I come across design challenges all the time, but few have left me scratching my head as much as this one.

Here you see a guest bedroom in my clients’ vacation rental. It’s also their two boys’ bedroom when the family stays in Hawaii.

The space is very large, with lots of natural light from four windows. The challenge? My clients wanted to put in two queen-size beds, not only for their sons, but also to maximize sleep space for potential renters.


I really don’t like to place beds in front of windows. It can make it difficult or even impossible to operate the windows, and I’m not particularly fond of a window becoming part of a headboard.

But in this room, there really weren’t many options. On one wall you had the door, and on the other three were the windows.

I finally decided my only option was to embrace the two windows opposite the door and treat them as a backdrop for the queen beds.


Because these windows didn’t need to be opened and featured no view, the homeowners were fine with treating them as inaccessible. My solution was to add low white wooden headboards and frame the windows with crisp, white panels to give the beds more of a sense of prominence.

I considered creating a new headboard out of a different window treatment, but for a vacation rental a solid headboard is better so people can sit up and read in bed. I also could have blocked off the windows with tall headboards, but the woven screens let in muted natural light and added to the room’s tropical flavor.

Design dilemma solved: The windows tie in with the rest of the room, add another layer of texture and most importantly, help create a sense of harmony and balance.


Cathy Lee is a home style expert, speaker, president and designer of Cathy Lee Style. Her redesigns of residential and business spaces have been featured in local and national publications and on HGTV. For more information and inspiring photos of design projects, visit cathyleestyle.com. And keep up with Cathy’s dream home makeover at her photo blog, Homefront.