The perfect 'guestroom' may not be a room at all—not everybody has the space for a dedicated room for guests; and even those who do more often than not have to push that room into double duty as guestroom-cum-study/gym/storeroom. Creating a pleasant and welcoming space for your guests, then, is about balancing the constraints of your space with the needs of your visitors. Since you might be using the space every day, and only occasionally pulling it into service for others, you need to think about how to integrate guest space into it. Below, we take a run through some tips and ideas for creating a welcoming, comfortable space for guests, from pull-out beds in the living room, to double-duty rooms, to dedicated spaces.
If you don't have the space for a dedicated guestroom, integrating a guest bed into a study or storage room can be done in an aesthetically pleasing and welcoming way. Rather than shoving a bed into a corner beside some shelves and cardboard boxes, think about how a bed can fit into the room, while still preserving that room's function. Floor-to-ceiling shelving will provide lots of storage space, and will create a fine headboard for a guestbed.
Sleeping sofas, or pull-out sofas, are the classic solution for both guestrooms and living room that double-up as sleeping space for visitors. When choosing a sofa-bed, it's important to give some thought to how easy it is to transform it from sofa to bed. If it's a big effort, you'll spend a frustrating hour before your guests arrive wrestling with it, leaving you flustered and out-of-sorts by the time they arrive. If it's in a room away from the main living space, you might find yourself just leaving it in its bed mode after they leave—creating needless clutter. Many modern sofa-beds have done away with complicated and heavy frames that need to be hefted and dismantled in order to create a place to sleep, so unless you're particularly energetic or handy, these are a great choice.
If you're lucky enough to have the space, providing somewhere for your guests to sit either before they go to bed or after they get up in the morning is a lovely idea. Sometimes guests need their space, too! A comfy armchair in which to read a book or the newspaper will make them feel welcome, and as if they have a place in your home that's all their own.
Whether your guests are sleeping on a pull-out bed in the living room, or in a dedicated guestroom, little touches like towels, even slippers, laid out on the bed are thoughtful and welcoming. In a dedicated guestroom, it's best to keep the decor fairly muted; you want your guests to feel your personal stamp on the design, but you don't want them to be overwhelmed by it, and to feel like they're intruding on a private space.
An often underused, or even unused space, the attic can be easily transformed into a storage and guest space with the help of a good builder. If you are converting your attic, building in good storage space from the beginning will ensure that your guests aren't surrounded by boxes and long-forgotten exercise equipment while they sleep. Instead, they'll have a cute little hideaway in which to spend the night in comfort and peace.
Another good idea for a dedicated room is to fit it out with twin beds that you can push together. When couples come to stay, they can share a 'double' bed; but you can also easily accommodate two singletons, or a brace of family members, without them having to share a single sleeping space.
An alternative to the sleeping sofa, and a great space-saver—a pull-out bed in the living room that disappears into a cupboard or wall when not in use.
As it is in every room of the home, good lighting is crucial in guestroom. Soft, low lighting will create that all-important sense of welcome and ease; even if your guests are sleeping in the living room, consider providing them with a reading lamp on a side-table by the bed that's within easy reach. To make them feel really welcome, flowers are a lovely touch.