With all the social events, gift buying and party planning at this time of year, having guests over to stay can become a stressful added extra. The reality is, most of us simply don’t have much additional space available to accommodate more people, but all it takes is some clever forward planning.
Ensure your overnight guests feel welcome and relaxed (without you having to turn your home upside down!), with these straight forward styling and organisation tips.
With extra bodies around, you’ll need extra space for storing winter essentials such as coats, boots and bags. A simple coat rack or set of hooks in the hallway or back porch can come in very useful indeed, takes up very little space and keeps these busy traffic areas free of clutter.
Bring out a big tub or basket for throwing extra shoes and boots into and store it neatly away under the stairs, or if space allows, under a bench or console at the front door.
In your guest’s bedroom or sleeping quarters, clear a space in a chest of drawers or wardrobe for them to store their belongings in and clear away any of your personal clutter to make it feel more inviting.
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Sleeping space savers
Even if you don’t have a spare room for guests, it’s possible to give them their own little space to relax in. Investing in a good sofa bed is one option, as it can be quickly folded away when not in use and a more compact design can often be fitted into a larger bedroom or, if you have it, second sitting room. Ensure your guests feel at home by setting a small table lamp by the bed, a basket for the bedding to go into when not in use during the day and a handy box of overnight essentials, to save any awkwardness.
If there is the possibility for a member of your family to move bedrooms for the night, this can also prove a smart way to create private sleeping quarters for visitors. Younger children love the novelty of being moved in together or onto a mattress in mum and dad’s room for the night and it means your guests can retire to bed in their own time, without having to wait until their sofa bed in the living room is evacuated! Make it feel like their own space by moving clutter away, adding some fresh, grown up bedding and blankets and perhaps even a small houseplant and scented candle.
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Avoid bathroom chaos by clearing a small space for your guests’ bathing essentials. This can be a shelf on the wall, a stool or storage basket in the corner or a drawer in a bathroom cabinet. This ensures your guests have somewhere to keep their towels and toiletries organised, without impinging on what is often a very busy space in the home! Hanging an extra towel rail over the radiator or placing a compact, tiered storage unit in a corner can really help, too.
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The part of the home that becomes busiest with extra guests staying over is most definitely the dining or kitchen table! With a little forward planning, however, this needn’t be a problem. Set out plenty of cutlery, along with essentials such as condiments, salt, pepper and napkins, onto a tray or shallow wicker basket in the centre of the table for guests to help themselves to. Make the dining experience an altogether more relaxed affair by piling plates and bowls onto the table rather than setting it all out formally, so that everyone can grab what they need, leaving less unused clutter to clear away at the end of the meal.
Another fab idea in the kitchen is to set up a mini coffee/breakfast station for guests to use at their leisure. Group the toaster, kettle, coffee machine and other breakfast essentials such as cups, sugar, bread, jam, teabags, etc together so that people aren’t clogging up every corner of the kitchen looking for what they need. You can make this even more fun by including a little blackboard with a welcoming morning message written on it, instructing your guests to help themselves! Perfect if the host enjoys a little lie in over the festive period :)
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Finally, stock up on goodies for your guests to enjoy during their stay. Plenty of coffee, refreshing drinks, nibbles and sweet treats are par for the course and showing your visitors where these are stored will help them to feel at home.
Create a welcome!
You know how you love receiving a little welcome pack in a fancy hotel or B&B? Well, why not make your guests feel just as special by setting one out for them. Along with a bath towel, hand towel and face cloth, include some little luxuries such as a mini scented soap, travel sized shower gel and some chocolates. Also very handy to throw in is a note of your Wifi code, a packet of tissues, small bottle of water and glass, as well as a mini tube of toothpaste. Your guests will appreciate the hospitality you’ve shown them and it’ll help everyone to feel more relaxed.
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Make guests feel super pampered by bringing them up a morning tray to enjoy when they awaken. A cup of coffee and a newspaper or magazine is all they need, plus it buys you extra time to busy about downstairs prepping breakfast whilst they relax in bed!
Now you’ve no excuse not to be able to sit back and relax into the festivities…
I wish you a very Happy Christmas!