Do you have a small house and need an extra bedroom for guests? I will show you step by step, some great ideas to turn your small room or small living room into a really comfortable bedroom for you or your guests.
When my husband and I first moved into our small one-bedroom apartment in London, my goal was to create as many pockets of storage as possible as well as a temporary bedroom incase we had an overnight guest.
I love hosting and I wasn’t going to let our small space get in the way of that. Also, the last thing I wanted was to put my guests on a blow-up air bed. I have slept on a few in my lifetime and they are so not ideal.
So before we even purchased any of our furniture, I researched ways to make sure any guests we received didn’t feel like they were in our living room (even if they were).
When my mother-in-law came visiting, I was able to quickly turn our living room into a temporary bedroom for her and she was so comfortable she even agreed to stay an extra night! I have a few simple tips up my sleeves that I would love to share with you.
These solutions will work not just for a one-bedroom apartment like ours but for a studio apartment as well.
Here’s my step-by-step guide to transforming your small apartment living room into a guest room that will get loads of compliments
How To Make An Extra Bedroom In Your House
Step #1: Start with a convertible sofa
Don’t stop reading if you already have a sofa, I share more tips below that will apply to you. However, if you are in the process of shopping for your small home, the first step is to buy a good quality sofa bed.
It will give you the flexibility to have a temporary bedroom. Every time I design my space I am constantly thinking, about storage storage storage. Hence why I always make sure all my furniture has double functionalities.
The sofa bed I got is from Made.com and it’s a great place to shop for chic and comfortable options (oh and it has held up for three years at the time of writing this). A sofa bed not only offers you a bed, but additional hidden storage to keep your living area tidy because you get to store so much under it.
Nothing helps maximise your floor space quite like a sofa bed and I use mine to store everything from extra sheets to toiletries for guests.
It also creates extra space when we are having a movie night and need more space to Netflix and chill… I mean watching TV in the literal sense, not what you are thinking.
If you already have a large sofa, you don’t have to run off and buy a sofa bed. Use what you have or get an inflatable bed as a last resort.
Step #2: Lay proper bedding
The fact that this is a sofa bed does not mean you should neglect the quality of bedding you use. This is how you give your living room a room feel. Make the bed like you would a proper bed, trust me it makes all the difference.
A well-made bed is always a good idea.
To create a nice cozy hotel-like bed, I suggest using crisp white bedding. I know, I know, the video above shows my bedding is bright orange.
I have now swapped them for white hotel sheets. Crisp white bedding will make the sofa bed feel more elevated.
If you are not sure where to start, remember to use the following:
- A mattress pad – This is a must to protect your sofa
- A fitted sheet – This goes over the mattress pad and fits snug
- A flat sheet– This is optional but it definitely adds some extra comfort
- A blanket or duvet – Adjust the tog or thickness depending on the time of the year
- Four pillows – For extra comfort
- Throw blanket – In case your guests need something lighter than a blanket
- Two decorative pillows – To tie it all together
Even though this is a sofa bed, adding layers gives it that extra level of coziness.
Step #3: Consider Layout
I am not saying to redecorate your entire living room, I am saying make changes to the floor plan. This will require moving some furniture pieces around in creative ways. After your guest wakes up, your living room will still need to function like a living room.
Here’s how you can make this happen.
Move your side table over so it’s parallel to the sofa bed. This will act as a great side table for your guest to pop their phone or a glass of water.
Depending on the shape of your coffee table, you can transfer it so it’s on part of the wall or the edge of your sofa bed. That way it can have a double function as a room divider.
Move things around in a way that works for your unique space so that the room still has a calming feel to it and the bedroom (and possibly dining room) look like separate spaces.
If you have large windows and much natural light peeks through them, consider placing the head of the ‘bed’ away from it as facing a large window might cause restless sleep.
Step #4: Add decor
Adding a few decorative elements is a great way to make your living room look more like an intentional bedroom for your overnight guests.
A few fresh flowers from the supermarket cut and arranged in a vase on the side table is an excellent idea.
Remember the side table we put parallel to the sofa bed for the guest’s phone? Yes, use that to display fresh flowers.
