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, 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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Guest Room Makeover

Travel Theme

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 vintage travel posters, similar to the retro Disney posters I have in this room and other areas of my home.

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

Related: See my modern cat-themed guest room

Warm Yellow Colors

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

First I painted it blue, but the color wasn’t working. So a year later I started to paint over it in yellow, and then I had second thoughts about that, too.

Finally I decided to go with a safe vanilla white paint. But I did allow myself a splash of yellow color in the guest room closet.

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.

Travel-themed guest room with writing desk and lamp

The white paint is a nice backdrop for the yellow accessories throughout the room.

Related: Discover the best neutral paint colors

Cork Flooring

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

"Harmony" style cork flooring

I considered retro vinyl tile, but ultimately I went with a floating cork floor. Not only is it a warm color, but cork also acts as an insulator to help warm up the basement.

Read More: All about cork flooring

Retro Accessories

Time to add some yellow. The etched grid drapes bring out the yellow colors of the duvet and add to the retro feel of the room.

Read More: Where to find mid-century modern curtains

I refinished the mid-century nightstand and painted the inside cubby…the perfect spot for a stack of travel books. And on top of the nightstand, this little modern lamp is handy for bedside reading.

In the opposite corner of the room, I added this restored mid-century desk and desk lamp. Above the desk, I hung this retro Portland poster and some scenic paintings by my great grandma.

Mid-century desk in travel-themed guest room

Read More: How to refinish a wood desk

The room is filled with eclectic art, including a gallery wall of Disney travel posters, family hand-me-downs and Etsy finds.

And every room needs cats.

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:

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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