“Visits always give pleasure — if not the arrival, the departure.”
June 21 is the official start of summer. That hopefully means vacation, travel and maybe even some house guests.
An extra room in your home reserved for in-laws, friends and anyone else looking for a place to crash can be so much more. This month we focus on how to spin that guest room on its head so it serves double duty – a swanky lounge for you and a welcoming space for them.
First step – whether hosting or coasting – is sleep surface. Don’t fill an extra room with a space-sucking bed or stowaway air mattress. Invest in a sleep sofa that offers style and comfort. My top choice? A memory foam sleeper sofa. Oh yeah, they exist. Not in the budget (or don’t want guests to be that comfortable), you can’t go wrong with a sexy L-shaped sofa bed with a chaise. Add a cashmere throw or a sheepskin wool blanket (the real stuff, no imitations please) and you’ve created a comfortable, elegant space everyone can enjoy.
Alright, sleep situation settled, what’s next? Every great hotel has a television, right. But who wants to clutter yet another room. My suggestion: wall mount the television and add a custom cabinet frame. This Pottery Barn mirror wall mount TV storage is, well, genius. Mirror by day, movies by night.
Speaking of wall mounted, this works for a couple other items in this room. Pin up wall sconces save you from needing heavy dresser space or end tables and eliminate the need for an electrician to hard wire. Floating shelves? Perfect to highlight your collectibles and provide your guests with a place to hold their valuables (just don’t forget the cute dishes and empty baskets – I wish more hotels thought about where we can put our watches and jewelry for the night).
While we highly encourage turning off the gadgets when you’re out visiting or relaxing at home, offering a little work space is acceptable. A pull-up tray table will do the trick. This will fit the laptop and tablet but won’t clutter the room. As our technology gets smaller, so can the furniture!
Other key accessories: poufs, pillows and plants. I’ve said it once, but it’s worth saying again, putting a living item into a room gives you a reason to go into it. Having to water that plant reminds you the room is there – another living space outside of the bedroom, kitchen or living rooms that you should use. Another cute idea? How about a goldfish. Years ago on work travel in New Orleans, a boutique hotel asked me if I wanted a goldfish in my room. Heck yeah I did. That little guy kept me company and made it feel a little more like home.
Looking to really make this space special? Think about a coffee station and mini-refrigerator. I’m not talking college dorm version, but something that makes everyone feel a little more comfortable (tea, wine, water). Hey, during those cold January mornings you won’t even have to go downstairs for your java. And if we’re being hospitable, consider adding a basket of goodies from functional to fun – shampoo, Advil, granola bars, towels. All those department store samples have to go somewhere. Why not spoil your guests. My number one rule for visitors? I don’t want them to have to ask for anything – they should have access to everything they might need. Just like home.
Customizing this space has endless options (we haven’t covered window treatments – consider black out shades or room darkening features for guests who are sleeping or for family movie nights the rest of the year; and closet storage or room dividers offer architectural design, a little privacy and maybe even a way to hide your crafting supplies). But the bottom line is to think creatively and comfortably – an elegant, relaxing and well-equipped extra room can (and should) provide pleasure upon arrival and departure.
Happy summer travels!
(On that note, the blog is taking July off…maybe we’ll come by your place for the night!)