Sprinkle your home with a little decorating whimsy

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • July 6, 2019

Wendy Conklin’s Frida chairs pay homage to Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. Group them together for a dining room that your guests will never stop talking about! Photo: Chair Whimsy

Wendy Conklin’s Frida chairs pay homage to Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. Group them together for a dining room that your guests will never stop talking about! Photo: Chair Whimsy

Whatever happened to the fun in interior decorating?

Sometimes I think our home interiors are becoming too serious.

Why: I go into a lot of homes that tell me absolutely nothing about the people who live there. The home can look great, everything in the right place, good flow, nice color (although a little dull). But what is missing is something to tell me who lives there and what they like.

Garden party! Change up your dining room chairs with this colorful fabric set against a neutral palette bu Wendy Conklin. Photo: Chair Whimsy

Garden party! Change up your dining room chairs with this colorful fabric set against a neutral palette bu Wendy Conklin. Photo: Chair Whimsy

Where is the fun?

It’s one of the reasons Southwest Florida homeowners call me. They are just plain bored. Their homes need a little something. They don’t always need to change the entire house. They want me to give their home a little injection of personality (definitely can do that). A little wow (they say, although wow is not a decorating style) or an accent piece to shake things up. Or a new color palette to change everything.

In other words, they need a little sprinkling of decorating whimsy. Something to make their house their home.

Brighten up a dull space with this black on black chair has lots of WOW. Photo: Chair Whimsy

Brighten up a dull space with this black on black chair has lots of WOW. Photo: Chair Whimsy

The French writing desk and why are chairs so ugly?

I started thinking about this recently when a longtime client asked to help her create a space for writing. She’s a published author and had just downsized. She had purchased a French writing desk and wanted to incorporate it into an area for her writing. The writing desk is well, spectacular. A focal point of the room. And it needed a chair equally as spectacular.

I set out on a mission. To find a chair that screams WOW. And does the desk and the space justice. And so, it began.

First of all, let me say this: a pretty chair is hard to find. No, let me rephrase: most chairs start out ugly. I know this because I shop for chairs for many clients and I always tell them to find a chair that fits the space, fits them and is a style that works with the room. If we are lucky enough to find all three, we can make it pretty with beautiful fabric selections.

Pretty in floral pinks with a whitewash finish. Photo: Chair Whimsy

Pretty in floral pinks with a whitewash finish. Photo: Chair Whimsy

“Ugly chairs” on Pinterest

I was looking for another client’s pink chair recently and somehow ended up going down a rabbit trail and found myself on Pinterest. Do you know there is actually a board called “Ugly chairs?” Seriously. I have seen most of these chairs. Except for the one that looks like a potato. Check it out if you want a laugh. I did find a pretty pink chair at West Elm.

But I digress. Slightly.

Chairs as an accent

I’ve always used chairs as an accent piece. In my own home, I have one in every room. An old, wooden, shabby chic chair sits in my living room with a pillow that points toward the beach. In my bedroom, a treasured flea market find, an old, weathered beach chair that holds a pillow that I love from a trip to Paris. An old, heirloom wicker chair was given a new life with some beautiful, coastal fabric. And the list goes on.

But here is the thing.

You can’t really sit in these chairs. For long. If your accent needs to be for real life, you need something substantial.

And then I found it.

Chair “whimsy”

My search led me to designer and upholsterer, Wendy Conklin. Her business, Chair Whimsy, offers one-of-a-kind, out-of-this-world chairs that make wonderful accent pieces. From boho chic to vintage farmhouse to classic romance, these chairs reflect the personalities of their owner. They are new and fabulous. And you can create your own. Check them all out at chairwhimsy.com

Her boho chic line includes a collection of “Frida” chairs, paying homage to the colorful Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. A set for the dining room makes a perfect conversation piece when entertaining or one can stand alone at a desk or in a corner.

Be fearless

Find your inspiration and don’t be afraid to put an accent piece in every room. It can be a chair or something else that will make you love your home again. As I am writing this, I am thinking about how I can convince my husband that we need a Frida chair. Wish me luck.

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Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She helps homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and solves decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Heading to college with stylish (and practical) dorm room tips

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • June 1, 2019

Some things you never forget. No matter how many years have gone by.

