Christmas is the time more than any other that you’re likely to have guests to stay – and you’ll be thinking about creating a cosy guest bedroom.
We’ll have intermittent guests throughout the year for odd weekends, but for Christmas the house is always full. Since boy no.3 was born (just two days before Christmas) we have put our foot down and refused to go away ourselves (two cars, three children, all the presents, one dog, one turkey… it became nonsensical and stressful. And then a few years later we added another child). But we do have an open house, and every year my In Laws come and stay with us.
Having guests in the house can be a tricky thing, but there’s lots you can do to make it a fun time for everyone. The key thing we learned very quickly was to ensure that guests who are staying more than one night need a space they can retreat to – they don’t want to spend every waking moment with you, any more than you want them constantly present in your kitchen.
But you need to do more than politely tell them that it’s absolutely okay to retreat – the way you set up their guest bedroom signals this more clearly than anything you can say. If you plan ahead, a few simple tricks can make all the difference in the world to everything running smoothly, and your guests feeling welcome.
Because if your guests feel welcome, they relax – and then you all have a good time. So here’s our personal guide, born from years of experience, on the simple steps to a welcoming & cosy guest bedroom.
(Big thanks to Wayfair for letting us use their site for your inspiration…)
1 – A Welcome Tray
This one’s the BIG one. The year we thought to lay out a small kettle, mugs, tea bags and an insulated mug of milk was the year things relaxed. Guests can wake and rise in their own time, no need to get up & dressed and sociable just for that early morning tea – make sure everything’s on hand.
Obviously we stole this idea from every hotel we ever stayed in – they do it for a reason y’know.
And it doesn’t have to cost the earth; we picked up an electric kettle for under £6, use mugs from the cupboard, an old insulated travel mug for the milk, and a pretty ramekin dish stocked with teabags. An Aeropress would make perfect ‘proper’ coffee easy, too. Though if you wanted to up your game, I did hear that the old Teasmade is making a big comeback – remember them?
You could add some essential supplies too – tissues & travel toiletries are always welcome, a notepad and pen, and of course the Wi-Fi password should be written somewhere too!
2 – Make The Bed
Nothing says ‘welcome’ like a well made bed. And now is not the time to dig out that old polar bear bobbly duvet set you were given 15yrs ago.
Your guests will love it if their bed is made with soft fresh-smelling smooth bed linens.
You can keep it classic with some fine quality linen cotton, or you can go soft and cosy with some brushed cotton, the choice is yours. Just make sure they’re freshly laundered, ironed, and the bed is made properly.
I have to say, I’m absolutely loving this seasonal stag head set over on Wayfair – and it’s totally bargainous, with the King Size Duvet Cover & Pillowcase set under £22.
3 – Extra Bedding
Okay, you’ve put some lovely linen on the bed – but what if they get too hot and want something cooler? Or are a cold body and would love an extra blanket? Leaving some available layers for them to use without having to ask (and feeling like a picky annoying guest) is just a really nice, simple thing to do.
I’m loving this Biederlack Reflection Blanket – a heavy textured throw in a gorgeous wintery colour palette.
Or you could go Seasonal with this fabulous Saint Clair Paris Ultrasoft Blanket – I’d love this on my bed in December! (£69)
4 – Storage Space & Hangers
Don’t make them live out of their suitcase on the floor! If, as in our case, they’re camping in someone else’s room, then clear them some storage. Empty a chest of drawers, make space in the wardrobe – and be sure to leave them enough hangers.
If a wardrobe isn’t practical then a quick and easy solution is a coat rack – Wayfair have a coat stand for under a tenner! Simply hook on a selection of coat hangers, and you have an instant wardrobe for a few days stay.
5 – Water & Glasses
It’s simple – but means so much. No one wants to go hunting in the middle fo the night in a strange house for glasses in the kitchen, or make a noise crashing around in the bathroom. Much much nicer to have a small water jug and glasses set ready by the bed. They don’t need to be huge – any jug and glasses will work.
And yes, any jug or glass pitcher you have is fine – if you can find those stackable little carafes with a tumbler even better. But I do just have to share this rather fabulous copper water pitcher. So swish!
6 – Clear The Surfaces!
This one’s especially important if they’re taking over someone else’s room; don’t make them shift around someone else’s life contents! Clear all the surfaces in the room; for us in year’s past that has meant dismantling the big Playmobil castle, shifting 167 army comics and making sure that an avalanche of hot wheels cars weren’t going to explode on their heads when they opened the cupboard.
People don’t tend to need a LOT of storage if they’re only with you for a few days, but they do need a place to put their things.
And maybe it’s the excuse you need for some new room storage anyway. Just HOW much do I love this set of drawers? (answer – “A LOT!”)
(it’s the Kourtney 11 Drawer Chest, and currently reduced for over £200 to £137)
7 – Think Lighting
Obviously you’ll have overhead lights all sorted – but do make sure each guest has a softer reading lamp. They may stay up later than you, or go to bed earlier than you – or simply be a restless sleeper who likes to read at 2am. The key in all of this is to make sure they can be how they wish without feeling like they are causing any extra bother.
I know bedside lamps are usually small with soft shades – but I’m rather in LOVE with these industrial pipe lamps with their Edison bulbs. SO cool – and they’ll work perfectly for a teen’s room when your guest has gone home too!
(the Hassa 54cm Arched Table Lamp is currently down to £57…)
8 – Fresh Flowers
Nooo, not gurt big lavish bouquets, that’ll just overwhelm the room. This isn’t a gift for your guests, this is just a little welcome-to-your-room spot of pretty thoughtfulness. If it was summer I’d suggest snipping a few roses or giant daisies from the garden. But at this time of year, your best bet is probably to pick up a small posy of something like carnations from the supermarket. I never do understand why people get sniffy about carnations – they’re always pretty, smell great, and they last forever as a cut flower.
9 – Cosy Beds
A hot water bottle. If you’re like us, you turn your central heating off during the night – and things can get a mite chilly, especially for older bodies (who will frankly only complain about stuffiness if you leave the heating n anyway). So we leave out a hot water bottle, and offer to make it during the evening. Does anything beat sliding into the sheets at the end of a long day and finding a warm cosy soft spot waiting for you?
10 – Small extras
We have a (non-ticking) alarm clock beside the bed (a clock/radio would probably be better, now I think of it). And we always lay out a set of towels so that they don’t have to rummage in the airing cupboard like the rest of the family. Another tip – make them a different colour so they can easily track which is theirs!
We always buy white towels so they always match – but we have a set of gorgeous grey ones just for guests. Smart, no? *taps head*
This is Wayfair’s ‘Basics’ 6 Piece Towel Set – and it’s only £20 right now!!
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