Host with the Most (House Guests, That Is): How To Find Space For Them All

updated Jul 16, 2020
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(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

It can be a challenge to host more people than your guest room can handle. Instead of turning on your No Vacancy light, consider some creative options to offer your friends and family when your guest room is full to capacity.

During our first month in Denver, my husband and I hosted 13 people (singles and families) in our 700 square-foot 1 bedroom shotgun. We were always happy to take in our friends but made sure to let them know about the size of our accommodations ahead of time. This never seemed to be a problem for anyone—it was free, we were young, and people always seemed happy to take the sofa or sleep on an air mattress if that meant they didn’t have to spend money on a hotel. We now live in a larger house, but still seem to be short a bed or two when our friends with growing families come to visit, so we’ve come up with a few creative options so we don’t have to turn anyone away.

Go glamping. If weather and yard space allow, pitch a tent in your backyard and go glamping. Blow up an air mattress, throw some pretty blankets on the bed and add a nice little night stand or two. Run electricity in for your chargers and hey, if you’ve got one—bring out a TV! Make the place just as nice as you would a guest room. Plan on sleeping out there yourself and give up your nice comfy bedroom for your guests. If your guests have children, chat with the parents ahead of time to see if they would be interested in staying in the tent. Build a fire in the fire pit, make s’mores, and hang out in the backyard so the tent feels more like an extension of the house.

Phone a friend. Many of our friends travel during the summer months and leave behind empty houses with empty beds. While they might not be in need of a house sitter, they could be open to the idea of letting you “borrow” their home while they are away. We’ve done this a few times with close friends when our family came to town and it worked out beautifully. There was a bit of pre-planning on the arrival/departure date on our visitors end, but they were happy to accommodate for free lodging. Our guests were on their best behavior and made sure to leave a clean house with a nice thank you gift when they left.

You’ve never tried Airbnb? Now might be the perfect time! While this isn’t a cost effective option for everyone, you might consider offering to rent a nearby apartment for your visitors. Cramped quarters can lead to many frustrations—sometimes its just nice to have a place to retreat to at the end of the day so you can rest, rejuvenate and be ready to do it all again (with a positive attitude) tomorrow. If your group wants to stay together under the same roof, check in to renting a large house with luxury accommodations. What you spend on the rental you can save on expensive dinners out and other activities you might have spent big $$$ on to get you out of a cramped house.

Consider Rental Wheels. A vintage Airstream or a brand new fully-loaded RV rental is an experience your guests will never forget. Be sure to check with your city, HOA’s, and your lovely neighbors before biting the bullet and bringing one home.

Invest in double-duty furniture. If you’ve set up an office in one of your rooms, try to incorporate a day bed or pull out couch into the room layout. A daybed with a trundle underneath is a much more convenient, space-saving option than sharing your office with a queen sized bed. Be sure to have the bed pulled out and ready for your guests when they arrive -it will feel more like a guest room and less like they are sleeping in an office.

Be the Mattress King/Queen. I feel the same way about air mattresses as Kevin McCallister did about sleeping up in his parents’ attic. It’s usually the last option to offer your guests, but it is much more pleasant than sleeping on the floor. Invest in a good air mattress, or foam mattress that can be easily stored away. Air mattresses can be set up anywhere and are a great option if you live in a studio, or small apartment because they can be inflated/deflated when not in use and stored away. We own a few small foam mattresses that are great for kids to sleep on when they visit. We store them under the queen bed in the guest room and pull them out just before bedtime. It’s nice for the kids to be able to share the same room with their parents while they are staying in an unfamiliar place.

What are some of your favorite tips and tricks to maximize space and help everyone have a good nights sleep?

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