Like when I walked into my dorm room my first day of college in North Carolina. I took one look at the small, all-beige room with very used furniture and tried to convince myself that it would be okay. Even then, I wanted everything around me to be as pretty as possible.

My mother took one look and said, “This will be fine.”

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And she was right. It was “home” for two years and I was happy there. It didn’t take much to pull it all together.

Each year when I think about writing an article on dorm decorating, I am in awe of the choices available and how, on a budget, you can make a room (with a roommate) look spectacular.

And a good source also helps. So, I set out to find a high school graduate heading off to college in the fall to give me a few key tips on what’s important.

Katie Donlan, heading off to college , says your dorm room should reflect your personal style.

Katie Donlan, heading off to college , says your dorm room should reflect your personal style.

Katie Donlan, just graduated from the Canterbury School in Fort Myers and will be heading off to college in late summer. Prior to graduation, she did some work for me as part of a school project so I took advantage of the chance to find out what’s most important to college-bound students leaving home for the first time.

Katie’s tips

Storage. Since dorm rooms are usually very small, maximizing space is a must. In my dorm room I plan to have my bed raised in order to use the space underneath as extra storage.

Photos. I think for incoming freshman one of the hardest parts is leaving friends and family. To help with this, I plan on bringing lots of photos of my friends and family to decorate my space.

Comfort. When planning a dorm room, the most important factor is comfort. After all, the majority of time spent in your dorm room is when you are sleeping. But it can be cute as well as comfortable!

Greenery. Adding a small plant or some flowers to a room adds a lot of character. It is also proven that plants help reduce stress!

No nails wall décor makes decorating a snap with a scallop framed pin board and wall organizers. Photo: Pottery Barn

No nails wall décor makes decorating a snap with a scallop framed pin board and wall organizers. Photo: Pottery Barn

Your own style. I think the best rooms are those that are truly representative of who you are as a person. For me, I will add lots of blues because that is my favorite color. I will also make sure to include a few pieces of whale decor because whales are my mom's favorite.

Wrenda’s tips

Gone are the days of walls covered in posters and bean bag chairs for seating. Today, a dorm room can be functional, done on a budget, reflect your personality and of course, a pretty space to return to at the end of the day.

Don’t forget about the roommate. If possible, it’s nice to coordinate a color palette before you arrive at college.

The bed is the thing. Since you will use your room to study, entertain and sleep, the bed will also be your seating area. Where to save: sheets for the bed which is usually single and extra-long. Where to splurge: the comforter. This is something you may wish to take with you when you leave the dorm whether it’s to an apartment or other housing. And make sure the fabric can be washed! Add a few pillows and a throw. Done.

Under-the-bed storage, a pretty and practical comforter, wall décor and a comfy chair all help to pull the dorm room look together. Elevate the look of your sleep space with patterns and paisley! Pottery Barn bundles everything from mattress pad to pillow insert to duvet with all the basics you need to make your best bed. Photo: Pottery Barn

Under-the-bed storage, a pretty and practical comforter, wall décor and a comfy chair all help to pull the dorm room look together. Elevate the look of your sleep space with patterns and paisley! Pottery Barn bundles everything from mattress pad to pillow insert to duvet with all the basics you need to make your best bed. Photo: Pottery Barn

No clutter zone. Space is at a premium so get creative with storage. Put hooks over closet doors for extra hanging space. Use baskets and trays to keep things together. Add a full-length mirror that leans and hang purses and jackets over the corners.

Shed some light. Very important. If there is a fluorescent light in the middle of the ceiling, lower the wattage or replace it with an inexpensive light fixture. Have a really good desk lamp for studying and at least one more lamp for the nightstand.

Pick a color! This task lamp has style and smarts. Three pivot points extend to the proper position, then lock into place. The flexible arm lets you direct light exactly where you want it. Photo: Pottery Barn

Pick a color! This task lamp has style and smarts. Three pivot points extend to the proper position, then lock into place. The flexible arm lets you direct light exactly where you want it. Photo: Pottery Barn

Personalize. Try to bring one (small) piece of your own furniture. Maybe a nightstand or a chair to soften the standardized look of the room. Ask if the piece you are replacing can be stored.

Walls. My favorite. Add a framed, fabric-backed inspiration board for photos. String lights with led photo clips. Use fabric or peel-and-stick wallpaper as an accent on the wall behind the bed.

