The holiday season is here, often bringing overnight guests.
Hosting requires planning, energy, patience and a great attitude, as well as sometimes being a space engineer. Not everyone has an extra bedroom or two, a designated guest bathroom or even a furnished basement with a Murphy bed, pull-out couch or air mattress. Moreover, many homeowners don’t understand what makes a guest room most comfortable and worth a return visit unless they’ve been a guest themselves. That’s why some hosts test-drive their accommodations with an overnight stay to see how well the space performs.
Here are suggestions from design pros for what helps turn your guest room into a space that guests may never want to leave.
Think hotel style, if you have a separate bedroom. The best guest bedrooms are rooms inspired by a luxurious hotel suite. The room has a door for privacy and an adjacent bathroom. This way, guests don’t feel they’re intruding on their host’s privacy.
“There’s nothing more special than being shown to your room, which makes you feel pampered from the second you place down your bag,” said Sam Allen, a Westport, Conn.-based designer.
• A comfortable bed should have beautifully ironed or no-iron, crisp sheets, said Allen, plus plump pillows, soft blankets, quilt or duvet.
• Empty some drawers, and fill them with sachets of fresh lavender or another pleasant scent, and empty out a closet and line the rod with lots of hangers. Making a robe available in the closet or on the back of a door hook is a nice touch, Allen said.
• A table at the right height for the bed should be kept fairly bare except for a vase of fresh flowers, a good reading lamp (or hang one on the wall), a clock and a carafe for water and a glass, Allen said.
• A cozy club chair tucked into a corner creates a little sitting area for guests to have coffee, read or even take a nap if it’s paired with an ottoman.
• A TV with a guide to local channels helps raise the bar on the room’s comfort level.
• A luggage rack helps guests avoid bending and getting a bedspread dirty when they unpack, said designer Barbara Elliott, who co-owns a Decorating Den franchise, Sisters and Co., in Stone Mountain, Ga.
• Make your Wi-Fi code easily accessibly by leaving it and the password in a pretty notebook with a pen in the room, advised Allen.
• Area guidebooks and maps are another nice touch, so guests can learn about an area and even sightsee on their own. You get free time then, too.
If you don’t have a separate room, pretend you do. Many homeowners, especially those in expensive metropolitan and suburban areas, don’t have the luxury of an extra room, and don’t want to give up their bedroom for guests. You can still make them feel welcome. If you don’t have a sleep sofa, a traditional sofa or day bed or air mattress can be made up at night quite comfortably with proper bedding. If you go one of these routes, improve the experience:
• Clear out a closet in the room or nearby.
• Make room in a nearby bathroom for their toiletries, and add some more in a pretty basket just in case they forgot a toothbrush and other essentials.
• Pile on some extra amenities to compensate for the lack of a designated space with flowers, a stack of magazines, a favorite book and bedtime chocolates.
In the end, what’s most important is that hosting isn’t really about the space you can offer but showing you’re delighted that guests have come to spend time together.