How to Have a Guest Room When You Don’t Have a Guest Room

Guest room literature

Something for everyone! Scruples, by Judith Krantz, Archie, Lady Killer, by Joelle Jones and Jamie S. Rich, Positive Moves, by Angela Lansbury, and Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk.

When we bought our house, we had a guest room–well, it started out as a catch-all when we moved in, and then I desperately carved a bedroom out of it when Scott’s Mom came for our wedding. It eventually settled into something pretty pedestrian: a queen-sized bed, a bedside table, a desk. It wasn’t showstopping, but it worked.

Then we had a baby, and our guest room was emptied, repainted, and refitted as Sarah’s nursery. But! We still love to have guests. So what to do?

I figure this is a problem a lot of people have: I mean, who’s lucky enough to have a whole bedroom set aside for random friends and loved ones? I found a solution by looking at our house and figuring out how to make a space that is comfortable, offers at least some privacy, and gives visitors a place to put their things. So here are my tips–plus, we just had some guests, so I realized a few things I should do next time.

A Place to Sleep

Where can your guests sleep? We’ve got a full-size futon on a wooden sofa frame in our (finished) basement. Do you have a sofa bed? Is there a corner for an air mattress? The benefit of our finished basement is guests can close the door and have some privacy. If they want to go to bed early, they’re set. If they want to stay out late and come home, they don’t have to worry about waking us up on the second floor!

Once you’ve got your sleeping area chosen, make sure you’re prepared with clean sheets, blankets, and pillows. I usually go with white cotton sheets–no need to wonder if they’re really clean–and keep them in a stack in our closet with a couple of blankets so they’re always ready to go. When I was furnishing our erstwhile guest room, I bought some new pillows that are strictly guest pillows–no yellowing or drool marks!

A Place to Pee

Perhaps even more important than a place to sleep is a place to . . . go. And shower. Our basement has a bathroom with a shower, but it’s also my husband’s bathroom. However, I was able to do a few things to (hopefully) make guests feel welcome:

  • Clear some space. This is especially nice if your guests are staying longer than a weekend. I cleared off a shelf in the medicine cabinet. Can you clear out a drawer or add a box to a counter top for their toothbrushes, etc.?
  • Designate some towels. Stack some on a shelf, or keep them on their own hanging bar. Make sure to point them out!
  • Stock some essentials. Put a new bar of soap (no hair) in the shower and make sure you have ample shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste. I also stock a hair dryer, etc.

A Place to Put Things

Our basement is our family room, so there’s just no place for a bureau. However, I do have a storage ottoman that I keep cleaned out for guests, and a hanging bar in the laundry room (with hangers). When you set up your area, think of furniture that can pull double duty. Cloth or wicker storage boxes can sit in a bookcase or under a coffee table–and keep clothes out of sight!

Entertainment and Extras

Here are a couple things I did to try to make our place cozy: we put a small bouquet of flowers on the side table by the futon/bed, and arranged some books we thought they’d enjoy (or at least laugh at–I made sure to include Dame Angela Lansbury’s Positive Moves.) During their visit, though, a bunch of things popped up that I’ll need to remember for next time:

  • Extra house key–convenient for guests and you!
  • Wifi code, printed up and posted.
  • Small notepad and pens.
  • Change for the bus, singles and quarters. We have a bus stop right near our house, but no kiosk for tickets!

Beyond any amenities and extras, of course the most important thing is to make your guests feel comfortable, and give them enough autonomy and space that they don’t feel like they’re putting you out. I frankly like our new setup far better than our original guest room!

Do you have any guest-friendly tips to share? Post them below!


2 thoughts on “How to Have a Guest Room When You Don’t Have a Guest Room

  1. One of my friends had a basket of essentials she would pull out for guests a mixture of snacks (because who wants to scrounge through a hosts cupboard at midnight or 6 am.) and potentially forgotten items “tooth brush, tooth paste, kleanex, purell, bottled water, and granola bars, etc.” It was little things, and I didn’t even use half of it, but made me feel welcome and cared for. I have created a small basket of the same. I may also have also added mini whiskey bottle as a night cap for discerning guests.

    Liked by 1 person

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