There's nothing like imminent holiday company to point out deficiencies in your home. While we all know the dates on the calendar, somehow major celebrations land as a shock. After Thanksgiving Day, it's like a tsunami of deadlines! In my own household, both of the guest rooms double as offices: His and Hers. Honestly, it is a toss up to determine who has the greater mess, but we are competing to see who organizes best and fastest.
For days now, we've scurried around gathering stacks of unfiled documents, unopened mail and unread magazines. Papers have filled our recycling bin, and we've finally thrown out last year's received Christmas cards. The potential of an uncomfortable stay for a beloved relative is an amazing motivator. I just read an "Ask Annie" column wherein a reader confessed how uncomfortable it is to stay at her daughter's home and questioning how to arrange a hotel stay instead without offending too deeply.
To avoid being a clueless host, try to view your accommodations as if you are experiencing the space for the first time. In the typical small home, it takes a bit of focus to create a comfortable temporary visit. Very often you must consider the utilitarian before you get to the cozy and charming. I begin with an examination of what is competing for floor space: How to make room for the magical blow-up-bed? Don't be afraid to remove some of your permanent furnishings for a little while. Consider tidying up the garage or basement first. That way, you can stash extra chairs, boxed items and even a side table or dresser. Of course, cover such items to protect them from becoming accidentally soiled.
A storage bed is a great way to manage limited room space. On a day-to-day basis, you can use the storage cavity for out-of-season clothing, wrapping supplies, games, family photos and other mementos. This frees up space in a tiny guest room and enables you to eliminate dressers. These lift-up style beds range from several thousand dollars to nearly $10,000. European furniture lines typically offer the most durable models, but a few U.S. manufacturers are making these beds, too. There are many more styles of beds made with pull-out drawers under the box spring and mattress. From IKEA to Pottery Barn, you will find affordable choices.
Maximize the function of any closet in your guest area as another long-range solution to cramped space. Perhaps the guest closet is more worthy of a closet organizer system than a master closet? Imagine that household belongings might be stored in a super efficient manner and then one tall and narrow armoire can be offered to the occasional guest so that they can unpack. It has become more difficult to purchase armoires because the trend of hiding TVs in them has waned with the popularity of hanging TVs directly on a wall. Nevertheless, a good search of vintage furniture stores might yield a worthy closet. Plus, there's nothing wrong with an old-school dresser.
Don't forget amenities for your guests. Think about over-the-door hooks for bathrobes or clever storage pockets so your guest might organize their shoes, underwear or toiletries. That's also a considerate idea for a cramped bathroom, too. Remember a luggage rack, and be sure that you provide a mirror to your guests. The basics should also be checked. Be certain that there is a box of tissues, a trash can, working light bulbs in lamps and a fan or a heater to assure that the space remains the optimal temperature for the season. Ask if they want extra pillows or blankets.
Photo Credit: Bo Concept
Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego-based interior designer and author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email to [email protected] To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
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