Creating the best guest bedroom for hosting friends and family
Inviting far-flung family members and friends to stay in your home, whether it’s for one night or several, might inspire anxiety and even dread for some folks. (Insert mother-in-law joke here.) For others, it’s a superb opportunity to make elaborate meals, play games, share a glimpse of your day-to-day, and stay up way too late reminiscing about times gone by. A guest bedroom is more than just a functional space where your loved ones can lay their head during a visit; it represents a chance to spend more meaningful time together. (Plus, they’ll be so pleased by not having to pony up for a hotel, they’ll probably take you out for a great steak dinner.) From the most important aspect of a guest bedroom to the smallest details that will nevertheless make a big difference, let’s take a look.
Sleeper sofas are better than ever
We know it’s quite possible that the idea of even sleeping on a pull-out sofa bed, let alone purchasing one, has your back aching already. However, sleeper sofa technology has come a long way lately; gone are the thin mattresses bisected by metal support bars that make it impossible to find a comfy position. Today’s models are much more comfortable than the pull-outs of yore and the transformation from couch to bed and back again is easier than ever before. Go old-school with the kind that stashes the mattress inside the sofa, or check out modular sectionals that let you move cushions into the perfect configuration. Sofa sleepers are perfect for hosts who have a home office, artist’s studio, man cave, or any other space that will occasionally be used for guests.
Murphy beds for the modern age
Murphy beds, which date back to the turn of the 20th century, were named after their inventor, William Lawrence Murphy. As a young man living in cramped San Francisco quarters, Murphy needed a room in which to entertain his lady friend. According to the social mores of the day, a true lady could never enter a gentleman’s bedroom. But that moral obstacle was no match for handy Mr. Murphy. After some tinkering, he built a bed that could be folded right into the wall when not in use, transforming his sleeping quarters into a parlor—perfectly appropriate for female guests. Since then, their rich slapstick potential have made Murphy beds a movie and TV-show staple. From James Bond and Inspector Clouseau to Charlie Chaplin and the entire Muppet gang has tangled with these unpredictable folding beds. All comedy aside, it’s easier to build a DIY Murphy bed than you might think. Alternatively, there are versions that see a sideboard- or bookcase-style cabinet unfold into a sleeping surface.
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Keep the pillows practical
Be a thoughtful host and provide a variety of pillow types: one that’s memory-foam, another down or down-alternative, a pillow designed for side sleepers, maybe even a backrest-style cushion or an oversized wedge for lumbar support. Do your guests a favor, though: dispense with the decorative cushions, bolsters, frou-frou fringes, buttons and embroidery. At the very least, keep them to a minimum—and make sure there’s someplace your guest can put them when it’s time to climb in bed.
Pamper them with lavish linens
Particularly for frugal-minded folks, it’s tempting to outfit the guest bedroom with castoffs: comforters, sheet sets and extra blankets that have been well-loved by the family but are still usable. (Or, conversely, linens that have hardly seen any use because they are poor quality.) After all, your guests will only have to use them for a few nights, right? However, this isn’t the right approach, unless you’re actively attempting to discourage your visitors from returning. We see it as an expression of love to make up the guest bed with the very best linens you have. It’s not necessary to buy them exclusively for the guest bedroom—simply swap them out and put the backups on your bed for the time being—but if you frequently host family or friends, splurge on special sheets and blankets. (Pro tip: keep an eye out in January, which is the traditional month for white sales.)
High-end hotel inspo
Lastly, take a moment to consider some special touches that will make their stay truly memorable. Give your guests the best of both worlds by combining your home’s warmth and hospitality with the same luxurious little lagniappes and thoughtful details found at a five-star hotel. We’re talking a soft shag rug, cozy robes to cuddle up in, a stack of fluffy bath sheets. A foldable luggage rack or steamer trunk will allow guests to easily access their suitcases without bending over. Place a fruit bowl or basket of snacks—think fruit, protein bars, pretzels, crackers or any foods your friend loves—on the dresser for late-night noshing. And why not go all out and leave a delectable truffle or other chocolate treats on the pillow?