Preparing your home for house guests can be a very enjoyable experience. There's something satisfying about helping your visitors feel welcome and comfortable.
When you start to plan your guest room, think about what you'd expect to find in a 5-diamond hotel and try to make your room measure up to that standard. Your budget may not be enough to create a getaway oasis, but you can clear the decks, lay out all the necessities, and provide a quiet place to relax.
Read on for a comprehensive list of things to do or buy to help you set up a welcoming guest room for your visitors.
Provide a Comfortable Bed
Don't give your guests the oldest, saggiest mattress you have. If you can't afford a new or good used bed, think about getting a quality air mattress. They're really quite comfortable and can be placed on top of a box spring, over a sofa bed mattress, or on the floor.
Upgrade Your Bedding
Beyond clean bedding, think about adding luxurious bed linens and comfort items supplied by fine B&Bs: a featherbed mattress topper, a choice of pillows, a cozy down comforter, extra blankets, and freshly ironed pillowcases.
Supply Extra Linens
Always have an extra set of bed and bath linens available for your guests. Accidents do happen! Or you may have one of those wonderful guests who insists on changing the sheets when they leave. Let them do it, and thank them profusely.
Make Room for a Suitcase
Clear a space to put a luggage rack or provide a small table or bench to set down a suitcase. No one likes to have to stoop over to the floor to pull out a clean pair of socks. Even a chair is better than nothing.
Clear the Decks
Resist the temptation to put your beautiful collection of dolls on the dresser or fill the closet with out-of-season clothes. In a guest room, less is more––more space, more comfortable, and more welcoming. Get rid of anything you would not find in a hotel room. Keep only the most useful items in the room, like a clock and calendar.
Make Sure There's a Comfy Place to Sit
Some people do not feel comfortable sitting on a bed and your guests shouldn't have to. Place an upholstered armchair or side chair in the room with a table and lamp close by.
Brighten Things Up
One of the biggest hotel decor missteps is when an otherwise nice room has no light to read by. It's always helpful to have a light control near the bed so your guest won't have to stumble around in the dark just to turn a light on. If nothing else, provide a good reading light near a chair or over the bed. Another fixture or lamp near the desk would be great. A small night light is helpful, and a lighted magnifying makeup mirror is a real luxury.
Clean the Closet
If your guest room shares space with a home office, clear at least a foot or two of pole space in the closet. Or purchase an inexpensive over-the-door hook that can accommodate some hanging clothes. Don't forget a supply of six to eight hangers. A simple hook on the wall or behind a closet door can hold a robe, coat, or a purse.
Make Some Drawer Space
If you have an extra chest of drawers, that's ideal, but if not, clearing out at least one or two drawers for small items is sufficient. Both you and your guest will feel better with odds and ends out of sight.
Don't Forget Simple Basics
A lighted clock next to the bed is a great amenity, and an alarm clock or clock/radio is even better. Provide paper and pens, scissors, tape, tissue, and a hairdryer to have all the bases covered. If you don't have an extra iron and ironing board to offer, be sure to tell your guest where they can find yours.
You might know that the big maple tree just outside the window camouflages everything going on, but your guests won't. Choose window coverings that add to the character of the room and also provide privacy and light control. If you need to keep it simple, blinds work great. You can always add a beautiful valance or side panels later.
Supply a Set of Keys
Put together several sets of keys to your home (and car if your guests will be using it). Color-code the sets and keep track of who has what. Keep a simple log of who has which colored set, and check them in when they're returned.
Give Guests the Inside Scoop
If your home has a security system, provide instructions for your guests. This applies if you live in a gated community or neighborhood that has a swimming pool, walking paths, parking regulations, emergency evacuation rules, or any other HOA guidelines that your house guests should be aware of.
Share Local Tourist Info
If your guests will be going around town without you, they'll appreciate area maps, brochures on the hot spots, and directions to your home. Make a list of the best shopping areas, museums, parks, and your favorite restaurants. Mark special locations on the maps with highlighter pens. Place all the items in a box or basket that you keep in the guest room. That way, you won't have to re-gather everything when another guest arrives.
Provide Snacks to Enjoy
House guests get "the nibbles" in the evening, just like everyone else. Place wrapped snacks, fresh fruit or cookies, and a bottle of water in the guest room. How about a small coffee pot or water heater, instant cider, tea, and coffee, and creamer and sugar? When your guests are up late at night reading that book they can only get to while away from home, they'll be able to put together a tasty snack without sneaking down to your kitchen.
Leave Good Reading at Hand
If you've read a wonderful novel, share it with your guest. Five-minute mysteries, travel books, an assortment of magazines, classic novels, or the local paper will provide quiet-time activities for your guest.
Set Up a Center for Entertainment
A TV in the guest room is much appreciated. Don't forget to place the remote control near the bed so they don't have to get out of bed to turn it off.
Help Guests Stay Connected
If your home is wired, great! Write down your wi-fi password and leave it on the nightstand for your house guests. If not, provide a cable connection to hook up a computer. Many people travel with laptops and do work or check e-mail when away from home. Provide a desk and chair and a good lamp.
The list of ideas you've just read might seem long, but everything is simple and logical to provide. By thinking of what you would like to find in a fine hotel room, you'll be on your way to creating a perfect guest room.