You’d like to make some upgrades to your home before the holiday guests arrive, but you’ve run out of time to add that extra room or build a wet bar in your basement. No worries – there are some nifty gadgets out there that make it easy to turn your home into an upscale bed-and-breakfast for beloved family and friends. Click through to check out a few of our favorite ideas.
Portable Ice Maker
No ice maker in your fridge? No problem! This year, skip the last-minute trips for cumbersome bags of ice and get a portable ice maker instead. In retail stores and mail order catalogs, we’ve seen small electric units that manufacture and store ice cubes. Rather than making guests reach into a cooler-style ice maker, our favorite models dispense ice by the glass, allowing guests to help themselves without getting their hands cold.
Your guests can enjoy toasty-warm towels after their morning shower with one of various styles of towel warmers on the market. Some are designed like lidded boxes – you place your rolled-up towels inside to warm them up. Other towel warmers are free-standing and operate like towel racks – you hang your towels over them and the warm metal bars heat them. You can also install wall-mounted versions of these same heated racks. Your guests will feel like they’re staying in a four-star hotel.
Old-Fashioned Popcorn Maker
Keep kids entertained and out of your hair with a good old-fashioned movie theater style popcorn popper. Not only do kids get a kick out of watching kernels pop safely inside the popper, but all that munching will keep them quiet – at least for a while. Plant them in front of the TV with a fun holiday movie and you’ve got yourself a festive movie night.
A Better Inflatable Bed
Have a relative who complains about your inflatable guest bed? If you shop around, you’ll see that in the past couple of years, inflatable beds have gotten more sophisticated, and more comfortable. You can even get air mattresses with inflatable headboards, so your guests won’t keep losing their pillows over the edge.
Hot Trays and Heat Lamps
Guest meals are so much easier when you go buffet-style. One way to upgrade your buffet table is with hot serving trays and heat lamps. You don’t have to prowl restaurant supply stores to get them – they’re now available to consumers at manageable prices. Some serving trays are even cordless, allowing guests to circle the table without tripping over a cord.
Hands-Free Soap Dispenser
A hands-free soap dispenser is especially thoughtful when you have older guests with arthritis, like aging parents and grandparents, who may struggle with pump soap bottles. These high-tech soap dispensers dispense hand soap automatically when you place your hands under the sensor.
Frozen Cocktail Machine
Turn your home into Margaritaville with a frozen cocktail-making machine! These specialty blenders make perfect margaritas, daquiris and other frozen beverages by shaving the ice and blending to perfection. Some drink machines even dispense drinks directly into a glass – no pouring necessary.