Retro Travel-Themed Decor for a Basement Guest Room

Do you have one of those musty basement rooms that you’d love to use as a guest room someday, if only it was a little less scary-college-dorm and a little more cozy-B & B? I had one of those rooms.

It took some time to get it in shape and ready for guests. And not a minute too soon, either, since I entertained seven house guests over a span of five weeks this summer.

It’s a lot of fun to welcome your loved ones to an inviting room, complete with the amenities they need and a few surprising extras. Here’s what I did and how you can whip your basement guest room into shape.

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I wish more places had themes. Restaurants, towns, strip malls…everything is better with a delightful theme. Especially guest rooms.

I came up with the travel theme when I discovered this pretty duvet cover. The design has old retro travel posters, similar to the retro Disney posters I have in this room and other areas of my home.

Fun retro travel poster bedding

While it costs a little more than I would usually spend on a duvet, I decided to splurge on this item since the bed is the focal point of this room, I love the yellow color, and I just fell in love with the retro look of this duvet.

Related: See my modern cat-themed guest room


This guest room had an identity crisis for a while as I explored different wall color options.

I really wanted a bright blue room. And I wanted it to be cohesive with my modern lodge style house. Turns out I couldn’t have both, but I didn’t know that until after covering the walls in bright blue paint and living with it for over a year.

Every time I came down to the basement and peered into this room I felt pangs of regret. The color just didn’t belong in my mostly neutral colored home.

Testing paint colors in my retro guest room

After a while I worked up the energy to repaint this room. I thought maybe a yellow pop of color would look nice and tie in with the duvet I had picked out. One yellow wall later and I could sense that I was heading toward another year regretting another color. No way am I doing that twice.

So I stopped and decided to be boring and just go with white. Sometimes boring is a good thing when you don’t want to pull your hair out with stress. And it’s great for a guest room, since it gives you flexibility to easily change a room’s accessories or style without having to repaint.

Retro yellow paint in guest room closet

I did allow myself a yellow pop of color in the guest room closet. Opening this closet and seeing the warm yellow puts a smile on my face. Plus, now it will be easy to add yellow accessories to match the duvet, complemented by the white paint color, without overwhelming the room.

My new rule: all future wall colors have to come from one of the paint colors I’m already using. I use four neutral shades and four colors. Really that’s too many but at least I eliminated the bright blue. Baby steps.

Related: Discover the best neutral paint colors


Like many basement floors, this one is made of old, stained, cracked, dingy cement. Some cement floors do well with a polish and come out looking beautifully, but I really wanted this room to have a warmer look.

After painting my craft room floor, I decided to do the same thing in the guest room. These two rooms are right next door to each other, so I figured this would help me keep the house cohesive. The beige floor color comes from my palette, and it warms up these basement rooms.

You can check out how I painted the floor in my craft room makeover. The hardest part is waiting for the paint to dry, but overall it’s really fun to paint floors, and it gives a huge facelift to a basement room.


Retro art for guest room

Time to add some yellow. Eric found this retro art on Etsy and I gave it a frame. The mid-century style drapes bring out the yellow colors of the duvet and add to the retro feel of the room. A brown rug cozies up the room so guests don’t have to step onto a cold cement floor in the morning.

Retro yellow grid drapes

I made an IKEA trip for the simple walnut bed and used one of my extra Kallax cubbies as a nightstand. These are nice because you can stick books, towels and extra blankets in the cubby holes.

The little modern lamp on the nightstand is one of my favorite accessories. It is lightweight and made of polyresin, so just don’t order it expecting a heavy wood product. But it is cute as a button and works for me.

Then of course, twinkle lights. This might veer away from the mid-century modern aesthetic, but basement rooms just NEED twinkle lights.

Related: See the ultimate guide to mid-century modern decor

Final Touches for Your Basement Guest Room

When your guest room is all ready, add special finishing touches to make your houseguests feel welcome.

Setting out toiletries in guest room

Roll up a couple towels and washcloths, set out your favorite hotel toiletries and throw in a bottle of champagne.

Maybe it’s even time to open that B & B business you’ve been thinking about. Make sure to invite me over.

How to Make a Basement Guest Room Work

More ideas for your guest room:

Guest Room Makeover


6 thoughts on “Retro Travel-Themed Decor for a Basement Guest Room”

  1. It is an awesome, inviting guest room! I love the warm yellow touches and the nostalgic Disney posters! (The duvet is also a wondful find) You did a great job of making it a welcoming room for your guests!!

  2. That guest room looks cozy and relaxing. I love the travel theme! Nice job. Can’t wait to see pix of the cat themed room. 😉


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