You may recognize PJ and Thomas McKay from HGTV’s punny and aptly-titled new show, Down to the Studs, but this design duo isn’t new to the scene!
The real-life husband-and-husband team has been transforming houses in their hometown of Chattanooga, Tennessee for years, so when we needed someone to give us their top tips for a simple (but impactful) guest room refresh, we knew just who to call!
Take a look below for the couple’s genius design ideas, then be sure to follow PJ and Thomas on Instagram for daily doses of drool-worthy pics and tips!
Tip 1: Mismatched bedside tables and lamps can make a room feel off-balance and visually askew. We love the look of using different pieces of furniture so that the room doesn’t feel too matchy-matchy, but we do believe that matching lamps give the room a cohesive, intentional flow. These Chelsea Bedside Lamps in antique brass were the perfect mix of laid-back, casual, and sophisticated style that this room needed, and they look great beside the black metal of the bed frame.
Tip 2: Sometimes simply moving furniture from one room to another can change how you use and see that piece. You may surprise yourself with how much you like it better in a different spot and, it’s totally free!
We brought in some wood and metal shelves from an existing bathroom where it used to hold towels and washcloths, and we repurposed it as a bookshelf between the two chairs to create a guest room reading nook. The bench at the end of the bed was also in another room not really being used, but it looks like it was made to sit at the foot of the bed.
Tip 3: Having a spot where guests can sit down and unwind or lay their belongings/luggage is ideal. We used to have one chair that looked pretty lonely by itself, so switching it up for two cozy leather chairs not only created symmetry, it also added additional seating. The Greer Striped Pillows add that extra layer of comfort, and they basically beg people to sit down, relax, and maybe even read a book or two.
Tip 4: Blank walls can make a room feel drab, uninviting, or even clinical. Creating a gallery wall of pictures in the space not only adds visual interest to the room, but it can make your guests feel more at-home, and even encourage conversation.
We grouped together old photographs of famous and intriguing people to create a small gallery wall that might make our guests stop to take a second look and discuss the people in the pictures. Plus, everyone loves a good gallery wall now and then!
Tip 5: While we designed the room with creams, whites, and shades of ivory, we also brought in pops of red throughout for that fun splash of color. From the striped pillows and the plants in the room, to the thoughtfully-selected books on the shelves, it’s always a good idea to not leave the room too neutral-feeling. Have a little fun every now and then playing around with color!
Tip 6: Anticipating a guest’s needs is one of the most important, impressive, and delightful things you can do as a host. Case in point: Guests don’t always like to keep asking for the Wi-Fi password, so solve that issue before it becomes one by having it displayed in their room in an easy-to-find frame. They’ll thank you for the clever touch, and you’ll get bonus points for (almost) thinking of everything.
Tip 7: When choosing the bedding for our guest room, we wanted it to feel luxurious but not too pretentious. Going with the Harley Stripe Reversible Duvet Cover was the perfect fit for this room because it’s so casual, yet elegant-feeling (no seriously, you guys have to feel the linen/cotton blend because it’s amazing). Did we mention it’s reversible
The sheets we chose, the Belgian Flax Linen Sheet Set in Flagstone, feel every bit as comfortable as they look. When choosing bedding for a guest bedroom, it’s important to go pretty neutral; nothing too feminine and nothing too masculine. It’s all about balance, and with Pottery Barn’s choices of duvet covers and sheets, you pretty much can’t go wrong.
Tip 8: The colors you choose in your guest room — or any space, really — can have a powerful effect on how people feel when they stay overnight. Choosing a comforting, neutral color scheme layered with whites, creams, and browns creates a soothing and calming atmosphere where guests are sure to get a good night’s sleep. The linen curtains, white lamp shades, cream colored duvet cover, and brown leather chairs suggest this room is for one thing and one thing only: to slow down and relax.
- “Sleep In” Lumbar Pillow
- Chelsea Bedside Lamps
- Greer Striped Pillows
- Pottery Barn Drapery
- Linen Tapered Drum Lamp Shade
- Harley Stripe Reversible Duvet Cover & Sham
- Belgian Flax Linen Sheet Set in Flagstone
Be sure to follow PJ and Thomas on Instagram at @pjandthomas! #downtothestuds