Guess what? After not seeing them for over a year, our daughter and son-in-law are heading to the states in a couple of weeks so we’ll get to spend Thanksgiving with them! This will be the first time the two of them will be spending the night at our cabin, so I’ve been thinking a bit about what I can do to make their all-too-short stay as comfortable as possible.
That means it’s time to make sure the guest room is ready! So let’s get to it…
And no, this isn’t our guest room, but I can dream :).
Bedding and Linens
The single most important item in a guest room is a comfortable mattress. This may seem contradictory to what I just recommended, but when we purchased the mattress for the guest room we looked for the least expensive one we could find, and we bought a feather bed to make it more comfortable, and it works great! And the bonus for us is we’re taking it on the road with us when we go to Florida in ‘BAM‘.
Bottom line: if you wouldn’t be willing to sleep on the mattress, don’t force your guests to either. If you don’t have a dedicated bed for guests, a good quality air mattress can work equally as well.
Bed linens should be simple, good quality (shop stores like HomeGoods for good deals) and ideally fragrance free. As much as you may love the smell of lavender, your guests may not, or worse, they may have allergies, so keep things simple.
I always try to make sure guests have a lightweight blanket. Sometimes certain comforters can feel way too heavy to allow for a comfortable night’s sleep, and I also provide two fluffy bed pillows per person. Lots of people, including myself, like to sit up in bed and read or watch tv, and having that extra pillow really helps.
Don’t go overboard with too many pillows on the bed. Consider using just a couple of decorative pillows so your guests don’t have to remove so many every night, not to mention find a place to put them!
Furniture & Accessories
At least one bedside table is a must, and although most people use their cell phones these days as alarms or to tell time, if you have the space, it’s a nice touch to include an alarm clock on the table.
Your guest room may not have enough space for a chair and ottoman, but if it does this would be a great addition. (Just think about how you feel when you go to a hotel and there’s no place to sit except the bed.)
Definitely include a reading lamp and maybe some magazines or books as well, or better yet, fill a basket with books and magazines that you’ve read and let your guests know they can take them with them when they leave.
A folding luggage rack or a dresser top cleared so they can place their suitcase on it would be a huge plus! Luggage racks are pretty inexpensive, and if you frequently have out-of-town guests, it’s a worthwhile purchase. No one likes having to bend over every time they need something.
In the closet, provide them with space to hang their clothes and some extra hangers. Aren’t these adorable?
These are some other items you might want to include in the bedroom:
Full length mirror or wall mirror
TV with remote control
Pad and pencil
Box of tissues
Tray or dish to hold keys, jewelry or loose change
Who doesn’t love finding a basket of goodies by their bedside?! How about some fresh fruit, cookies and bottled water? I also make sure napkins and knives are available in the basket for convenience.
If you know your guests like coffee first thing in the morning, you might consider setting up a small coffee station for them so they can enjoy a cup first thing. If you don’t have the ability to do that, think about their sleeping habits and how they coincide with yours. You don’t want your guests fumbling around looking for things if they’re early birds, so let them know where all the coffee paraphernalia is located so they can help themselves.
Tips for Long-Term Guests
My biggest tip here is don’t have long-term guests, because we all know the joke about guests and fish after 3 days, right?
Seriously, if your guests are staying a while and you really want to take the extra step, here are some special items you could have available to them:
An area map
A list of places in the neighborhood they may want/need to visit (24-hour pharmacy, churches, shops).
Information that covers nearby activities or attractions
Games, activity books or toys for kids if applicable
Will they need public transportation? If so, provide the necessary information for them.
If you think you’ll want to ride bikes, borrow a few extras from friends, or in our case, a couple of kayaks/canoes :).
Many gyms provide free week-long passes so if they are gym rats, it’s a great idea to find out if that’s an option.
Flowers brighten up any space, and it’s always a thoughtful touch in a guest room, but you might want to find out if your guests have any allergies or breathing problems beforehand. Bonus points if you know their favorite flower and include it.
In the Bathroom
I try to have two towels per person per day. I just picked up some great quality, large bath towels at Job Lot for less than $10 each. Don’t forget to include some hand towels and wash cloths as well. And speaking of which, black washcloths make a great addition to a guest bath. They work great because no one likes to dirty up and stain a pretty white washcloth when removing their makeup.
Pick up some travel size toiletries and place them in a basket. Some things to include…
Soap and body lotion
Shampoo and conditioner
Toothpaste, toothbrushes, and dental floss
Feminine products (You can tuck these discreetly away in a drawer or pouch)
Lint roller, sewing kit and safety pins
For additional convenience, it would be nice to include these items in the bathroom:
Bath spray/air freshener
Unisex robe, XL
Sleep in the room for a night
A few weeks ago we had friends stay here for a couple of nights, and we learned the light from our computer (remember, it doubles as our office) was super annoying. No one ever mentioned that before, whether it was because they were being polite or it just didnt bother them we don’t know, but now I’ll make sure to keep that light under wraps.
If you don’t want to sleep in the room for a night, at the very least, go through your bedtime routine in the room/space where your visitors will be staying. I guarantee you’ll find a few things that need tweaking!
Is there a place to charge their phone or laptop?
Is there a place to hang a wet towel or bathrobe?
You don’t want to have to disturb your guests for something you might need, so think about if there’s anything in the guest room that might fall into this category. Is your vacuum stored in the guest room? Maybe you’re like me and your guest room doubles as your office? Remove anything you know you’ll need before your guests arrive.
Think in advance about the quirks of the space, and let your guests know about them.
Do you need an Engineering degree to operate the shower? Do the blinds need to be closed all the way to prevent morning sun waking them too early? Clue them in!
Creating a comfortable guest room doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming, and trust me, your guests will appreciate the effort you went through to make their stay as comfortable and homey as possible.
Do you have any tips for creating a comfortable guest room?
In other news…
Happy Halloween to you! Are you doing anything special, or if you’re reading this Sunday, did you do anything special last night? We’re going to a small Halloween get-together at the clubhouse, and for the first time in a few years we’re wearing costumes. We picked really silly ones, but you’re going to have to wait until next time to find out what they are ;).
I’m also making a chocolate dish to share called Chocolate Lasagna. Maybe you’ve seen it? It’s crushed Oreos, chocolate pudding and whipped cream. Yum, right?! Anyway, gotta go and make it. Enjoy your weekend!