Southern Hospitality

Hopefully, as things begin to open, we will have friends visit us again. If you are not prepared and did not freshen your guest room yet there is still time to appear the hospitable host. In the world of decorating we are creating environments that comfort people, change their mood, and provide enjoyment in everyday life. So then decorating and hospitably are similar. Webster’s dictionary defines hospitably as; generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests. Many of my clients start their hospitality journey with a fabulous guest room. “I want them to feel like they are in Florida!” is the request that I hear often. Let’s take a look at two guest rooms that will make you feel wrapped in the Florida sun, and maybe if you are lucky, a little sandy grit between those toes somewhere in the heart of The Villages.

• Dual purpose Gardenia I always tell my clients to remember that they live here year round so use your entire house!
If you don’t want to sacrifice an entire room as a guest room, then I would make it a dual purpose room. The first model is a gardenia and the front bedroom has three bay windows. This room is perfect for a dual purpose space. This room is very bright and thanks to the three bay windows the room feels very large. I like this room as dual purpose because this room is too big to sacrifice to guests who may or may not come two times a year. I always tell my clients to remember that they live here year round so use your entire house!

• Pullout couch
It is possible to buy a comfortable pull out couch! They are a bit pricey but well worth the investment. This sofa allows the homeowner to sit comfortably on the sofa and watch the Hallmark Channel when the other homeowner wants to watch the news. We added an ottoman incase the homeowner wanted to put up their feet. If company comes the ottoman is stored by the TV and the sofa pulls out. The mattress automatically fills with air to create a comfortable bed.

• Two chairs
We placed two chairs in the nook of the bay window to round out the seating area. This room is great for book club meetings and Skyping as well! When the bed is out the guests have two chairs they could sit in if they needed too.

• 5’x8’ statement rug
A 5’x8’ rug is perfect for this space. The couch has a subtle two color pattern so we needed to be careful that our choices did not conflict with the sofa. We decided to use a palm leaf rug of green, blue and crème. The rug makes a statement and says, “You’re in Florida!”

• Side tables and Lamps
The side tables are simple round tables with a bottom shelf. We decided to place two starfish lamps made of bronze in the space. The shades are creamy with a hint of gold. The bronze starfish adds seaside elegance to the space.

• Artwork
We needed something that reinforced the seaside Florida feeling and the homeowner chose a soft beach sunset. I like the way the sand and the light in the picture work well with the starfish lamps and darker tables in the space.

• TV Console
Across from the sofa we added a console for a TV and attached the TV to the wall.
This space is inviting and easy to use as well.

• Bright Bonifay guest room
This model is a Bonifay and the guest room was specifically designed for the Florida fun, function, and color! We started with the wall color Rainwashed 6211 which is a green based blue. This wall color looks blue when dry but is neutral and goes with any color so we decided to pop the coral color as an accent.

• Art
It all started with the art. The homeowners chose, “Life’s a Beach” by Gene Rizzo and it is perfect above the bed. The picture has lots of palm trees and two coral adirondack beach chairs looking out toward the water. This picture is pure Florida!

• Bedding
We created our own bed set from a local retailer. We started with a white cotton washable coverlet as the base bedding. We purchased the palm coverlet and shams together as a set. Since we were highlighting the coral color we purchased two solid coral
Euro pillows (large square pillows) to place against the head board to pop the coral. The standard shams that came with the set were placed in front of the coral Euro pillows and the combination is very eye catching. We placed a fourth pillow at the front and center of the standard shams with an embroidered saying that, “Friends are like seashells we collect along the way.” Finally, we folded the printed coverlet over at the base of the bed to serve as the final pop of color. I like using the printed coverlet as a decoration because I don’t want it to be used for sleeping. Printed coverlets fade with washing and I like to keep the colors new and bright looking. The white coverlet is for use while sleeping and again, it is washable.

• Tall mirror and bench
This is a trick that I like for most dedicated guest rooms. Often guests need a place to place their luggage and the bench serves that purpose. They can fold out their suitcase and get to their clothing much easier than using a luggage valet rack. Also, the large mirror allows more space for putting on makeup and blow drying hair, which frees up the bathroom faster.

• TV on the wall
We only had room for one night stand and one lamp beside the bed. To add more storage and surface area to us we used the second nightstand under the TV. We mounted the TV on the wall and the second night stand can be used for whatever is needed in the space.

• Window
We added long white flowing drapery panels to soften the window and reinforce the coastal tropical feeling of the space.

• Floor
We angled a 5′ x 8′ sea-grass rug on the floor to add texture and softness when toes hit the floor.

P.S. –Attention all club presidents! We give free decorating seminars. It is lots of fun and very informative. Call and schedule your club today. Also, we are on-line check out our web-site at and you can always e-mail us at or Call Ruth your full service decorator at 352-804-2056.

Before and After Pics Below