Tie it all together. With a rug. It’s a nice accent that makes it seem like a home and you can definitely save on this item. Think: Home Goods or Target.

Relax and enjoy. These are years that you will never forget. Study. Have fun. And create lifelong memories.


Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She helps homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and solves decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Cutting through the decluttering maze

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • May 4, 2019

Getting rid of what you no longer use (decluttering), gives you space for something new and pretty, like flowers. Shown: Melissa bud vases from Ballard Designs.

Getting rid of what you no longer use (decluttering), gives you space for something new and pretty, like flowers. Shown: Melissa bud vases from Ballard Designs.

Too much information can be a bad thing. And we are surrounded by it. Overload. It comes at us from all directions.

There are articles, blogs, books, magazines, television shows, newsletters and podcasts totally dedicated to this one topic. People are making a living from telling us what to do with our stuff.

Think about it for a minute.

They tell us why we should do it. How to do it. When to do it. How to talk to our possessions when we do it. How we should feel when we are doing it. What will happen to us if we don’t do it. Yikes.

The very name (decluttering) has gone from a spring cleaning that you do every season (or before your interior designer arrives at the front door) to a lifestyle. And while, it can be life- changing, it can also be confusing.

Been there and done it

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I talk about decluttering a lot and I mention it in most of my articles. Sometimes the thought of decluttering itself is overwhelming. Just the physical aspect of getting rid of things and deciding what to do with them is difficult and stops homeowners in their tracks. I understand that because I have just done it.

During my recent move to a new home, I did a major editing of everything I own. You know that 10 percent of our clothing that we wear all the time? I got rid of the other 90 percent. Furniture and everything else that I have been carrying around for years that was no longer working and part of a past life: gone. Donated to good causes that can help people.

Was it painful? Some of it.

Was it worth it? Yes.

Why? Because now I am surrounded by things that I love. As opposed to meaningless items that have just been around for years and take up space.

Because I don’t want this to be another article telling you what to do, let’s cut through all of the clutter with a few gentle thoughts that focus on the most important aspects of decluttering. I promise it will make you love your home again.

Scaling back means that you can say more with less in your home. Renowned designer, Bunny Williams has an oval lattice-style cachepot like this one resting on the mantel in her New York apartment. She designed this version for Ballard Designs with a watertight, removable iron liner so you can fill it with freshly cut stems. It’s perfect for smaller centerpieces. Photo: Ballard Designs.

Scaling back means that you can say more with less in your home. Renowned designer, Bunny Williams has an oval lattice-style cachepot like this one resting on the mantel in her New York apartment. She designed this version for Ballard Designs with a watertight, removable iron liner so you can fill it with freshly cut stems. It’s perfect for smaller centerpieces. Photo: Ballard Designs.

Go at it like you mean it

Do you love it? Need it? Use it? There you are. Done.

Keeping it clean and simple. Room and accessories from Frontgate.

Keeping it clean and simple. Room and accessories from Frontgate.

Keep a clear head

A few years ago a client said goodbye to some furnishings that meant a lot to her. These were pieces that she had collected with her husband on their travels. He became ill and they had to downsize. Rather than waiting to see what her next home would be like, she panicked in all of the confusion and sold too much too quickly. The lesson: don’t make a major decision while you are under stress.

Stop shopping now

Drive right past Home Goods and I don’t care that Target’s new line of (affordable) patio furniture looks great. Don’t buy one more thing until you edit what you have. Just because it’s pretty, doesn’t mean it should be coming into your home as an emotional purchase. Go for a walk or take a yoga class.

Decluttering that you can do NOW

Edit a few things and you’re on your way. Say goodbye to:

· Old shoes, toys, books, potpourri, gift wrap, calendars, cookbooks, paint, craft supplies, remote controls that have no TV.

· Wire hangers, makeup samples, expired medicines, greeting cards from years ago.

· Clothes you haven’t worn in a year (even if the tags are still on them)

· Toss appliance manuals. They are all online.

Simplify your accessories and let your favorite pieces speak for themselves. Shown: Frontgate’s Regency 4-Drawer Bow Front Chest pays homage to a neoclassical antique. The hand-painted gold beading catches the eye almost as quickly as do the bow-shaped drawers, hand carved corners, and veined Carrara marble top. Photo: Frontgate.