Nothing screams intentionality like fresh flowers. They are one of the cheap but creative ways to make your living room truly feel like a spare room.
Step #5: Create a box of essentials
Okay, so we have a well-made bed, a side table, and what hopefully looks like a proper place for your guest. Now let’s kick this up a notch by creating a welcome basket.
Personally, I consider it really essential to have a basket of essentials on hand just in case your guest left some things at home or is just too shy to ask.
My welcome packet includes things like towels, toiletries, and even snacks. Your guest might be a late-night snacker and depending on your relationship it might be really awkward to walk into your kitchen at midnight.
Here is a list of things you need to have on hand to make them feel comfortable and less like they are in your sitting room.
Welcome Box Essentials
These are the items I consider an absolute must-have to really make your guests feel comfortable. This is a complete list for both male and female guests but add or remove from the list to fit your guests’ needs. I recommend getting tiny hotel-sized ones.
I used to take samples away from hotels but I have been able to find travel-sized toiletries on Amazon and Poundland.
- Shower Cap
- Spray deodorant
- Body Wash
- Soap Bar
- Mini Scissors
- Lip balm
- Box of snacks
- Bottled Water
- A new set of panties
- Sanitary towels/tampons
- Bathing sponge
- Handheld Mirror
Step #6: Create Privacy
This is something we didn’t have because there was simply not enough storage space for it, but if you can, a good option is to get a privacy screen. This is even more important if you have glass doors as we had.
Our overnight guests have always used the bathroom to change out of their clothes but if we had a privacy screen, it would honestly make them feel a lot more comfortable.
A privacy screen is the only thing that will truly give the illusion of separate rooms and they come in different shapes, sizes, and designs that have a really modern look.
I found this folding room divider on Amazon which has decent reviews but I honestly cannot speak for its quality as I have never bought from that exact store before.
Here are some room divider ideas that might work for a tiny space.
- Shelving Unit: An easy way to divide a room and still create a storage solution is by using a shelving unit. You can decide to fill the gaps with boxes or plants or simply use books. It can also make excellent storage for the welcome box I mentioned earlier.
2. Folding Divider: This is the most popular option and is perfect because you can hide it away when it’s not in use or just leave it half folded as a decorative piece.
3. Fabric Divider/ Curtains: You can also use curtains that suspend from the ceiling as a more semi-permanent room divider solution. Should you change your mind, it’s nothing a bit of filler can’t fix.
4. Clothes Rack: You could potentially use a clothing rack filled with clothes as a room divider. This is my least favourite option because most clothing racks are not that high.
If budget is an issue, here’s a really great video that shows you how to make one yourself.
These are the steps and the essentials you need to turn a living room into an extra room for overnight guests. I hope these tips help you to put together the most relaxing room or even use the tips to create an oasis in your spare bedroom.
FAQs on turning your living room into a bedroom
How much will it cost to make a temporary living room?
If you are not making any structural changes and you use the tips I mentioned above, you only need between £220- £250 to create a comfortable bedroom. Here’s a rough budget I put together as a guide. The total cost for you will largely depend on your taste and how much you are willing to spend.
|Sheets and pillows||£20|
|Room Divider/ Privacy Screen||£130|
Is it legal to turn a living room into a bedroom
Whether you are renting or planning to create this bedroom in your own home, it is generally legal to convert your living room into a bedroom.
If you are renting, check your tenancy agreement to be sure there are no clauses that prevent you from doing this. You may also want to read up more on your rights and responsibilities as a renter if you live in the UK. Subletting an extra room is against the law.
If you own your home, you do not need planning permission to change the use of a room in your main building, however you cannot use an outbuilding as a bedroom space because it is considered a non-habitable building. Your outbuilding must comply with building regulations to be used as a spare bedroom.
Do you need planning permission to divide a room?
If you own your property, you absolutely do not need any permissions to divide a room so long as it’s not a structural job that requires creating new windows for instance.
If you are planning to build a stud wall, you need to follow building regulations. For the most up-to-date information on internal changes, it’s best to phone your local planning authority for the best advice.
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