When you're going to stay with someone, especially over Christmas, what do you hope to find in the spare room? We asked interior designer and florist Willow Crossley to tell us how she gets her spare room ready for guests and she shared her top tips, from flowers (of course) to the right pillow.

'More and more I’m really getting into trying to make it as lovely an experience for people, there was a stage when the babies were really little where everything felt just huge, but now I’m getting a bit more sleep and I’m really enjoying making it lovely and cosy and welcoming. I would always try to put some nice magazines because, to me, reading a magazine is the height of luxury. Obviously lovely clean linen, bed throws and towels and a good selection of books. You just want to nurture people and make sure they have a really good sleep and be cosy.'


'I love cosy but it has to be light, I can’t bear dark which here is often quite difficult because it is a farmhouse and there are certain times of day when it’s not quite night, it’s teatime and it’s so dark and it does something to me, I don’t like it at all, I need light. I love the new barn at Soho Farmhouse, the furniture, the lighting and everything, it’s light and colourful and uplifting.'

Flowers, Always

'I’ll always put flowers in a room which at Christmas time is often trickier than at other times of the year. So I’d do a little potted cyclamen in a lovely old terracotta pot. Or hellebores - at that time of year I adore them.'

Cosy Time

'This house is quite old so I have to make sure it’s warm for visitors, especially people from London who are horrified by the temperature!'

Comfort Is Key

'A really good duvet and pillows are essential. Everyone who sleeps in our spare room says "I don’t know what you’ve done to that bed, it’s so comfy" – that’s really important. There’s nothing worse when you go to someone’s house and they’ve got a terrible rubber pillow!'

Keep It Real

'I love natural materials for any house, whether it's in the city or the country. That’s what makes me feel comfortable. Natural materials age better and they look so beautiful as they age, like linen, the more you wash it and use it, the better it looks and feels.


'What would I give an unexpected guest? One of my vases, my secateurs? Only if I love them a lot! I have a present drawer. It’s one of my favourite things, giving presents, it makes me really excited. What’s in the drawer? Little tokens for times like if I’m going to stay with someone. Delicious soaps, books – I love giving books – and stationery. I’m obsessed with stationery. I love making things like pots of plants wrapped in a lovely bow, or you can’t beat a bunch of flowers as a present. I try and get the boys to make cookies, we did that once and they ate them! I think more and more people are going back to this homemade, de-teching thing – I’m into that slow thing. In a dream world I do everything by hand. I love writing to people I gave everyone notecards for Christmas – you can design notecards – so I did a lot of that for people.'

Soho Farmhouse

Enjoy a winter escape in one of the cosy cabins at Soho Farmhouse, deep in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside.