How do you fit the guest room into your household scheme?

marylizJuly 7, 2008

I'm starting this new thread after posting on this threadhref> an analysis of the guest room at hubby's parents' cottage.

I admit it. I used to do it, too. I used to use my guest room for a junk room, but I'd carefully hide any evidence of that use before a guest came over, which was very, very infrequently. Which was why it was so very tempting to let the room lie fallow like that.

When I found FlyLady, and I decided to turn the junk room / guest room into a reading room with a sleeper sofa. I am making slow but steady progress on that project.

After my own recent mis-adventure with someone else's idea of a guest room, I got to thinking...

Why, despite all our good intentions, do we end up making a guest stay in a room that we wouldn't want to stay in? Why don't we try out our own guest rooms from time to time to see exactly what would make them more comfortable for a human, and less so for our unused junk?

Do any of you have guest rooms? Or do you let guests have your room while you sleep elsewhere? What else do you use that room for, when nobody is sleeping in there? What measures have you taken to make the room able to convert back and forth from its everyday use to guest room use? What types of compromise are you willing to accept? What won't you accept?

What has been your experience in the guest rooms of others? Have you noticed any ideas we can use for our own homes?

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maryliz...actually it was the guest room that really got me started on de-cluttering. The guest room, where mostly my mom uses one a year on her anual visit was packed with stuff that I couldn't fit elsewhere. The ironing board, the suitcases, the empty boxes from newer things I might need someday, the christmas decorations that didn't fit in the closet, extra blankets and quilts...I could go on and on.

My mothers visit in usually in the summer, so a month or more before she arrives, I start my daily trips to bring this stuff out to the RV. After she leaves I truck it all back in the room, as we cannot use the RV with all this stuff in it.

FINALLY this year, I started to realize that just about nothing that I am trucking back and forth ever gets used. So, I ask myself, why am I doing it? Good question and this year I came up with the makes no sense. So I started to give the stuff away to the thrift shop...I am still working on it as I have until the 3rd. week of August before it needs to be ready for my guest.

Great post! Also I read the other day on another organizing site things you should have in a guest room for your guests. I will try and find it and link it!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 12:47PM
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Found it !

Here is a link that might be useful: Guest room check list...

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 12:49PM
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Oh boy, do I relate to this! I realized after having to stay in my guest room for six weeks one time (when my dad had a stroke during a visit) that it needed major changes.

In order to make the room work for me daily because the room is small, I decided to downsize the bed (from a double) to a twin size with trundle. I got a beautiful wooden daybed, put on a quilt with black background and some microfiber body pillows that double as bolsters. We painted the room, adding some color to the ceiling as well as the walls and shopped for some decent mattresses, thinking there may be an occasion (sickness) that one of us might have to sleep in there. Since we usually only have one guest at a time, during those rare events when there is a couple, we make it work with the trundle even though it's tight. Since I also use the bed for folding laundry, there's an antique clothes rack in the corner so guests can hang up their clothes. (The rest of the time I air-dry my wet laundry there, with the ceiling fan turned up high.) I tucked a folding rack for suitcases behind the door, which we use when guests arrive as a landing spot for their bags. The only other furniture in the room is a table with a lamp, alarm clock and a tray for bottled water; there is also a tall, skinny bookcase with three drawers for holding sheets and towels, extra reading material, free weights, and a small television (for watching while walking on the treadmill). Both our mothers requested a night light when staying here, so there's one plugged into two outlets, and a floor lamp next to the bed for reading.

Getting rid of the double bed and downsizing to a twin, allowed for a bigger pathway to the closet, where dh keeps his clothes. He has more room to get dressed and move around. Since we use the room daily, I really need it to work for us as well as guests! Because this small room has to do triple duty, I can't afford to let it accumulate clutter. I also can't seem to exercise or use the treadmill, or manage my laundry very well unless the room is calm and serene.

I can see how easy it could be to let an ''extra'' room (for guests or old furniture) turn into something undesirable. You know, staying in the room you provide for guests, should Always be a house requirement!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 1:27PM
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Maryliz...I just now read your post...and am realizing that some of the things you went through, I also put my mother not having hanging space in the closet. I did put up a behind the door hanger, but clothes get piles on it and my mother likes to look well ironed. Also lack of drawer space so that she has to keep her things in her suitcase the entire time.

I am sure there are other things have caused me to look and be aware of what my visitor(s) would have to go through. Yikes! I am ashamed...I just read and do believe...Awareness is the first step to change. Thank you for making me aware!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 1:30PM
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When we remodeled our house we set aside two rooms as guest rooms. Then we had two sets of visitors. No problem, you think? The electric company had other ideas. No power, then, when the power came back on, and it was hot and humid, one a/c broke. The guest rooms were too hot for sleeping, so our visitors camped out in whatever rooms were cool enough.
We do have lots of empty closet space in the guest rooms, though.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 2:10PM
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Thanks for the guest room checklist!

