Remember how last year you promised yourself you wouldn’t wait until last minute to get ready for Thanksgiving and Christmas? This is your chance to avoid the last-minute scrabble to get your guest rooms ready for friends and family who will be visiting. You don’t have to do all your prepping all in a day. Our handy dandy check list of tasks will help you tackle the project, one step at a time. And before you know it, you’ll have a guest room that feels homey and welcoming to all that lay down their heads there.
1. Keep it simple–Kelly McClenahan, a storage and organization expert who writes the Live Unclutteredblog, says that the more bedroom furniture you pack into your guest room, the smaller and more cramped it will look and feel. She recommends working with the minimum number of elements possible, including a bed with a few throw pillows and a nice comforter, a dresser, a nightstand, lamp and some artwork on the walls.
2. Small touches, big impact–Sara Cannon, a designer with House Heroes Realty suggests decluttering long in advance of the holidays. Put away craft supplies, sports and exercise equipment, and introduce smart décor touches like a stack of books about local history or culture. Add a basket of favorite snacks and bottles of sparkling water, and perhaps a small gift. Don’t forget the staples like fluffy towels, wash cloths and a bar of soap. You may also want to install a nightlight with a motion sensor to spare guests from stumbling around at night on their way to the bathroom.
3. Staying connected–Your guests will want to be online during their stay, messaging friends and family, and posting photos on Facebook while away from home. Jot down your WiFi password on a note pad or write it on a whiteboard in their room, suggests Los Angeles interior and furniture designer John Linden with MirrorCoop.
4. Launder everything–Refresh your spare bedroom as it may not be used as often as other rooms in your house. Before your guests arrive, wash throw rugs and blankets since they may have become musty and dusty if they haven’t been used in a while, according to Jessica Samson, communications manager at The Maids, a company that offers professional cleaning services. Empty all the trash containers, too, and wash them with wash soapy water and a neutral disinfectant.
5. Be inspired by five-star hotels–Luxury hotels dress their beds in fine bedding. Begin with a crisp top sheet, warm middle layer and a beautiful top layer (like a duvet). Keep an extra blanket on hand or drape it across the bottom of the bed. “Don’t give your guests bad pillows,” advises Mary Brooks, a health educator and a certified integrated nutrition coach. “They will love you more if you invest in good ones.”
6. Invest in luggage racks–Brooks also suggests luggage racks for guests as it’s much nicer than having to keep suitcases on the floor. Or having furniture scuffed. Buy foldable types that can be tucked away until it’s time for the next house guest.
7. Replace the mattress–Sometimes a guest room will be the recipient of an old mattress from another bed in the house. If it’s not good enough for you to sleep on, then it’s time to retire it, especially if it has visible sagging and puckering, has lost its bounce or feels lumpy. Invest in a good quality mattress and you could have at least a decade worth of use.
8. Add a weighted blanket–Sleeping in an unfamiliar space and being away from home can cause some anxiety for some guests. Weighted blankets can offer some comfort. “There’s a scientific reason why snuggling under a down comforter makes you feel less anxious and more relaxed,” says Donna Chambers, founder of Tennessee-based SensaCalm, a Tennessee-based company that offers weighted blankets. “Studies show that firm but gentle pressure actually lowers the physiological symptoms of stress by slowing the heart rate and regulating pulse oximetry.”
9. Spend a night in your guest room–If you really want to put the comfort level of your guest room to the test, sleep there for an evening. Take note of how it smells, the amount of ambient noise, temperature and whether it ticks all the boxes for the basics, like available room to stash a suitcase and space to hang up items. If the room is noisy, consider having a white noise machine available on the nightstand.
10. Let there be light–Janet Lorusso, interior designer and owner of JRL Interiors. Be sure there is adequate lighting and accessible outlets. Include bedside lamps/reading light and a nightlight so guests can make a midnight run to the bathroom without stubbing their toes. Add convenient outlets for electronics. Everyone needs to at least have a place to charge a phone. Now there are even lamps and nightstands available with USB ports and outlets.
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