The truth is, we don't all have the luxury of deeming a bathroom in our homes as solely for guests. When you have children or a smaller home, all of the bathrooms tend to be used frequently, which means they're likely not clean. In this case, the thought of guests coming through and using your loo is a little bothersome. Instead of doing a complete guest bath makeover each time your friends stop by for coffee, consider a more simplified approach.
(If your guest bathroom is used on a daily basis by actual occupants in your home, like children, store all of their supplies in the vanity or in some type of cabinet (toothbrushes, toothpaste, hair bows, etc.). If your guest bath is the only bathroom in the home with a bathtub, store all of their bath toys in a more natural-toned container vs. bright colored plastic. If you have two tubs, designate the more private tub as the family bathtub.)
Now you're ready to create a welcoming guest bathroom!
1. Choose a few pretty "guest towels" to keep on display. Keep a stock of washed and folded hand towels under the sink; pull a hand towel out when guests are coming.
(If it's too much work to remind your family not to use the display towels, then scratch the idea completely, just make sure you do have a clean hand towel. Likewise, instead of having your children hang their wet towels in the guest bath, add a hook in their bedrooms. )
2. Add a rug, and it doesn't have to be a typical bath mat. A thin mat that can be thrown in the wash is ideal. Choose something that has color and pattern you love.
3. Have a place for trash, preferably something with a foot step that opens and closes. Bathroom trashcans are easy to empty, and you always want a place for your guests to throw their trash.
4. Use shelving in your guest bath as a space to keep pretty trinkets and something that smells refreshing. An essential oil reed diffuser or a candle work great. Light the candle just before your guests arrive, and if you forget that's okay, the fragrance of the candle alone will travel in a small bathroom space.
5. Keep extra toilet paper in an obvious location. This will keep your guests from having to search through your cabinets.
6. Hang some fun artwork, typography, or your favorite kitsch wallpaper. This gives your guests something to look at and adds a bit of personality to the little space.
7. Keep a stock of extra towels, your overnight guests may need more than one towel. Rolled up in a basket works great and looks nice too.
8. Add a statement mirror that flows with the decor of the guest bathroom.
9. Fresh flowers are always a bonus!
10. Keeping plants in your bathroom is always a great idea, given you have enough natural light. Otherwise you can stick to the flowers.
11. Purchase some toiletries that have great packaging and branding, and display them for your guests. If your kids are tempted to use them, keep them high on a shelf or put away in a basket, ready to be pulled out when guests arrive.
In a nutshell, setup your guest bath like we've recommended, and once those guests are on the schedule (or not), you'll simply need to quickly wipe things down, empty the trash, pull out a hand towel, and light a candle; this maybe takes ten minutes. Overnight guests typically give you more warning, and in this case you'll have time to clean the shower/tub.