Guest Rooms: Preparing and Outfitting

Tips to make guests feel at home in whatever space you have
Whether you’re rolling out the red carpet for holiday visitors or welcoming summer guests, a well-prepared guest room routine cuts down on stress and creates ease for both the host and the hosted. You don’t have to have a designated, guests-only room to accomplish this -- just follow a few hospitality principles and everyone will feel at home.
 
Sleeping quarters
  • Start with a comfortable guest bed. A great mattress set is ideal, but the addition of a foam egg-carton topper can smooth out older ones. Quality air mattresses can also be paired with box springs for a simple sleeping space. If you’ll be using a shared space for sleeping quarters, consider options like day beds (which become handy seating in their off hours), Murphy beds for hideaway convenience, and folding beds that store easily in closets while making guests feel at home overnight.
  • Guest Rooms: Preparing and OutfittingTreat guests to quality bedding, including a selection of pillows and an extra blanket or down comforter. Also be sure to have a spare set of sheets handy.
  • Whether the guest room is a private bedroom or bunk in the basement, make sure there’s a side table or cabinet nearby equipped with a convenient reading light, a bit of storage space, and such comforts as a quiet clock and bottled water.
  • Clear a bit of closet space on both the hanging rod and floor so your guest has private storage space. Provide a handful of hangers, and if space allows, add a folding luggage stand that can be used inside the closet or outside in the guest room area.
  • Convenient seating is also welcome in the guest room. Add a small slipper chair, a bench at the foot of the bed, or even a rolling, tufted ottoman where a guest can take a pause.
  • Clear away clutter. That means no obstacles on floors, no personal documents stored in plain sight, and no display of personal collections on surfaces better used for the guest’s gear.
  • Keep the space quiet by oiling any squeaky hinges, stopping drips in nearby bathrooms, and silencing any chiming clocks.
  • Ensure safety by removing area rugs that could trip guests up and placing a flashlight within easy reach.
  • Workable window coverings should be present for both privacy and lighting control.
  • If your guest space permits, provide wired conveniences like a small television, personal coffee maker, and data outlets for laptop use.
  • When it comes to decorating the guest room, keep colors neutral and soothing, and select accessories that add personality without getting too personal (i.e., a display of family photos is a bit much since they’re already seeing plenty of you, but a beautiful landscape shot from your vacation is great for the guest escape). 

 In the bath

  • Guest Rooms:<br />
    Preparing and OutfittingIf you’ve got a powder room with space for expansion, consider installing a compact shower for guest convenience. It’ll also come in handy during busy outdoor seasons when sweaty athletes and muddy gardeners need a cleanup stop on their way back indoors.
  • If you already have a spare guest bathroom or must share a single space, clear the decks so guests feel comfortable about using it. Unclutter surfaces, stow away products that usually stick around in the shower or tub, and make sure an abundance of towels and washcloths is easy to find.
  • Steer clear of heavy scents, because what your nose knows may not be welcome to everyone else’s. Instead, provide a nice selection of soaps, and set out a small vase with a sprig of something seasonal from your garden to add subtle freshness.
  • Fill a small basket with travel-size toiletries and any helpful necessities that travelers tend to forget (new toothbrush, disposable razor, etc.), and place it conveniently on the counter. Also show your guests where they can find the hairdryer in case they need it.
  • Design-wise, its fine to go a little bolder with colors and décor, but keep the guest bath as welcoming and soothing as you can. 
All this advice comes with a very practical warning: Make your guest room and guest bathroom too nice, and your guests may never want to leave!

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