Décor dilemma: Convert a home office into a guest room

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Need help converting a home office into a guest room? You ask – we find the answers.

The problem

Moira Strydom of Roodepoort writes: We have a home office (it was a double garage in a previous life) but now it’s become a dumping ground for anything that won’t fit in the house. I’d like to repurpose it as a guest room; it has an attached bathroom and I was thinking of bringing in a bed with two bedside tables and a chair or two. I also want to change up the lighting and use blue as an accent colour. What do you think?

The solution

Jenny Collins of Red Cat Design replies: Making the most of this space will definitely add value to your home. Here are some things to consider:


If you have the space, buy two threequarter beds that can be used separately or made up as a king-size bed. Use crisp white linen and introduce shades of soft blue and green in the form of scatter cushions and a textured throw at the foot of the bed. A deep-buttoned upholstered headboard in a light blue will add comfort and a touch of luxury. A pair of simple floating shelves or butler trays in white or a light wood will work well as bedside tables (MRP Home has affordable options).


Try a bedside lamp with a satin chrome or glass base and a patterned lampshade that incorporates shades of blue and green. Replace the curtain rod with one in satin chrome and hang new curtains in a textured white, blue or green fabric or a printed fabric that combines these shades. The light fitting can easily be replaced with an attractive pendant or chandelier. If you prefer something simpler, downlights are unobtrusive but they have to be installed by an electrician. Add a large rug to ‘warm up’ the tiles and place a comfy chair in one of the corners. Finish off by hanging pretty pictures in light wooden frames, install a mirror (ideally full-length) and add a plant for a touch of greenery. 


I suggest a crisp white base with blue and green accents. This welcoming and tranquil palette is ideal for guests in need of a break. Create a blank canvas by painting the doors, cornices and ceilings white and the walls a warm off-white. Remove the bookshelves and low cupboard but keep the large cupboard and add a hanging rail. Guests can keep their clothes there and you can use it to store linen and towels. Paint it white and be sure to use the correct primer if it’s made of melamine; we suggest Plascon Tile & Melamine Primer or Dulux Supergrip. Alternatively, simply paint it with Tjhoko Paint. Then replace the handles; satin chrome knobs will work perfectly.

In the bathroom

Paint the wooden vanity white and replace the dark wooden toilet seat with a white one to update and lighten the room. Also consider replacing the towel rails and toilet roll holder with satin chrome and the existing curtains with white slatted blinds or a fabric Roman blind to echo your palette. Add a soft bathmat and thick towels in blues and greens. Complete the look with prints in white frames, a large mirror behind the vanity, and a vase of fresh flowers on the basin.

CONTACT: Red Cat Design  

Sketches: Eugene Human 

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April 2023

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