Our Best Advice for Hosting Guests in Your Living Room

published Aug 4, 2017
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Alison (Image credit: Elissa Crowe)

Having a guest room would be nice, but for a lot of us living in small apartments (or small homes), that’s just not possible. But just because they can’t go in their own room and shut the door doesn’t mean you can’t make your guests (almost) as comfortable as if they’d sprung for a hotel. Here’s some of our best advice for hosting guests in your living room.

Test out the guest ‘bedroom’ before your guests arrive

Whether you’re accommodating your guests on a sleeper sofa, an air mattress, or just your couch plus a few blankets and pillows, consider spending the night in your “guest room” to put yourself in your guests’ shoes. Maybe it’ll inspire you — to upgrade your air mattress, to get a mattress pad for that lumpy sofa bed, to provide a fan to block out street noise. Nothing is more powerful than walking a mile in another man’s shoes (or sleeping a mile in their bed).

Provide a lamp!

I always like to wind down before bed by turning the lights down to a nice cozy level. Going straight from bright overhead lighting to complete darkness can be a little jarring — not to mention the hazard of walking from the light switch to your couch bed in pitch darkness in an unfamiliar place. Providing a lamp close to your guests’ bed is a nice touch, both for comfort and (potentially) safety.

Don’t skimp on proper bedding

It may not get used very often, but your guests will appreciate it if you make it a point to get proper bedding for your guest-bed-that-isn’t-a-bed. A skimpy couch throw that barely covers your feet when the A/C is on full blast would surely make for some uncomfortable nights. Blankets (or a comforter) and extra pillows will be appreciated.

Provide a spot for their luggage

They may not have a bedroom, but if you can provide your guests with a luggage rack (or even a chair to prop their suitcase open on) they’ll feel like they have a little spot that’s theirs. In lieu of a luggage rack, you could clear an out-of-the-way spot on the floor for your guests’ suitcases. Try to leave a little extra room, so they’ll have space to spread out and won’t have to pack everything back in their suitcase every day. Bonus points if you clear a little space in the coat closet for hanging clothes, or provide wall hooks. (One of those fold out hooks that hangs over the door would do the job nicely.)

Give your guests a little space

Everybody, even friends so close they don’t mind crashing on your couch, appreciates a little privacy sometimes. You might want to retreat to your room a half hour or so before bedtime, to give them a little time to wind down on their own. Do your friends like to sleep in? Consider going out for breakfast or coffee so they won’t be woken up by noise in the kitchen.

Anticipate your guests’ other needs, too

Clear a path to the nearest outlet so they can charge their phone. Write down the wi-fi network and password on a card (or maybe text it to them). Put out some extra towels in the bathroom. This kind of consideration will go a long way toward making them comfortable, even in a really small space.

Have any tips for hosting overnight guests? Any little things that always make you feel comfortable when staying at a friend’s place? Share in the comments!

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Having an assortment of lighting in your living room is a good way to help your guests get comfortable and wind down at the end of the evening. Arquer 66.93″ Arched Floor Lamp, $73.56 from Wayfair. (Image credit: Wayfair)