Simplify your accessories and let your favorite pieces speak for themselves. Shown: Frontgate’s Regency 4-Drawer Bow Front Chest pays homage to a neoclassical antique. The hand-painted gold beading catches the eye almost as quickly as do the bow-shaped drawers, hand carved corners, and veined Carrara marble top. Photo: Frontgate.

Delete some of the visual stimulation

Pare down your accessories. Keep your decorating simple. Eliminate or rearrange some furniture and establish a comfortable conversation area that is relaxing.

Summary

When you unburden yourself of the items that are causing stress, your life becomes much easier. Try it, what have you go to lose?

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She helps homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and solves decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

The weather is great! Time to move outside!

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Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • April 6, 2019

It’s spring and if you are like me, the past few weeks of perfect Southwest Florida weather have you getting outdoors as much as possible. It’s the time to create or enhance your outdoor living space.

Because I was born and raised in the south, I love porches. Today, it can be a porch, a lanai patio or balcony if you are up a level.

When I was growing up, the "porch" was where the family headed after dinner. I can hear my mother saying, "Help me finish the dishes and let's go out on the porch." It was where all important discussions and decisions took place. Even though the "porch" was only a small cement stoop with a couple of aluminum chairs. It was still the place where we retreated at the end of the day. And so did all of the neighbors.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I’ve had many "porches" since those days. Small apartment balconies barely large enough for two chairs, front porches with comfortable wicker furniture, large lanais' with summer kitchens surrounding a pool and filled with friends. But to me, they are all "porches." And I love them all.

Frontgate’s Myla collection brings a laid-back coastal vibe to any outdoor setting. All-weather resin wicker is intricately handwoven in an open looped pattern around durable powder coated aluminum frames. Add a rug to tie the area together. Photo: Frontgate

Frontgate’s Myla collection brings a laid-back coastal vibe to any outdoor setting. All-weather resin wicker is intricately handwoven in an open looped pattern around durable powder coated aluminum frames. Add a rug to tie the area together. Photo: Frontgate

For years, I have helping my clients makeover their outdoor space as an extension of the home's living space. No matter what the size or budget. I hope a few of my tips will inspire you to move outdoors!

Don’t crowd your space. Decide what is most important. Dining? Relaxing? TV area? And plan the space accordingly with the appropriate sized furnishings.

Protect from water and sun. Purchase cushions with performance fabrics such as Sunbrella.

Anchor your seating area with an outdoor rug. Even on a tiny balcony this works and adds color to the space. It also makes it an extension of your home.

Lighting for atmosphere. If there is space, add an outdoor lamp, twinkly lights, a few lanterns.

Add a bar cart. Yes, it's great for a party but you can also use it for storage...liquid refreshments, cups, stirrers, coasters, books, magazines, speakers, and anything else necessary for a relaxing retreat.

Purchase a new set of dishes, place mats, glasses. Add some color with a few new table enhancements that will bring some fresh, new color to your space. Use them indoors as well. After all, we will soon be heading into summer so let’s make it easy!

Replicated from original watercolor renderings, the Venetian-inspired patterns that artfully accent this outdoor dinnerware collection provide a creative pop of blue and white to an outdoor space. Use it indoors or outdoors. Photo: Frontgate

Replicated from original watercolor renderings, the Venetian-inspired patterns that artfully accent this outdoor dinnerware collection provide a creative pop of blue and white to an outdoor space. Use it indoors or outdoors. Photo: Frontgate

Something blue. Paint the ceiling blue. Why? It's pretty and adds another dimension to your porch. Giving your own outdoor space a hint of blue is the perfect way to play into history, and it just might keep wasps and evil spirits away, too! According to the legend, years ago, in the deep South, many people painted their porch ceilings a specific shade of Haint Blue, a soft blue-green, to ward off evil spirits called "haints."

It's especially common in the historic homes around Savannah, Charleston and Key West. It’s believed to keep wasp and bird nests from forming because they confuse it with the sky. Two favorites: Benjamin Moore Bird’s Egg 2051-60 and Palladian Blue HC 144. I don’t know about the legend but I love the look.

Anchor the space with a rug. Even small spaces are perfect for summer days. Check out Pier 1's Coastal Collection. Photo: Pier 1.