    Bookmark   July 7, 2008 at 2:38PM
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Our guest room doubles as my sewing room. So the challenge was to meet both needs. I think that a guest room should be like a really good hotel room. Think about what is included in the best hotel you've been in, and start from there. Decorating the room simply and peacefully also makes it a wonderful place for me to work in.
For me, that includes a foot friendly rug, a comfortable bed (we also have a daybed with trundle, and the trundle pops up to form a large bed for couples, or two beds for two people).
It includes good reading light and a surface on both sides of the bed, for which I use swing-arm wall lamps placed low enough so that when you are sitting up in bed, the light falls on your book but not in your eyes). There's a clock radio with an alarm feature, too.
It includes a chest of drawers and a desk/dressing table. I keep fabric in three out of four of the chest's drawers, and leave one empty for guests to unpack into. The desk is a nice white-painted faux bamboo/wicker affair with one shallow drawer over the knee space, and three drawers down one side. I had a piece of glass cut to fit the top, and hemmed a piece of the drapery material to fit under it; there's also a good task lamp on it. When we have guests, I put a small basket of local brochures and a few chocolates on it, along with a tray of water and glasses, a pad and pen, and a little silver dish of safety pins. My sewing machine is a portable, it lives in the closet floor, and it goes onto that desk when I am sewing. The drawers hold all my tools and notions, with an empty shallow wooden tray in half of the shallow drawer for guests to use. There's a small TV on the dresser, and two small night stands, each with one drawer and bookshelf space below it. I keep books that I think might be good for bedtime reading...some picture books, some about local history, some collections of short stories, and some of my favorite quirky ones.
I keep some good hangers in the closet (which I use for other things, but I make space when we have company coming), and a sticky roller hanging on a hook inside the door - we have cats. There are extra pillows and an extra quilt on the closet shelf, and a luggage rack as well.
The only thing missing is daily maid service. Which turns out to be me. Ah, well, someday.....

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 10:39AM
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I have done a few of those things, Brownysmom, such as the brochures for local attractions, extra toiletries, stationery, etc., but your list gives me some new ideas. Thanks.

My guest room used to house a king-size bed that only saw a few nights of use about every other year. My cats used the room to take naps. Lots of hair built up on the dusty bed covers. Yuck! I rarely set foot in there, except to hang clothes that wouldn't fit in my closet. (The master bedroom closets are like broom closets!)

After the first round of decluttering, I have decided that my guest room would make a great reading room. I think the two purposes blend well. Comfy chairs and reading lights are appreciated by both readers and overnight guests. I need some kind of sleeper sofa, but the rest is already here, just needing another round of decluttering and rearranging.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 12:01PM
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I just found out last evening that my DH friend from across the country has made plans to visit with us. I thought that would be fine, but really didn't expect it to be for 2 whole weeks ! And actually I was thinking it wouldn't probably work out at all. I would have been relieved, but no...Aug. 1st, not a long time away.
I am between panicking and really de-cluttering as I only do when I am in an anxious mood!
Thank you for all the good ideas on this post. I will sure put them to good use! How timely for me this post was!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2008 at 1:04PM
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Our guest room doubles as the living room.

We have a REALLY comfortable sleeper sofa--so comfortable that it's not made anymore. And I keep the extra linens in a picnic basket under the end table.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 6:20PM
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I used to have just a guest room. Not for anything other than a guest room. But then it was such a waste of space. A completely vacant room when I needed an office or a homeschool room or a craft room. We ended up having a travel trailer for guests instead. But now we're selling that as well. Can't keep the mice out when not in use. But it works really well for company. Complete w/kitchen, shower/tub and their own place, tv, living room. We just don't have time to maintain it anymore. I don't know what we'll do. My dh's family has their own trailer and will probably haul it when they come. Otherwise it's just "mom" and she can stay in my dd's room.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 6:37PM
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No guest room here - it would just be a waste of space. We do have a sleeper sofa downstairs in the TV room...conveniently uncomfortable to discourage long stays. ;-)

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 11:18AM
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Technically we have 2 guest rooms, now that all the kids have left. Because of changes in our own br, DH and I have been using the guest rooms for the past week. You really learn a lot when you live in a room for any length of time. I learned that the room does not have good lighting (needs a wall lamp over the bed), does not have any place to hang clothes (must declutter the closet), needs a low chair for putting on shoes and socks, and needs much more space on the dresser top. This room is normally used for computer work, and could stand a big amount of filing and organizing. I also found the room could stand a better job of cleaning, since there were many cobwebs hanging from the ceiling!

The other guest room is the TV room, and is used only by our sons when they visit. This room is our real junk room, and needs a big reorganization and decluttering. My DH is using this room right now, but doesn't complain because all he does is look at TV and sleep. Sometimes I think men don't see the same way women do. So thanks, everyone, for getting me thinking about what I should do to make things more comfortable for company. And I'll sure be glad when we can get back to our own room.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 6:13PM
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AnnEllis, if you have the hookup, can you rent a travel trailer for the days that someone is visiting?

