As a sort of companion piece to our ways of getting your home ready for the holidays post, I thought I’d do a deeper dive when it comes to extended stays over the holidays. As mentioned in that earlier post, sometimes bad weather or plain old distance can make overnight guests a reality. But, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your guests have to rough it on a blow-up mattress, especially when you’ve got a spare room.
So, what I thought I’d do is to provide a few recommended features to think about when you’re dressing up that guest room in order to make it as comfortable as possible. Some elements are going to be a long-term commitment, which really just goes into increasing the visual impact of your home as a whole. But, I’ve also listed a few features which definitely falls under the “it’s the little things that count” file.
Because, they do.
Here’s the list.
1. Neutral décor
Where some people feel perfectly fine with frilly bed clothes, knick-knacks, and shocking pink, I’d suggest that not everyone does. And since you have a range of people in your life, you’re going to want to make sure that anyone who you invite to stay in your guest room will feel that it’s their room for the brief time they’re staying. This means aiming for the middle of the road, design-wise. This doesn’t mean that the room has to be drab. There is a certain tasteful grace in a minimalist approach. This adds a subtle message of ‘welcome’ to your guests, no matter what their tastes are.
2. Adequate space
This one is vital as well, and limited to your own personal situation where the size of the room is concerned. But the fact is, it’s hard to relax when you don’t have enough space. Ideally, your guest room has enough space for themselves as well as their overnight bags. You also need to make sure that your guests have enough closet space. Even things like empty side table drawers set aside especially for them. Adequate space is a practical consideration. But, it’s also another subtle way of saying to your guests: “we’ve made room for you, and we want you to be comfortable”.
If you expect to have guests overnight, one of the primary goals is that they get a good night’s sleep. The best way to do that is to assess your sleeping accouterments, as it were. This could mean getting a newer, and possibly larger, bed. An investment in a high-quality bed is something of a commitment in the long-term, when you’re envisioning having guests over more often. But, in any case preparing a guest room definitely means having fresh linens, comforters, and pillows on hand when guests arrive, even if you don’t host guests on a regular basis.
4. Window coverings
This aspect has a couple of considerations. First, blinds and curtains should allow your guest to have as much or as little light into the room as possible. After all, some like it very dark when they’re trying to get some shut-eye, while others like a little natural light to filter in. Choose your covering with this in mind. Make sure your window coverings are easily adjustable to suit the range of tastes when it comes to natural light. A second consideration when it comes to guest room window coverings is privacy, which is something that speaks for itself when it comes to feelings of safety and comfort while staying at your house.
To me, the right kind of lighting is vital to how it feels to look into and be in a room. Warm, bedside lighting (as opposed to harsh, cold, overhead lighting) can transform a space. And once again, you want to make sure that your guest feels welcome immediately. Plus, a lot of people like to do a bit of reading before they hit the hay, and bedside lighting is a necessary addition on this front. Speaking of which …
6. Reading material
Now, a lot of people will bring their own. But to me, it’s nice to add books to a space, not only for the practical reason of providing your guests with a bit of quiet mental stimulation before bed, but just because the presence of books adds a unique visual warmth to a space. Volumes of short stories, magazines, travelogues, and even books of photography are great choices for those visitors who are only staying for a short time, and aren’t ready for War & Peace before they go to sleep.
The addition of paintings, wall sculpture, and photography that complement your choice of paint and furnishings can add that touch of personality, too. Art provides aesthetic variation that contributes to the overall effect you’re trying to create. When choosing pieces, think about some classic images and themes that have broad appeal, to ensure that anyone who stays gets that feeling that they belong in the room, and that it’s theirs as long as they’re a guest. Try one or two pieces of modest scale at most to avoid visual clutter.
Sometimes, guests stay because of last-minute circumstances. As such, items like toothbrushes, shaving cream, deodorants, soap, hand towels, face clothes, bath towels, and other useful items kept on hand in the room are great strategies, particularly over the holiday period when weather can take unpredictable turns for the worst.
As someone who’s spent time in guest rooms myself, I have to say that when your guests wake up in your guest room, knowing the time right away at a glance is a great way to orient them and help them plan their day. Also, the option of an alarm clock is a great one, even if your guest has their own on their cellphones. It’s just a nice touch, as is the option of radio, as long as your guest doesn’t wake up to Motörhead at top volume (unless you think they’d like that).
10. Night lights
Now not just for timid children. Night lights can add a positive orienting effect for your guests, and can be of great use when they’re navigating through your house on the way to the bathroom at night. Speaking of which, a night light placed in the bathroom is a good companion strategy, too.
Happy entertaining! And please add your own ideas and comments in the comment section of this post!