Anchor the space with a rug. Even small spaces are perfect for summer days. Check out Pier 1's Coastal Collection. Photo: Pier 1.

Add some green. Give it your personal touch with lots of greenery. If there is space, add some pots, a small tree and a vase or two of fresh flowers. Use perennials so you will not have to replace them each year.

Go vertical. Hang a piece of artwork or sign on a wall. This makes it feel like part of your living space.

Tiny space? No problem! Bistro table and chairs may be all that you need. No room for furniture? Fill your tiny balcony with plants and let the outdoors inside.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She helps homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and solves decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog

Spring: bring some joy into your home!

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Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • March 2, 2019

Spring. It arrives on March 20.

Even though our seasons seem to all run together in Southwest Florida, there’s something about acknowledging spring’s arrival that seems normal and healthy. This is the time of year when most of us look around our homes to make a few changes. A refresh. A reboot. To mark a new season. Subtle touches. A time to welcome the joy that spring brings.

As a Southwest Florida interior decorator, I have a few simple (but impactful) spring rituals that I like to implement each year and I always encourage my clients to do the same. Some are free and you can start them when you finish this article.

Layer a beautiful table with a few new touches for spring such as these bundles of tulips in glass vases and pastel blown glass eggs filled with strings of lights or votive candles. Shown: rustic, industrial-styled Benchwright dining table. Photo: Pottery Barn

Layer a beautiful table with a few new touches for spring such as these bundles of tulips in glass vases and pastel blown glass eggs filled with strings of lights or votive candles. Shown: rustic, industrial-styled Benchwright dining table. Photo: Pottery Barn

Clean and declutter. Really clean. Windows. Floors. A get-into-the-corners, sparkling spring cleaning.

Touch up. You don’t need to (necessarily) paint an entire room but touch up some scuffs and paint your baseboards to give your rooms a fresh look.

Flowers. Pamper yourself and say hello to spring with a beautiful bouquet in the kitchen, bedroom and bath.

Less is more. Spring is a good time to do what I like to call reduction decorating. Instead of buying more, put a few things away. Clear off some surface space. Maybe store a couple of pieces of furniture (you know you have too much). Give your space room to breathe. You can bring it back out in the fall.

Pillow switch. Breathe some new life into your room with new throw pillows. I admit that I am a pillow addict. I never met a pillow I could resist. I hoard them, hide them away and switch out my sofa and bedroom pillows like most people change shoes. Honestly, it’s the easiest way to put a little spring in your home.

Give your living room sofa a new look with a few spring pillows that become the focal point of the room. Always select a couple of solid colors to mix with patterns and flowers. Shown: Townsend sofa with reversible storage. Photo: Pottery Barn

Give your living room sofa a new look with a few spring pillows that become the focal point of the room. Always select a couple of solid colors to mix with patterns and flowers. Shown: Townsend sofa with reversible storage. Photo: Pottery Barn

Evaluate what you have. If you don’t love it, why keep it? Say goodbye to it and donate or sell it.

Add some new scents. Diffusers, candles or potpourri.

Open the windows. Let some fresh air in. Soon enough we will be into summer and will everything closed up again!

Redo a room. My favorite and least expensive, a powder room. Paint or wallpaper an outrageously gorgeous color. Redo the lighting and accessories. OR buy fresh linens and a new comforter for a bedroom. A new piece of art or rug. A new set of lamps for the nightstands.

Call a professional. Spring is also a good time to think about changes that you want to make in your home. If you have been struggling with what to do, maybe it’s time to call in an interior design professional to assist you in taking taken on a new project or to come up with a plan that you can implement on your own.

A little splurge. And it doesn’t have to cost a lot. Add a few spring colors to your dining table with some fresh napkins, place mats or accent dishes. I like to leave the center of my table up all the time and change it seasonally.

Welcome spring. Add a new welcome mat at the front door and purchase a colorful flag.

Whatever you do, enjoy decorating for spring and make it fun!


Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She helps homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and solves decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog


Company is coming! Is your guestroom ready?

Wrenda Goodwyn • special to the Fort Myers News-Press • February 2, 2019

If you live in Southwest Florida, there’s a chance that family and friends are making their vacation plans right now and they likely include you!

It’s that time of year when the winter weather everywhere else sends them in droves to our tropical paradise in search of sun and fun. And they are planning to stay at your home sweet home.

