How To: Prepare for Guests

As you may already know, I am somewhat OCD.  I am a neat freak, but not a clean freak.  I love to organize things, but hate scrubbing things down.  But, I’ve been cleaning like crazy this summer.  Why?  We have and will have a ton of guests this summer.  Two weeks ago, my friend from Portland visited.  Last weekend, some friends from Minnesota stayed with us.  Some of Ben’s family will visit this weekend.  Then I’ll be out-of-town.  While I’m gone, my cousin is staying at our house.  A few days after I return, Ben’s brother and girlfriend are staying here for a week. 

I like our guests to feel at home and have a few little items ready to use.  Here are a few things I do, in addition to cleaning, to accommodate our guests.

A comfortable bed:

There are several components to a comfortable bed: the mattress, sheets, blankets and pillows. 

Our guest bed is a king sized Sleep Number bed.  This allows each guest to customize the bed to their ideal level of firmness or softness. 

I prefer to use 300+ thread count white sheets.  They’re soft, durable and easy to clean with bleach.  Use a fitted sheet to cover the mattress and a flat sheet on top.  Place the flat sheet face down, then fold over the comforter or blanket.  This will show the detail of the sheets-notice the brown stripe on the sheet?  Buy sheets that you would use, not just the cheapest ones you can find. 

Keep a weather appropriate blanket or comforter on the bed.  You can choose between a duvet or comforter, but make sure it’s right for the time of year.  Doesn’t hurt if it’s good-looking, too.

Outfit your bed with four pillows, two medium to firm and two soft.  In our case, the king sized pillows are medium and the standard pillows are soft.  Having firmness choices will accommodate all guests, whether they sleep on their sides, back, or stomach. 

Blankets and Towels:

I recommend keeping at least one lighter weight blanket in the guest bedroom closet.  If guests are cold, they can add it.  If they are too warm, they can remove the comforter and use the light blanket.  I keep a few throw blankets for napping, too.  If you have extra pillows, keep them in the guest closet, too.  It will free up linen closet space and give your guests more options.  Win-win.

It’s a good idea to invest in a set of guest towels.  Include at least 2 bath towels, 2 hand towels, and 2 wash cloths.  Getting room coordinating colors also helps differentiate from other household towels.  You can keep these in the guest closet to keep your guests from searching for towels (or using the pretty ones in the bathroom if you’re like I am). 

Storage Space:

Have adequate dresser and/or closet space to store clothes, suitcases and other essentials.  We don’t have a dresser, so I keep the closet pretty empty and leave a handful of wooden hangers.

A laundry basket or bag comes in handy for guests staying for more than a few days.  I prefer a bag because it takes up less space and I hang it on a hook, even more out-of-the-way.

Speaking of hooks, add one or two the to guest room to hang wet towels.  You can choose an over the door system or hang some out of sight in the closet.  I love our Urban Outfitters branch hook that hangs behind out guest bedroom door.  It’s functional, but it looks so cute when it’s not in use. 

Bathroom Essentials:

Keep at least one drawer empty or nearly empty for guests to store their belongings and tell guests they can use that drawer.  I also keep q-tips, kleenex, band aids, and assorted pain relievers in this drawer.

I have a love for all things miniature.  This happens to come in handy for some guests.  I stock up on travel sized items such as shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste and brushes, bar soap, lotion, chapstick, and deodorant.  I just wander through the travel section of Target and pick up things I use on a regualar basis.  I keep a box in the bathroom with all the extras.  If someone forgets something, I have a back up ready.

Extra Credit:

Give yourself 10 points if you have any of the following items:

1.  Nightlights.  I have a few stowed away in the guest drawer.  I make sure to plug one in the bathroom.  Most adults don’t want one in their bedroom. 

2.  A nightstand with a drawer.  A nightstand is worth 5 points.  I keep lotion, kleenex, mints, Tylenol,  and a small first aid kit in the drawer.  Throw in a bible for the real hotel effect and an extra 5 points.

3.  A clock with an alarm.  Most people use their phones these days, but it’s nice to have back up. 

4.  Bedside carafe.  I used two glasses from World Market-one tall and skinny and another short, fat one stacked on top.  It’s nice to have water close by.

5.  Snacks.  You can keep a few granola bars or crackers, to tide over any hunger.  Mints and chocolates are good in my book.

6.  Books and magazines.  To keep your guests from getting bored, of course.  If you’re really good, throw in some literature about your city-hot spots and destinations.  I myself am not that good.

7.  A fan.  We have a ceiling fan with three settings, but you can have a standing fan, too.  Whatever floats your boat. 

8.  Slippers and a robe.  Again, the real hotel effect.

9.  A mirror.  What is better than a mirror?  A full length mirror.  We have a decorative mirror hanging on the wall. 

10.  Great smelling bath products; salts, scrubs, bubble bath, etc. 

So, what do you do to prepare for guests?  I’m dying to know!

Be Our Guest!

The second project we tackled was our guest bedroom.  Ben actually did this when he was on crutches after his ACL surgery.  He got quite stir crazy.  He actually carried cut trim pieces in from the garage in his mouth.  He said he didn’t want to bother me to carry everything.  Cute, but crazy of him! 

We loved our honeymoon in Savannah, Georgia and wanted to bring a little of that into our home, so we added, you guessed it, white trim.  Ben also scored the amazing oak headboard from the side of the road!  Well, not quite, someone at the apartment complex was going to put it by the road, but Ben snagged it before he could get it there.  Gotta love FREE stuff! 

After Ben installed the trim, everything got a coat of white paint.  Then we painted the upper  Restoration Hardware’s Sea Green (color matched at Home Depot).  This is my absolute FAVORITE color because it changes in different lights.  Sometimes it looks green, other times it’s more blue, but always warm, inviting and amazing.  I really love the contrast between the white and blue, too.  The headboard also adds some much-needed warmth with the rich, dark wood. 

The picture above the bed is a photo I took in Savannah of Forsyth Park’s fountain.  I love the intricate frame from my great grandma.  I also refinished the chair, which is also from my great grandma.  Ben built the nightstand for me as a mother’s day gift.  As with all the other rooms in our house, the guest room has slowly evolved. 

We also like to add personal items to each room.  The shells in the apothecary jar and in the frame at the far right are from our vacations.  I also hand embroidered the butterfly pillows. 

So, there you have the phases (so far) of our guest room.