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Guest House Design Plans | Cozy Modern Retreat

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Welcome to week two of the One Room Challenge! Today I’m sharing all the details for my guest house design plans. I’m taking this space from a rustic cabin to a cozy modern retreat.

If you’re just joining me, make sure to head back to week one where I showed you all the before photos of our guest house. And be sure to peruse all the participants of this year’s One Room Challenge here.

One Room Challenge Participant

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Guest House Design Plans

As you could probably tell from the before photos of our guest house, it was initially designed as a rustic cabin with knotty pine on almost every surface. The walls, the bathroom ceiling, the stair treads, the bathroom and kitchen cabinets, and even the mantel. It was knotty pine overload!

My goal during this guest house remodel is to transform it into a cozy modern retreat. I love the texture the pine adds to the walls, so I knew that I didn’t want to remove it. Instead, painting it a soft taupe would brighten up the space and be the perfect backdrop for the rest of the design to pop.

Design Inspiration

When I design spaces, I like to look for foundational architectural elements before anything else. This sets the stage for a remodel to feel more timeless and gives room to accommodate style changes in the future.

Taupe shiplap inspiration
Photo Source: Indoors/Outdoors

This beautiful soft color on vertical tongue and groove was my starting point for my design. I ultimately chose Soft Secret for my walls by Behr.

With the wall color decided on, I went next to the ceiling. Decorative ceiling beams have been on my bucket list for years. So, this small space feels like the perfect opportunity to get my feet wet.

I plan to do a combination of contractor hire and DIY on the beams to save some money while making sure they look professional. Stay tuned for that project!

My good friends from Joinery & Design Co. inspired my plans to add ceiling beams. I love how the horizontal beams draw your eye down the room.

Ceiling beams in a modern farmhouse dining room.
Photo & Design Source: Joinery & Design Co.

These two changes to the room will set the stage for a timeless design I can elevate with decor. There are so many talented people who I’ve been inspired by throughout the years, but this space from Whitney Utesch is a wonderful combination of cozy, vintage and modern.

Cozy modern living room.
Photo & Design Source: Whitney from @carpendaughter

I plan to modernize our guest house with sleek, modern furniture while accessorizing it with vintage finds that add character and coziness.

Guest House Plans

Now on to the details! Here is a visual mood board for reference.

Remember, I had a few items that I had to work around due to budget. The first being these red-hued concrete floors.

Guest House Design Plans

A large part of budget renovations is knowing your limits and establishing realistic timeframes and goals. Eventually, those floors will be replaced! However, for now they will have to do.

To be honest, I was going to attempt a DIY on the floors specifically for this project. They “messed with my design”! But then I realized that it may be more helpful to others to see me work around something I don’t love.

Creating a haven takes time and sometimes the design decision that makes the most sense in the long term is to simply be patient and wait.

The Design Details

Let’s break down this visual for those who like the details.

More details will come on the decor elements in the coming posts! Make sure to subscribe to the blog to stay up to date on all the projects I’ll be tackling in our guest house.

Guest House Design Plans Mock Up

To get a better feel for the space, let’s take a look at these mock ups. Disregard the colors and patterns. They are close, but not exact. These design plans are simply for layout and spacing!

I love using a 3D rendering of the space to get a feel for layout and flow. This rendering is from Planner 5D and it helped me visualize the breakdown of the living area and dining space.

Guest house rendering

You can also see the partitioned portion where the bathroom exists. I have plans to update that space as well since the sliding door is typically open and it is visible from the entire room.

3D Guest house design plans

This is a 500 sq ft space that is entirely open. For that reason, the design needs to be cohesive for each zone of the room while still being distinguishable and different.

The one visual I didn’t capture in my renderings is the ceiling beams. But I have a feeling they will be worth the wait to see in real life!

3D Rendering of a guest house.

Seeing the side by side of 3D and 2D renderings is always fun too. I love how the 3D from Planner 5D brings it to life!

Guest House Project List

Let’s wrap up with a quick recap of what this project entails. Over the next 6 weeks I’ll be sharing all of these projects with you on Instagram and the blog!

  • Paint Throughout
  • Refinish Fireplace Mantel
  • Budget Bathroom Makeover (Including “new” countertop!)
  • Resurface Kitchen Countertop
  • DIY Coffee Table (already complete and linked here)
  • Budget Dining Table Makeover
  • How to Hide a Wall Heater (fingers crossed this works!)
  • Furniture & Decor

Planner 5D – Floor plans and interior design

Make sure to follow along to see how the fireplace turns out next week!

Stay Connected

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today! I hope these guest house design plans get you excited for the remainder of this project!

One Room Challenge Update

The project is complete! If you missed the 8 week process, catch up with the links below!

Sarah Signature
Guest House Design Plans


  1. Such a beautiful design Sarah! Love the sofas and rug. I’m working with some aspects of my room that I cannot change either, and I think it adds to the challenge. Can’t wait to see it come together!

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