Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the overnight-guest season, so be sure to get your Guest Room ready for visitors before the frantic pace of the holidays begins. Even if you don’t have a room solely devoted to overnight visitors, you likely have a spot to accommodate guests, be it the pull-out sofa in the den or an extra bed in the ever-popular office/gym/guest room combo so many of us have. Wherever you plan to put them, there are several things you can do to ensure your guests have a comfortable and, dare I say, luxurious stay.
At right-A reading lamp and plenty of pillows will help ensure your visitors have a comfortable stay, and fresh flowers are always a welcoming touch.
The first step to sprucing up your guest quarters is to find out what your guests’ experience is really like. Spend a night in your guest room, and find out just how comfortable – or uncomfortable – the space is. I just did this for several months with my newborn baby, so my husband could get a full night’s sleep (I am a very, very good wife). To my horror, I discovered that the mattress was as hard as a rock, the pillows were limp, and the blankets weren’t nearly warm enough. If you’re having trouble falling asleep with a newborn baby and three hours of shut-eye, you know your bed is in bad shape. After a few miserable nights, I made it my mission to turn our Office/Guest Room into a super comfy, if small, space to stay the night.
[blockquote class=blue]Wherever you plan to put them, there are several things you can do to ensure your guests have a comfortable and, dare I say, luxurious stay.[/blockquote]When making up a bed for your guests, be sure to start with a good mattress.
If you have a pull-out sofa, futon, or just a hard mattress that you are not planning to replace, invest in a memory foam mattress topper or a synthetic featherbed to layer under your fitted sheet. Even an inexpensive egg-crate mattress cover can make a big difference! I recommend a mattress topper for inflatable mattresses too, as well as using a rug pad underneath to prevent the bed from sliding across wood floors every time your guest gets in or out of it. Next, make sure you have two good quality standard-sized sleeping pillows for each guest. I recommend a synthetic fill so any allergy-prone visitors can sleep in comfort. Macys and Bloomingdales often offer great sales and have dozens of pillows to try out in their home-goods departments. In addition to your standard blanket and coverlet, be sure to place an extra blanket or throw at the foot of the bed for guests who tend to be cold – like me!
Lighting is also critical in ensuring your visitors have a comfortable stay. There should be a proper reading lamp for each person in bed. If space is limited, try a wall-mounted lamp or even a cheap, plastic clip-on light you can temporarily clamp onto a headboard or nearby piece of furniture. It’s also important to make sure there is adequate lighting to find one’s way to the bathroom if it’s not an ensuite. If you don’t plan to leave the hall light on, place a few nightlights in the hall and bath to prevent your guests from banging about in the dark during midnight trips to the loo.
Though it’s natural to want your Guest Room to look pretty and stylized, this is one case in which it’s more important to have clear spaces for your guest’s things. Make sure there is an empty tabletop or dresser on which to place a suitcase. If there aren’t any spots for a suitcase on the furniture, use a luggage rack or even a TV tray as a spot for an overnight bag. Clear some hanging space in the closet and provide extra hangers. If there isn’t a closet, install a hook on the back of the door and place some hangers there. For even more hanging space, The Container Store offers an overdoor valet rod that acts as an instant closet and can be stowed out of sight when guests have left.
[blockquote class=blue]Once you have the basics taken care of, it’s fun to shower guests with a few extra touches. Fresh flowers make everyone feel welcome – even a single stem in a bud vase feels luxurious to the weary traveller. [/blockquote]
These days it’s also considerate to provide guests with an easily accessible, empty outlet to re-charge their phones, laptops, and tablets. If all of your outlets are in use or are hidden behind furniture, consider an extension cord or powerbar to ensure guests can re-charge their electronics without having to move a dresser or unplug a lamp. Since most people use their phone as a timepiece and alarm clock, providing some sort of outlet near the bed is ideal.
Once you have the basics taken care of, it’s fun to shower guests with a few extra touches. Fresh flowers make everyone feel welcome – even a single stem in a bud vase feels luxurious to the weary traveller. A
bottle of water or pretty carafe and drinking glass are always appreciated after a long journey. Set out some reading material you know your guest would like; magazines, a collection of short stories, or books about the area are all great bedtime reads. Provide a few brochures of area attractions and a train schedule to Grand Central. A luxurious hand cream, sample-sized shower products in a pretty
basket, a fancy chocolate on the pillow — anything you might find when checking into a nice hotel – are all thoughtful touches sure to delight your guests.
[blockquote class=blue]Kitty Burruss is an interior designer and author of The Westchester Decorator design blog. For more inspiring ideas for your Guest Room, visit WestchesterDecorator.blogspot[/blockquote]