Santa won’t ask to stay—but your friends and family might. Check out our expert tips for making houseguests feel extra welcome, even if your spare room is a basement futon.
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Full House Bedroom
Photo: Adam Albright
1. Full-length mirror If it’s inside a closet door, be sure to show guests when they arrive.
2. Mood Lighting Wall-mounted reading lamps save space if bedside tables are small. Extra Credit: Hang black-out blinds or curtains.
3. Bedding Layer up with extra blankets and pillows. Extra Credit: Provide pillows of varying densities, Jillian says. She does two soft and two firm.
4. Guest Book If you host often, invite guests to help record the good times.
5. Reading Material Good picks: titles by regional authors, current magazines, or browsable books of quotations or art.
6. Candles Julie lights a candle in the guest room or bathroom a half hour before visitors arrive.
7. Hydration Fill a fresh carafe and set out clean glasses each day.
8. Charging Spots Give each side of the bed an outlet using a double-ended extension cord, Jillian says.
9. Garbage can Easily forgotten, but essential.
10. Wi-Fi Put the password in a can’t-miss-it picture frame. Extra credit: If your guests will be coming and going, this is a good spot for alarm or garage codes, too.
Dress the Dresser
11. Clear Surface Avoid starkness, but leave an empty area for unpacking personal items like a wallet or makeup.
12. Plant Life A bud vase or a potted succulent cheerfully brightens a spare room.
13. Refreshment Tell guests how to use your coffeemaker—or put a single-serve machine in the room. There’s a luxury to coffee in bed, Alex says. Include a local snack or sweet.
14. Hangers “Help guests stay tidy,” Jillian says. Provide a coatrack, pegs or an over-door valet hook. Extra Credit: Unfold a luggage rack, too.
15. Rolling Cart Keep guest supplies stocked on a cart that you can roll out when it’s needed.
16. Essentials Towels, washcloths, tissues, hair dryer, shampoo, and cotton balls and swabs. Julie says, “I like bath sheets to up the level of pampering.”
17. Just-In-Case Extras Fill a basket with the things guests might forget: toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, ibuprofen, razors and other travel-size basics.
18. Small Indulgences Everyone likes to try something new, Alex says. Set out a tempting bottle of body lotion or handmade soap.
19. Adapted Space Even if you don’t have a dedicated guest space (or the house is packed), you can apply many of these tricks. And you can still make a comfy bed, Jillian says. Use a mattress pad on futons or air mattresses. On a sofa, take off the back cushions and use a fitted sheet so it feels more like a daybed.
20. Time to Settle "We're naturally inclined to start visiting right away, but whether guests traveled by plane, car or train, they probably need a little time to catch their breath. Give them an opportunity to settle in before visiting so they can feel more relaxed and at home," says Julie.