Guest house tour: Furnished for $2,900

One of my biggest joys in this move has been decorating the guest house! My in-laws and I did quizzes through Skype to find their style, and fortunately for me it was easy because they like bright, white and simple. Perfect! Me too!

I would say the style of the guest house is reigned-in coastal — beachy, but subtle. My color palette was white, gray and bleached wood. My budget was under $3,000 for everything.

I did not want this special space to be a haven of hand-me-downs. There is nothing wrong with used, nothing wrong with free, but I wanted this space to be thoughtfully curated. That meant saying no thank you to some free offers and resisting the temptation to put my leftovers in it.

It’s a special place and it deserves special attention! You can read my in-laws’ story of trial and sacrifice to understand why this house means so much.

our florida guest house


This is the view of the guest house from our house. The way the houses are positioned make them feel private, as they don’t look out at each other — from the front or the back. I’m itching to paint both of the brown houses white, but that’s a project for down the road. Or this summer.

Florida landscaping

white living room and dining area in one

Living room

This living room already had perfect built-ins that puts the TV around the corner so the big black box is not the first thing you see. Whoever designed the house took great consideration and extra steps in the design. It has a vaulted ceiling and large windows that make a big difference in the small space. The smart layout efficiently fits three bedrooms and two baths in less than 1,100 square feet.

Gray and white living room tour
Inexpensive and neutral artwork
Small built in for tv on an angle
Ikea tray, candle and flowers for simple coffee table styling
Macrame pillow and rattan chair
Built in shelf styling white and natural
Gray and white rug from Urban Outfitters

Tufted rug: Urban Outfitters $149 | Couch: Ikea $499 | Throw: Ikea $13 | Tray: Ikea $8 | Striped pillows: Home Goods $24 for 2 | Wood art: Ross Dress for Less $40 | Seagrass baskets: Marshalls $7 each | Square baskets: Ikea $15 each | Rattan chair: Ikea $100 | Macrame pillow: Marshalls $15 | Coffee table: Ikea $25 | Greenhouse: Ikea $19 | Lavendar: Home Goods $12 | Ottoman: Ikea $69

• Living room costs = $987

(I already had the square baskets, frames, small succulents and standing lamp.)

Making the most of small living spaces

Dining and kitchen

The dining area and living area share the same space, so I chose a small gate leg table that can easily collapse. I put an indoor/outdoor rug under the table because the flooring is carpet. It’s no fun to clean food off carpet and kids are messy!

Small white kitchen on a budget

small all white kitchen and bar area
Big picture window in kitchen with bistro set
Light and bright small living space
White combined living and dining space

Dining table: Ikea $179 | Dining chairs (6): Ikea $49 each | Bar stools (3): Ikea $50 each | Indoor/outdoor rug: Ikea $89 | Pitcher: Marshalls $12 | Bistro table: Ikea $129 | Chair cushions (2): Ikea $10 each

• Dining and kitchen costs = $873

(I already had the bar stools and blue bowl.)

HEMNES Shoe cabinet with 4 compartments in entryway


Here is the shoe cabinet I won’t shut up about. It takes up very little space, is very functional with a spot to store shoes by the front door and provides a resting spot for keys. It makes it feel like more of an entry, instead of just walking into the living room. This one is a winner. Take a look from the side:

HEMNES Shoe cabinet take up little space
HEMNES Shoe cabinet works great in entryway
Shoe cabinet in entry has counterspace for bowl and keys

Sea and sky print: House Mix Etsy shop $5 | Frame: Ikea $13 | Shoe cabinet: $99 | Small rugs (2): Ross Dress for Less $13 each | Vase: Dollar Tree

• Entryway costs = $139

(I already had the bowl and the print. I cut the palm leaves from a tree in the yard.)

White gray and bleached wood bedroom

Master bedroom

I love the cozy and bright feel in the master bedroom. The nightstands were a great deal on TJ Maxx online (yes, you can buy online now!) and really make the room. And I think that I need a couple of rattan chairs over at my house too. That’s how much I love Lina and Dario — I didn’t steal them for myself, haha!

As you might know, I don’t understand why nightstands, lamps and throw pillows are so pricey (a racket, I tell you!), and here they all are in one spot. I got great deals, but boy did I have to search. My boys and I were on inexpensive lamp patrol for so long that Luca still points out cool lamps. Actually he found the lamps in the guest bedroom! Attaboy.

driftwood nightstand from TJ Maxx online
Natural and bright bedroom decor
striped linen pillows
IKEA black hermnes dresser
bedroom dresser styling
Framed photos on bedroom dresser
Small bathroom in master bedroom

Bedspread: Amazon $39 (of course they’re out of white right now!) | Nightstands: TJ Maxx online $79 each (sorry, sold out) | Pillow: Marshalls $13 | Throw: Home Goods $17 | Lamps (2): Ross Dress for Less $30 | Rug: Ross $14 | Rattan chair: Ikea $100 | Dresser: Ikea $249 | Sheets: Marshalls $25 | Bed frame: custom

• Master bedroom costs = $675

(I already had the bed and things on the dresser.)

white and blue guest bedroom

Guest bedroom

There are two more bedrooms. One will be a guest room and the other is their office. I kept things very simple here and opted for all white and only one piece of art. I tied in the blue from the canvas to the lumbar pillow. Luca made an awesome find with these lamps. I love the wood detail.

