Confession time: I’ve always secretly wished I owned my own charming inn a la Loralie Gilmore and The Dragonfly. In all honesty, it’s a selfish wish—I’m a control freak and I love to be the reason that people are having a great time. Alas, with no Sookie and no funds, I’ve resigned to live out my innkeeper dreams by hosting the occasional family member or friend in my guest room.
The best way to discover how to create an oasis for your guest is to take note of what makes you feel comfortable when you’re the guest in someone else’s home. I’ll be honest: I’m the kind of person who will lay in bed for six hours even if my bladder is about to combust because I feel like I’m somehow inconveniencing everyone. Suffice it to say, a few extra touches that keep me from (heaven forbid) having to explicitly ask for something provides me tremendous belief. Ahead, I’m sharing six ways you can make your guest room feel like a true retreat for out-of-towners.
1. Allow for easy temperature control.
Shivering in bed at 2am is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. I’m naturally a big fan of layered bedding, to begin with, but this is crucial when it comes to having overnight guests. Be sure to add an extra quilt at the foot of the bed, and, if you live somewhere with cold seasons, consider keeping a warm wool blanket in the closet or linen cabinet for guests to use as they please. On the other hand, I’m also a major fan of keeping a plug-in fan within reach. Many guests will appreciate the white noise, even if they don’t use it to cool the room.
2. Have travel-sized toiletries on hand.
I’ve never (ever) gone on a trip and not forgotten something, and usually that something can be found in the personal care aisle of CVS. Consider stocking a glass canister with a few simple extras like toothbrushes, toothpastes, mini shampoo bottles or body wash, and even travel-size makeup wipes. Your guests will feel like they’ve practically landed at The Ritz.
3. Carve out a space for guests to unpack their clothes.
If your guests will be staying for longer than a night or two, it’s a good idea to facilitate an easy way for them to get their belongings organized so they aren’t rifling through their suitcase each morning. (Not all of us are the kind of people who pack with an If your guest room doesn’t have a dedicated closet, add a small chest of drawers (that can even double as a nightstand!) or a movable clothing rack that can be easily dismantled after your guests head home.
4. Add a dash of luxury with fresh flowers and candles.
Waking up to fresh flowers and going to sleep with scented candles are hallmarks of luxury. While it’s just a minor detail, these thoughtful acts are what truly transform a trip into a bonafide vacation.
5. Leave a carafe of water on the nightstand.
Waking up parched in the wee hours of the night is terribly inconvenient when you’re not in the comfort of your own home. Providing a glass carafe or a water bottle that guests can refill before heading to bed keeps them from navigating a dark, unfamiliar hallway in their pajamas—a gesture they’re sure to appreciate.
6. Include layered lighting.
Most of us keep decor basic in guest rooms for practical (and financial) reasons, but this is one extra step that makes a world of difference. Rather than simply relying on overhead lights, opt to bring in additional lighting options with table lamps on the nightstand, or plug-in wall sconces if space is limited. Not only does this lend a bit more ambiance in the evenings, but it also saves your guests from having to get out of bed to turn the lights out after they’ve already tucked themselves in.