No spare room? No problem.

By Jenn Sinrich
December 04, 2019
Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / Getty Images

In a dream world, we'd all have an extra room (or two) to accommodate visiting loved ones. The reality, however, is that the majority of us only have the number of bedrooms in our homes to accommodate the people living in it. But that certainly doesn't mean that you can't host friends and family willing to travel and stay with you. Though a lack of a guest room might make things a bit more challenging for everyone, it's entirely possible with a little creative thinking. No matter how small or tight your guest quarters may be, here are some expert-approved strategies for how to be the best host and keep things running smoothly—sans a "proper" guest room.

Related: Guest-Room Essentials: Creating a Home Away from Home

Prepare in advance of their visit.

Well before the doorbell rings—ideally a few days prior—have a plan in place. In other words, make your home guest friendly, notes Lisa Grotts, San Francisco-based etiquette expert, who suggests using the "Our Home Is Your Home" mentality. When they do arrive, make sure to clarify that they are not, in any way, putting you out. "Sometimes non-verbal communication can speak louder than words and in a negative way, so let them know how happy you are to have them," she says. "This is easily done when your gestures are kind, friendly, and compassionate."

Establish sleeping arrangements.

Without a guest room, you're going to have to be innovative when it comes to finding a comfortable place for your visitors to sleep. Maryanne Parker, etiquette expert and founder of Manor of Manners, recommends investing in furniture that can support comfortable rest, such as a recliner or a murphy bed. "Also, you can invest in an air mattress, which is very convenient, because you can use it only when needed," she says. "After your wonderful guest leaves, put it right back in the closet."

Supply them with their own toiletries.

Always make sure to have additional toiletry items for the guest in your house, such as new towels, a change of sheets, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and a toothbrush, suggests Parker. You can purchase many of these in travel sizes at your local drugstore. "This little touch will show them that they are really welcome and you, as a host or hostess, really do care," she adds.

Tell all house members to keep the volume low.

"Advise everyone in the house to be very gentle in regards of noise, conversations, and other behaviors, especially if they need to make coffee in the morning and the new 'room' is close to the kitchen. Everything should be done gentler than usual," advises Parker. "I know that it is common sense, but sometimes common sense is not a common practice—and we all have routine habits."

Related: Tasks You Can Complete Now to Prepare for a Season of Holiday Entertaining

Always consider the guest's schedule.

It's quite possible that your guest may possess drastically different living habits than you do. For example, he or she might sleep later than everyone else in your household. If so, amp up the privacy so they are able to do so. "If the only space you have to offer is the living room, you can offer a folding screen, which is not only cozy and pretty, but creates the illusion of the needed privacy," suggests Parker.

Assist them before they ask for help.

"Just as you would show a dinner guest to the bar, where to put their coat, or where the restroom is, do the same for weekend guests," says Grotts. "Show your guests where to put their clothes and luggage (use a luggage rack so they don't scuff up your walls), where they might find extra towels, and [give them] any instructions they will need for the air conditioning or heating settings or bathroom." If their stay is on the longer side, she suggests giving them a key with basic operating instructions.

Go the extra distance to ensure your guest is comfortable.

Within reason, consider adding small gestures that make your guest feel as if he or she is staying at a hotel. "Slip a piece of chocolate on their pillowcase before bed, turn down their 'bed' and lights, [provide] reading material, and have a water pitcher with fresh mint or lemon from your garden," suggests Grotts. "A little goodwill goes a long way."

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