Monday, November 5, 2012

Great Guest Rooms: How To Thoughtfully Host Over Night Visitors

With a little prep and thoughtfulness, your guest room and bathroom
can be as fresh and relaxing as this room filled with tiny, fluffy clouds.
Whether you bring work home and need a dedicated office, need space to sew and craft, prefer working out at home to the gym, or love to entertain and have been dying for a proper guest room, owning your own home gives you the space to do what you need. With the holidays coming up, it's time to start thinking about hosting friends and family. Whether you already own a home and are trying to prepare or are looking for a house and aren't sure what layout and features would lend themselves to regular overnight guests, we have a few tips.

While glamorous gestures like those Martha Stewart suggests make a statement, it might be a bit much for the average homeowner. Most guests understand they are staying in someone's home, not a five star hotel. Their expectations tend to be more on how they can feel comfortable and have a great time without creating too large an imposition. You don't need a bedside table ice bucket to show your guests a good time.  With that in mind,

  • If you have a dedicated guest bathroom, make sure there are fresh bottles of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, razors, q-tips, cotton balls, and other basic grooming essentials, in case your guest has forgotten something or chose to skip packing certain items to get through the airport's liquid restrictions without hassle. 
  • Also stock the guest bath with headache medicine, tampons or pads, medicine for indigestion, and other basic first aid or hygiene items that might be embarrassing for a guest to request.
  • If you are sharing a bathroom with your guests, this is a great time to clean out your bathroom cabinets of any expired products, medications, or other items that are past due. Also clear the bathroom of any items that are overly personal or might be embarrassing if seen by others. It never hurt anyone to whisk away enemas, condoms, lubricant, hemorrhoid cream, or other sensitive products and put them in a private drawer or closet for a few days.
  • Your role as a host or hostess doesn't have to extend so far as catering to your guests' every whim. One of the most thoughtful steps you can take is to provide guests what they need to manage their own comfort without having to pester you. That means stocking the guest room with sheets, blankets, and duvets in varying weights, heavy curtains so they can dictate the level of light they prefer, an alarm clock, a mattress of medium firmness to both back and side sleepers, a variety of soft and firm pillows, reading materials, and even a space heater or fan.
  • Ahead of the visit, ask your guest if they have any food allergies, restrictions or preferences so you can stock the pantry and plan your meals accordingly. Many people can be picky about unexpectedly things, especially at breakfast time. 
  • It can be frustrating for a peckish guest to choose between going hungry and bothering a host to whip something up. To avoid this problem, stock up on snacks and ready-made items. In between meals or if you get up and go to bed at different times your guest can help him or herself to things like fresh salami, cheese, fruit, chips, crackers, hummus, or even heartier appetizers like chicken salad, pimento cheese, potato skins, or buffalo wings.
Simply taking a few thoughtful steps ahead of time to anticipate your guest's needs can go a long way, and will ultimately make them feel more at home and less underfoot than extravagant gestures. What do you do to make a homey guest room?