As a Fort Myers interior decorator, many of my clients are booking their appointments around their houseguest’s arrival and departure dates. Welcome to season in Florida. It’s a busy time.

Which brings us to the bespoke guest room. And how we can make it comfortable and beautiful in time for their visit. After all, if we like them enough to share space in our homes, we want them to be comfortable. Right?

Keep luggage off the guest room floor with a luggage rack. Light and easy to store this Gaspar rack is from Ballard Designs and many homeowners use a couple of these at the foot of their bed for pillows. Photo: Ballard Designs

Keep luggage off the guest room floor with a luggage rack. Light and easy to store this Gaspar rack is from Ballard Designs and many homeowners use a couple of these at the foot of their bed for pillows. Photo: Ballard Designs

Think about your favorite hotel room. What did you love about it?

It’s usually not one big thing but a lot of little things. They make a difference.

Like the fresh flowers that one of my friends always has in her guest room and bath.

And the new Christmas sheets with the Eiffel Tower that my best friend had on my bed over the holidays because she knows that I love Paris.

Or the great travel books from places that I have visited that a friend left in my room, knowing that I would stay up and read late into the night.

They all say “Welcome. I’m glad you are here and want you to be comfortable.”

I’ve pulled together a few tips to help you get your guest room in shape so you will be ready to roll out the welcome mat in time for their arrival.

Glam it up in a guest room with a decorating style that pampers your guests. Pottery Barn’s Addison storage bed includes two deep drawers for linen storage. Photo: Pottery Barn

Glam it up in a guest room with a decorating style that pampers your guests. Pottery Barn’s Addison storage bed includes two deep drawers for linen storage. Photo: Pottery Barn

· Spend the night. Sleep in your guest room and check it out. Is the bed comfortable? Is the temperature okay? Is it dark enough for sleeping? Is there a good reading light? Make adjustments.

· Invest a few $$$$. Purchase a new set of sheets. And a couple of sets of towels, washcloths and hand towels.

· Vary the pillows. If you’re like me, you like pillows on your bed. Shams. Decorative. Sleeping. Include both soft and firm so your guests have a choice. Whatever you do, don’t send your old, flat, no-longer-useful pillows to the guest room!

· Be creative. In the guest room you can switch up the decorating to something that you might not do in your own bedroom. Bright colors, artwork, rugs and wall art. After all, it’s a room that will not be used every day.

· If you don’t do anything else…Include a luggage rack. Or a bench or stool that allows for a piece of luggage. No matter how small the guest room is, you can find a space for this and it keeps luggage off the floor (a luxury when you are a guest).

· Clear surface space. Clear out any personal items from surfaces and give your guests a place to put their things.

· Phone charger. Make it convenient so they aren’t crawling around looking for an empty outlet. I just purchased an alarm clock with two USB ports and you can dim the time at night.

· WIFI password. A handwritten welcome note with the password is such a nice touch and costs nothing! Someone did this for me and I still talk about it.

· Those little conveniences. A robe. Shampoos. Hair dryer. Nice soap. Magazines that you know they like. Candles. Fresh flowers. Think about that hotel you loved. And leave a tray for jewelry.

· Bathroom niceties. Extra toothbrush, razors, toothpaste, cotton balls. Items they may have forgotten. And leave some empty space under the vanity for them to store their personal items.

· About the clothes. Chances are that you use the guest room for storage or an extra closet when it’s not occupied. If possible, move a few things out for a few days to give your guests some space. Some empty hangers and a little room in the closet. If this isn’t possible, an over-the-door hanger works great.

· Keys. It’s nice to have an extra key so your guests can come and go as they please. Just be sure to get it back when they leave so you can give it to the next guests!

Ballard Designs.

Ballard Designs.

Wrenda Goodwyn is a Southwest Florida interior decorator, A.S.I.D. associate and certified gold member of the Interior Redecorators Network. She helps homeowners throughout Southwest Florida with timeless, affordable ways to create beautiful spaces and solves decorating problems. Her article appears the first Saturday of each month. For more information visit her website at spectacularspaces.com. Call her at 949-1808 or e-mail wrenda@spectacularspaces.com. For more decorating tips, articles and photos, visit spectacularspaces.com/blog