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December 10, 2010 > Real space for real people

Real space for real people

Guest room tips for a happy holiday visit

I recently visited a friend in Portland and got to stay in her beautiful guest room for the weekend. My friend thought of everything-down to the last detail. What a wonderful host she was. She even left some chocolates (made in Oregon!) on the nightstand. It inspired me to write about guest rooms and how important it is to make your guests feel at home when they come to visit.

Many of you will be hosting friends and family this holiday season, so I am writing this with you in mind. Perhaps some of these tips will contribute to a memorable and happy stay for you and your guests.

* Decorate your guest room. Often guests get relegated to the "spare room" with the left-over furniture and boxes piled up in the corner. Treat your guests to a neat and pretty room-paint the walls, purchase a new bedding ensemble, and remove miscellaneous items to the garage for the duration of their visit. My friend's guest room was decorated with old black and white family photos and accessories from her parents and grandparents. The bed had a lovely white coverlet with matching pillow shams and a few colorful throw pillows. It was delightful to look at and the whole room felt very friendly and inviting.

* Include a reading lamp on the nightstand. This is such a nice touch, but sometimes overlooked. Make it so your guests don't have to get up to turn off the light when they are ready to sleep. And a clock on the nightstand is always appreciated.

* Include extra pillows and blankets. People can be quite particular about their pillows, so if possible, have a couple of extras in the closet of varying firmness and fullness. An extra blanket is always nice idea in case the nights are chilly. And also consider fleece sheets instead of regular sheets. Fleece sheets are really toasty and warm-I have some on my own bed and I love them.

* Provide a place for your guests' clothing and personal items. Clear out part of the closet (provide hangers), empty out a drawer or two, and provide a luggage stand or bench for the suitcase so it doesn't have to be on the floor.

* Imitate the hotels and set up a "mini-bar" in the guest room with some bottled water, glasses, and perhaps a few snacks like nuts, fruit or granola bars. Some guests would not feel comfortable asking you or helping themselves to food in your kitchen, so provide a few things for them. Are they early risers? Leave the coffee pot ready to brew in the kitchen so they don't have to wait for you to get up.

* Guests sometimes forget basic necessities, so it's always nice to provide an extra toothbrush, shampoo, hair dryer, nail file, razor, hand lotion, tissues, etc. Fill a basket with grooming products and leave it in the guest room or bathroom. It will be much appreciated.

These small touches will go a long way in making your guests feel welcome in your home. Happy holidays to all of you.

Anna Jacoby of Anna Jacoby Interiors is a local interior designer. Send your design questions to her at Call or fax her at 510-490-0379 or visit

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