home with a full bathroom, living space, and mini-kitchen. But how do you make that small space feel like a luxurious vacation for your guests and not a broom closet? The key is all in the little design elements that make that difference. Think about every magazine-spread house and luxurious hotel room you've ever seen. It's all about the details.

Let's dive into the many ways you can make a small guest house look and feel luxurious through design.

It's the Little Things that Count

The most important thing to remember is that the small touches make a big difference. The paint and trim matter almost as much as the appliances. You want your guests to walk into an elegant feast for the eyes. Don't go overboard with busy patterns or bright colors. Instead, make sure every wall, corner, and piece of furniture is perfect in detail and provides a gracefully minimal style to the design.

Beautiful Neutral Palette, Professional Paint

Your choice of colors and accent palette will seriously influence how your guests feel when they walk into the guest house. Rich grays and bright whites are a classic neutral palette with infinite accent possibilities, for example. Cool-color palettes will make a room feel more open and pristine, while warm color palettes will make a room feel cozier.

Paint with professional precision and quality. Use multiple smooth layers and paint the walls before applying your trim to ensure clean, perfect lines. This is one way to ensure every corner looks as good as the whole spread.

Airily Open Floorplan

The best way to make a small guest house feel open and welcoming is to open up the floorplan. If there's a staircase, make it and the loft almost a social part of the lower living area. Use airy baluster and railing designs to keep spaces from feeling closed off. Use columns and half-walls instead of full walls, and even frosted glass to separate spaces without blocking light.

Molding and Framing

You might be surprised how much the trim matters in making a guest house feel luxurious. Molding along the seams in the walls and ceiling, for example, give each room definition and a feeling of spaciousness without requiring any of your precious square footage. Framing each door and window makes them pop, emphasizing your features instead of the small size.

Choose your trim carefully and create a beautifully outlined space with bright white or an elegant accent that pops in your color palette.

Ergonomic Design

From the floorplan to the furniture, make sure your guests can move around in the guest house. It won't matter how beautiful the place looks if your guests feel physically cramped while staying over. Think in terms of open spaces and walking paths during the entire design process and the final result will be both more attractive and more comfortable for your guests.

Attractive Multi-Purpose Features

A small guest house is, essentially, a tiny house that is not a primary residence. Which means you can use all of the really neat tiny house innovations for storage and multi-purpose home features.

A counter that flips up into a painting or around into a table, for example, can be very handy. Or an extra bed that slides away or folds up into a couch. Hide your storage in clever cabinetry that doubles as useful surfaces, and use every empty wall-space in the design for something cool. Optimize your space with tiny-home multi-purpose designs.

High-Quality Fixtures

Next, remember the quality of your fixtures. Choose each plumbing, lighting, and architectural feature with love. Consider how each showerhead and faucet influences the experience of your guests. Consider how each door and cabinet handle might fit into your guests' hands. Choose elegant, high-quality fixtures with good finishes to add that final touch of luxury to every aspect of the home.

Brilliant Lighting

Finally, don't forget the lighting. A guest house should be well-lit and airy. Consider recessed canister lighting in addition to decorative pendants or sconces to allow for full wall-to-wall illumination when it's time to clean, pack, or play family games.

You may also want to design a second, low-light option for relaxed evening time or use smart-lights that can change colors and transform any room into an instant party.


The goal of any guest house is to create a welcoming experience that your guests will never forget. With just a little forethought and a few small touches, you can transform a small living space into a beautiful five-star hotel quality guest house. Our team would be honored to help you make this project a reality. Contact us today to consult on the supplies you need to either build or renovate your guest house to look and feel luxurious.