Guests Coming for the Holidays? Let’s Start in the Bedroom!
by Kathy Bertone, author of The Art of the Visit
It’s the season, and if that itself is not enough cause for angst there is the shopping, the cooking, the decorating to be done, and now you have gone and invited the family!
Good for you, but before the doorbell rings, take a serious look at the accommodations into which you are sending your BFF or mother-in-law. Nothing can turn a visit sour faster than not enough clothes hangers and overly cramped, unprepared quarters.
Here are the basics to preparing the perfect guest bedroom:
A luggage rack (or two): These are handy not just because they look good and make your guests feel as if you care, but if you don’t have a dedicated dresser, and the visit is just for a few days, your guests can get by “living out of a suitcase.” And with these in the bedroom your guests will know to put the often dirty luggage on the racks while unpacking, not on your lovely bedcover. For me, nothing is sadder than finding black oil on a white spread!
The guest bedroom closet: If those “I will fit into them someday” clothes are still in your guest closet, time to store or donate. Check the clothes hangers—please invest in wood or plastic—and have at least five pants and five shirt hangers per person for the weekend, more for a longer stay. Think about where guests will put bulky sweaters and underthings. If you don’t have a dedicated dresser, and if they are staying longer than a few days, no worries: Look for an inexpensive plastic rolling cart with drawers (often found in home supply stores and sometimes used for tools), sized so it can slide into the guest closet. Another idea is to install a few shelves inside half of the closet space.
Hooks and mirrors: Place an attractive hook on the back of the bedroom door and one in the closet itself. Not the over-the-door kind which can look cold, but the self-adhesive type that you can take down later without marring the walls. Some are actually quite attractive. This gives your guests a place for bathrobes, the occasional day item and damp towels from the bath. Have a full-length mirror in the room as well as a mirror on the wall. If bathroom space is at a premium, put a make-up sized mirror in the bedroom. That way your guests can tend to hair and make-up in the bedroom instead of the bathroom, freeing that space for you or other guests.
The properly dressed bed: Some guests will be too cold; others, too warm. Plan for both. Have a light-weight cotton spread over the sheet and then a warmer comforter-type on top. If you live in warm climes, then, of course, replace the comforter with a lighter spread. Always have an extra blanket in the closet. For a nice touch put a throw blanket at the foot of the bed. Not only does it look indulgent and inviting, but it can be used for that cozy read-in-bed time or a nap. I have four pillows on my beds with varying degrees of firmness. Guests can decide for themselves which is most comfortable for them.
The necessities: Don’t overlook the basics—small waste can with liner; tissue paper in a pretty tissue holder; a table fan in the closet (some guests are hot at night. I’ll leave it at that); a clock that does not tick loudly; good lighting; a surge protector for electronic gadgets; and tabletop coasters for ring-safe night tables.
What not to have:
Now that the guest bedroom is all set up, you have time to further impress the new in-laws or your favorite friend or relative by creating a “Welcome Basket” with everything from cellophane-wrapped slippers and bath salts to a split of champagne. Not a bad way to top off your perfect guest room.
Kathy Bertone is the author of the
new book, "The Art of the Visit: Being
the Perfect Host; Becoming the Perfect
Guest." To follow Kathy’s blog or to learn
more about creating the perfect guest
rooms and having successful visits with
family and friends, visit Kathy at: