I Just Spent the Night in My Guest Bedroom — Here Are 4 Things I’m Changing About It
My family moved from Detroit to Denver when I was in elementary school. I missed my friends and family, so I launched quite the grassroots marketing campaign to spread the gospel of my new state and get visitors to Colorado. Each of my handwritten invitations came with a promise: Esteemed houseguests would sit in the West-facing chair at the dinner table, enjoying views of the majestic Rocky Mountains. I also tucked in a nugget of fool’s gold as a nod to Colorado’s mining past and closed out the invitations with a reminder that you can’t spell Colorado without “RAD!”
Nearly three decades later, the secret’s out about Colorado and it doesn’t take much to convince people to come visit. I still very much enjoy hosting friends who come to Colorado for Red Rocks concerts, the Great American Beer Festival, or even an extended layover. So, when I was shopping for homes just outside of Denver, having an extra bedroom to host friends and family was among the features that wasn’t on my must-haves list, but was definitely high in the “would-be-nice” category.
Over the past few years, the spare room has played host to several guests (many of whom I met as a travel writer and took me up on the offer of “If you’re ever in Colorado…”) But it wasn’t until recently — when I didn’t sync up washing my bed linens with my bed time very well — that I spent a night in my guest room. I wish this was something I would have thought to do sooner because after just one night in the spare room, I noticed its shortcomings.
With travel largely on pause during the coronavirus, I’ve taken some time to do an update to my guest room. Here are four things I’m changing during my guest room renovation.
Hanging black-out curtains
My own bedroom is toward the back of my house. My guest bedroom, however, faces a busy street. It wasn’t until I slept in the guest bedroom that I realized how much yellow light from the street lights was pouring into the room, even through the beige curtains. It was so bright that it almost felt as though headlights were shining directly into the second-story room. The guest room, I found, also gets drenched with morning light — and those UV rays heat up the room quickly. My solution: I’m shopping for blackout curtains that I hope will reduce not just the light that seeps in but will, hopefully, keep the room cooler on sunny mornings.
Plugging in a white noise machine
My quasi-urban neighborhood has a unique soundscape. In the fall, you can faintly hear the marching band during Friday night football games at the nearby high school. A train whistles most nights around 10 p.m. I also live by a fire station, so cue the occasional wee-owws as well. But, again, since the guest bedroom faces a main street, I never realized that the street traffic isn’t just an occasional disruption, but rather a steady stream of noise. The newest amenity in my guest room is a white noise machine. I also have some earplugs on hand if my guests prefer.
Installing a full-length mirror
I had the basic amenities covered: Ample lighting, a tray on the nightstand to collect jewelry, hangers and hooks in the closet and a notecard with the WiFi password to my network, DropItLikeItsHotSpot. But I was missing a full-length mirror. I ordered one in gold (sticking to that Colorado mining theme). That way, my guests will be able to make sure their pretzel necklaces are on straight before heading out to beer fests.
Adding extra comforts
COVID-19 disrupted just about every aspect of life, including sleep. For the past year, I’ve been extra conscientious of my own nightly routine to help myself relax before bed. So, I’ve added a sleeping kit to my guest bedroom, with some of the products that have been helping me get extra ZZZ’s. So far, it includes a lavender pillow spray and a sleep mask, but before the guest room reopens, I’d like to add in some individual packages of melatonin gummies, something I swear by when traveling. A few other ways to elevate the guest experience? Add a vase of fresh flowers, a foldable luggage rack, reading materials, and a toiletries kit, says Bonnie Tsai, founder and director of Beyond Etiquette.