If you’re traveling, there’s nothing like a well-appointed guest room. When your host takes the time to provide all the comforts of home, it’s easy to forget that you’re not, well, home. That said, guest rooms can be easy to overlook. Many of us don’t entertain year-round, and unless you use the room regularly yourself, you don’t know about the blinding morning light and lumpy pillows. Company on the way? Follow these tips for treating your guests to a thoughtful stay.
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A Warm Welcome
With the addition of a few niceties, your spare bedroom will be as inviting to visitors as a fine hotel room. Set out essentials such as towels, a full-length mirror, and an alarm clock, then provide little luxuries as well: bottles of water, foil-wrapped chocolates, a few cut blooms in a vase and a curated selection of books.
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Keep sets of guest towels together. When visitors arrive, just transfer a stack from linen closet to guest bedroom.
If you’ll have multiple guests, consider color-coding your towels. Sew loops of colorful twill tape in a variety of shades onto the corners of a look-alike batch of bathroom or beach towels to help guests distinguish theirs from everyone else's.
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You don’t want your guests having to stumble around your kitchen in the middle of the night. Before it’s time to turn in, fill a pretty carafe with water, and set it on a tray on the bedside table along with a glass.
No carafe? No problem. Simply fill a tall, narrow glass, and cover it with a shorter, wider tumbler to keep out dust. Guests can flip over the top glass and pour themselves water or sip directly from the taller glass.
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In a strange room, comfort and space are more soothing than a clutter of unfamiliar things. Take your décor cues from hotels, embracing a minimalist, pared-back aesthetic. Artwork is great, but leave the family photos to your own bedroom.
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Offer Relaxing Reads
Set up a comfortable chair or settee with a pillow and throw and a good adjustable-brightness lamp in your guest room. Assemble a small personal library —in the age of the iPhone, we all need time and space to power down. If you don’t have a lot of space, stock a nightstand with magazines, some buzzy books, and a good light.
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Make sure there is adequate closet and drawer space. Supply a variety of quality hangers that will hold trousers and jackets, flimsy dresses, and heavy coats. If your guest room is more of a “guest nook” and doesn’t have room for a dresser, consider a space-friendly valet stand that will accommodate the essentials.
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Outfit the Bed
Make up a double bed with four ample sleeping pillows—two medium or firm, and two soft—as well as two smaller pillows to prop up the head when reading. Store both light and heavy blankets and synthetic down pillows (for friends with allergies) in a closet.
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Create a Work Station
Some guests will have to check in with work while visiting. Provide a small desk or a cleared tabletop along with a comfy chair, ideally near outlets if possible. Even in the digital age, pens and notepaper are a nice touch.
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Store a season's worth of toilet paper and other necessities in your guest bathroom, so guests never have to make an awkward request for more.
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When was the last time you remembered a wireless password? Write yours down on a small notecard and place it on the bedside table to save guests the trouble of asking (and asking again). If you have one on hand, provide a spare phone charger. Tricky thermostat, remote or alarm system? A quick guide to the household electronics can be helpful, as well.
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Set out Toiletries
Because everyone forgets toothpaste. Leave a basket of toiletries in your guest room or guest bathroom with essentials: shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss and lotion.