Your overnight guests don't expect hotel-like accommodations and amenities from your spare room, but you want to be as good a host as you can be. And there's more to creating a cozy space than offering a comfy bed and a towel to use in the bathroom. Check out what home experts recommend putting in a guest room, so your friends and family have a happy stay.
1. Lots of Pillows
If your extra room is small, there's probably not enough space for a proper reading chair. Solve this problem with a body pillow-your guests can use it as a makeshift couch during the day and snuggle up with it while they sleep. Or at least put extra pillows on the bed, suggests Kristine Kennedy, Editorial Director of the home website Wayfair.com. "Lots of pillows are essential for propping up and reading in bed." Just tell your guests where to put the pillows when they un-make the bed each night.
2. A Tray
"A tray signifies that the items placed there are specifically intended for the guest, and they're not a regular part of the room," says Taniya Nayak, a celebrity interior designer and HGTV star. Whether you put it next to the bed for your guest's jewelry or in your guest bathroom for your visitor's toiletries, a tray keeps your guests' belongings organized and easily accessible.
3. A Steamer
A guest may stay with you while she's in town for a business conference or a job interview. In either case, she needs crease-free clothes. Don't worry about stocking the room with a clunky ironing board, says Kennedy. "A mini-steamer can touch up clothing that was wrinkled in transit," she explains. Try My Little Steamer; it's available in a rainbow of colors that go with any guest-room décor.
4. A Universal Charger
From laptops to eReaders to cell phones, your guests may not remember to bring-or have space to travel with-all those electronic devices' chargers. But their tech tools may need some juice during the stay. A universal charger can keep your visitor plugged in. Luckily, attachments are small enough to tuck away in a drawer or on a shelf for safekeeping. Don't forget to keep outlets free and clear. "No one wants to crawl under the bed to plug in her cell phone after a long trip," says Nayak.
5. A Bedside Table
A nightstand serves as the main station for a visitor's items, and a small one is better than none. Best of all: a bedside table with shelves, so your guests have extra surfaces to place their stuff. But don't leave the shelves completely bare. Kennedy recommends leaving a stack of magazines (even if they're old issues) to give guests some easy entertainment.
6. Bestselling Books
A late-night read is a great way for a guest to wind down, and if it'll be an extended stay, your visitor may want to cross some novels off of her reading list. Whether it's the Fifty Shades trilogy or Gone Girl, "a guest room is a great place to store some of the books you recently read," says Nayak.
You may already have a box in the bathroom, but your guest is hoping for tissues bedside too. A simple sneeze shouldn't send a visitor darting down the hall. Splurge on a softer brand, since your occasional guests aren't likely to go through a box as quickly as your family. Plus, their noses will appreciate it.
If the spare room closets are where you stash your extra household items, there's less room for your guest's clothes and luggage. "A hook is a thoughtful touch. Guests can hang towels, a bathrobe, a jacket, a bag and more." Hooks are also space-savers in smaller rooms-a visitor doesn't have to step over her things to reach the bed if they're hanging up.
9. Extra Bedding
This might seem like a no-brainer, but "the main thing we forget to put in a guest room is extra blanket options," says Nayak. Since there are linens on the bed already, it's understandable why extra covers don't come to mind. Still, a fabulous host like you anticipates problems, like a suddenly chilly guest room. "Don't force a guest to tiptoe around at night in search of a warmer blanket," reminds Nayak. Offer at least a flat sheet and a few blankets of varying thicknesses to cover your bases.
The writer is a freelancer
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