Or borrow one from a friend, in exchange for giving it a good cleaning?

Oh, and plow_in is right--you really don't know what a room is like until you use it for the purpose it's intended. And in that spirit, may I encourage you all to sleep for 3 or 4 nights in your guest bed?

Some sofa beds are excruciating (I know ours is comfortable, bcs I've slept on it for two weeks at a time, in the past). And some real beds are annoying. I slept for 2 weeks on my DB's and SIL's guest bed, and the sheets pop off every time you roll over. Bed garters would be a huge improvement there--but you probably wouldn't realize it unless you actually slept in the bed.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2008 at 6:37PM
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I have two guest rooms that are pretty much left to be only that. One has a full bed, a night stand and an armoire. The shelves in the armoire serve as my linen closet for quilts since I don't have a linen closet. One of the drawers I use for "that may fit me again some day and when it does I MiGHT want to wear it" stuff. It's actually fairly empty. The other drawer I leave empty for guest use. No one ever uses it. The drawer, I mean. The closet is small. I keep half of it filled with boxes containing the Christmas decorations. I live in Texas and it's too hot to keep that stuff in the attic. The other half of that closet I leave free for guests to hang things. There are plenty of hangars in there for that.

The other guest room has a queen bed plus a bench that can be sat on plus a nightstand. It also has a tv plus a laptop so guests can check their email or whatever. That closet is slightly bigger. About half of it is full of scrapbooking supplies I can't bring myself to get rid of yet although I seldom scrapbook. The clothes rods are about 3/4 full of overflow clothes. The rest provide hanging space for guests.

The great, great value to me in using those guest rooms almost exclusively as guest rooms is that there are always two rooms in my house that are spotlessly clean and uncluttered. I find them calming to look at. Okay, here's a nutty thing. When I'm away from home I have to guard against anxiety. Mostly that's accomplished by making sure I get enough sleep. (I type at 3:33a because I can't sleep because I have strep throat and I feel like my throat is being shredded by glass. But typing this response has helped get my mind off this incredibly horrific pain.) But another thing that truly helps me is to have pictures (on my phone) of rooms in my house that are clean and clutter free. It makes me feel at home and soothed. I try very hard to guard against clutter in all rooms but sometimes things start to pile up. Then I have to get back after it. De-cluttering is an ongoing process.

BTW, when given a choice, my company almost always chooses the guest room with the queen bed. I think it's because it has the tv and the computer.

Not that you asked, but let me add what bothers me about other people's guest rooms. No offense is intended. Just something to think about if you haven't.

I'm perfectly happy to stay in a hotel if I visit someone. But I have one friend in particular who is very offended if I won't stay with them. Last time I went, I stayed for 4 days or so. Too long for me but not long enough for them. They love having me stay with them. When they come visit me, they stay at least 8 nights. WAY too long for me but they don't know that. Anyway, back to my last visit. They put me in their son's room. I slept in a futon. It was very uncomfortable. The room was very, very cluttered with toys and junk. There was no hanging space in the closet. I didn't have any drawer space. I had to live out of my suitcase. At least it was an improvement on the time I stayed a week to help them through a family difficulty. Then I was given the sofa bed in the main family room. They stayed up sitting on that sofa bed until midnight so I couldn't go to bed until then. The kids woke up at 6a ready for me to play with them. I wasn't given any closet space anywhere or drawer space. I had not one shred of privacy. In a 4000 square foot house, mind you.

My advice for guests you like and want is to give them some PRIVACY! Give them a good bed and good pillows and blankets. Give them a fan. A lot of people sleep with a fan. Give them a nightlight. Give them closet space and drawer space. Give them an alarm clock. If they're more tech aware, give them an alarm clock with an ipod dock. Give them a water carafe. Give them fresh flowers. Give them current magazines. Give them snacks - cookies or m&ms plus some fruit. I just remembered someone put a link to a checklist above so a lot of this may be redundant but I'll leave it here for those who don't like to click over to links. Give your guests access to a computer for checking email. Give them a tv with a remote and a sleep timer and a channel guide. A lot of people are unsettled in unfamiliar beds and they like having a tv to watch when they're trying to settle down.

Okay, that's all. My throat is still killing me but I need to go try to get some more sleep.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 5:01AM
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I know what ya mean about the uncomfortable bed linens! When we stay with hubby's parents, they have a nice guest room, but the fancy silk-covered quilted comforter slips off the bed repeatedly in the night, leaving us freezing, with just a fancy jacquard sheet. Not very restful. And since that room gets a lot of guests, I wonder why nobody has been able to impress upon my MIL that the comforter is as useless as it is fancy. We certainly tried.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2008 at 7:27AM
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