It is LOVELY to be able to invite people to stay with you, a privilege and a pleasure. Just think of all the implications - you have someone you want to see, and you have space - maybe not a lot, but enough. Having a guest more often than not means reconnecting to another time of your life, and can be a way of paying back their care for you. Or you could welcome a stranger, a new experience. Airbnb has opened up a whole new world for people with spare rooms.
I have a purpose: I am freshening up my guest room in preparation for a visit from my best friend since childhood. It got me thinking about a checklist or must-haves, so she can breathe a sigh of relief when she gets in after her long journey.
Here's the list:
Firstly, clear the room of clutter and personal items. If it’s a child's room, clear the nightstand and tidy toys and clothes out of sight.
It is nice to offer a chair with a table or desk, as well as a good mirror (especially if they'll be sharing a bathroom). I favour Shaker pegs for clothes and handbags, as things are neatly out of the way but still in sight. I avoid scented candles and such, tastes are so varied.
I have gone for an elegant slim sprung slatted base with room underneath for a suitcase, and a good, slim mattress, no need for a monolith. Wall-mounted reading lights leave space on the nightstands for impedimenta. Water in a carafe, with a glass, tissues, and a couple of books she might like, and bolsters behind the pillows so she can sit up to read without that empty corner between headboard and mattress. Bolsters are BRILLIANT for this.
Two firm pillows covered with shams for leaning against, two soft goose down pillows in loose pillowslips, for sleeping. A linen sheet tucked firmly under the mattress so it stays put, and both a down duvet and a smaller, wool-filled throw-sized coverlet she can wrap herself in.
Setting up a guest room can feel like playing house, maybe because it is an elective space. When I think back over my spare rooms, some were spartan, some turned into work rooms, but the best were true labours of love, put together with the one idea of being as welcoming, warm and comfortable as possible. I enjoyed doing that so much. All the more because my first-ever guest room was dismal - through the kitchen to a bleak, under-furnished room - my poor mother-in-law! I hope I learned from it.
In the end, sleep in your guest room yourself, just one night, to see how it works. If you've done it right, you'll sleep like a baby.
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