ocean canvas from costco
Blue lumbar pillow and white lamp with wood detail

Bedspread: Amazon $39 (of course they’re out of white right now!) | Nightstands (2): Ikea $50 | Lumbar pillow: Home Goods $20 | Lamps (2): Home Goods $30 each | Ocean canvas 40×60″: printed at Costco $279 | Sheets: Marshalls $25

• Guest bedroom costs = $144

(I already had the ocean canvas, nightstands and bed.)

white office with large window


Ok, so I didn’t do anything in this room. We had this desk at our last house and Dario actually requested it. I ended up ordering this office chair for $34. He has lots of pictures and I thought this would be the perfect room to hang them. There is even a chair rail that can act as an ending point for them.

outdoor lanai with screen and lights


We had this settee and my mom gave me the tables. My aunt bought the rug as a gift and my mom bought the lanterns, string lights and side table from Five Below for $5 each!

It’s such a gift that their house came with a screened in lanai. When I think about the first house we made an offer on (that I told you about here) that didn’t even have a guest house, my head spins. What were we thinking? We would be talking to contractors and trying to break ground about now. Whew. Fortunately God knew better and closed that door for us.

These are some of the garden beds Dario will surely enjoy. But he hasn’t even gotten to the fun stuff yet. He has spent every day so far organizing the garage and shed! Today he oiled the teak table in his down time from organizing. Haha!

It’s funny because he and I sometimes stand around in the garage looking for things for whatever project we each have going on and telling each other where we saw the hammer or paint last. We’re both cheap and like organizing, so we get along great.

garden beds in florida


I ordered almost everything for the house from IKEA. I made one huge order and they deliver now for $39! It costs more for us to drive to the nearest IKEA in gas that that, not to mention borrowing or renting a truck. Delivery took a few weeks.

Not only are IKEA’s prices unbeatable, but it helps me to order things online so I can visually see what they look like together. The house is a little under 1,100 square feet, so I chose to included pieces that can mix and match throughout the house.

Making the most of small living spaces

For example, the two chairs at the bistro match the four chairs at the dining table so that six chairs can be at the dining table or three chairs at the bistro and so on. The two indoor/outdoor rattan chairs sit right now in the bedroom and in the living room, but they can be moved outside for additional seating or both around the coffee table.

ikea planning setup

In order to maintain consistency here, I stuck to a color palette of white, gray and bleached wood. Pops of color in flowers or pillows would be a welcome addition and easily switched out for a fun change.

boxes of ikea furniture ready to be put together
putting together ikea furniture

I put everything except the bedroom dresser together myself! Hopefully one day at dinner someone’s chair won’t all of a sudden collapse to the floor or the arm won’t fall off the couch. I only had a few screws left over, so it should be good.

Inexpensive quick fixes for big impact

A wreath and new door handle are easy updates that make a big difference

I added a wreath to the front door to make it feel more welcoming. And I changed out the door handle. The old handle was weather-worn and covered in calcium deposits. I wanted to make a good first impression at the front door.

Update kitchen cabinet pulls for easy update

I also changed out the brass cabinet pulls for silver ones. It was instantly updated for $2 a piece. I used the same pulls in both bathrooms as well for consistency.


Home tour and reveal

No tour, just the reveal

Instagram @housemixblog pic

Come follow along on Instagram. I share lots of tips and projects in the works in Instastories. Check the story highlights for how our playroom and office are coming along!

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Small house furnished cheaply - guest house tour - Ikea

13 thoughts on “Guest house tour: Furnished for $2,900

  1. So beautiful! I just got caught up on everything, and watched the video tour and reveal. So precious to see their reactions and think about what it all means for them and your family. Thank you for taking the time to share!

  2. Haha! Yes, 1,100 square feet. Glad I don’t have to clean the other 9,900 square feet! Thank you :)

  3. Jenny, you are so sweet and thoughtful. Thank you for taking the time to comment and be a part of things with us. xo

  4. “LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL”!! What a splendid work you and Marcello did with the house! My goodness, you kept mentioning your blessings, remember – God can do so much with little! My word you have been so Holy Spirit guided in your shopping. Everybody looks so happy and the parents, oh, I felt for Lina and I so loved when your father came and hugged you. They are beautiful people!! I loved the photo when Lina pulled your son to her side, perfect. I am so happy for all of you, may God bless you all richly, may His blessings be upon you. The garden looks so smart as you walked to the cottage, my, how you have been blessed. I loved to see your Mom came to welcome them as well. Wow, what a journey this has been so successful. Go well with the blessings of the Lord, looking forward to more good news in the next Newsletter, chow.

  5. This was so great! I actually felt the love put into this space just from reading. Thank you for sharing! (And thank you for sharing the inside of the shoe cabinet lol)
    -toyamon from IG :)

  6. Thank you, Montoya! You’re the sweetest! And I’m so happy I thought to open the shoe cabinet and snap a shot ;)

  7. Well now I am sitting here crying! What a beautiful moment for your family. Thank you for sharing with us.

  8. So lovely! You are inspiring me to get decorating on my house. We have been here for 6 months already and are not nearly as far!!

  9. Awwww thank you for following along with us, Kate! It means a lot when someone takes a moment to send a note. Thank you!

  10. Hi Tracy! I know, it takes time! I did there’s fast because I wanted to surprise them with it. I think it was almost easier to start from scratch too, you know?

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