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Guest Rooms

The Christmas festivities often mean extended entertaining and guests looking for a bed for the night. If you’re short on space, this can seem like a daunting prospect. Even those with dedicated spare rooms can be sent into a spin as they frantically try to sort out a space that has become nothing more than a room for dumping all that stuff you keep meaning to sort.

But a little effort can turn chaos into calm, and offer a place where even the fussiest of guests will want to rest their heads.

THE SPARE ROOM
Well done if your spare room is super clean and organised but it will still need airing if it hasn’t been used for a while. Wash bedding and open the windows. There’s a temptation with spare rooms to keep them neutral but that can translate into boring beige. Brighten up the space with new bedding, cushions and a throw. Layer bedding so guests can adjust the warmth to their personal comfort levels. If the bed needs a revamp, consider buying a new headboard for a quick update and make the bed super soft with thick mattress toppers.

Look at lighting. No one wants a bright ceiling light before they go to bed. “Lighting, in any space, is the key to creating an inviting atmosphere,” says Anna Howell, interiors editor at Chaplins. For an unusual twist to the usual bedside light, choose a bedside unit with lighting that runs underneath it to help orientate your guests in their new boudoir, she adds. In the winter, guests are unlikely to be woken too early with the sun glaring in but late party nights call for lie-ins so make sure blinds and curtains fit well.

Think about finishing touches. Says Anna: “No matter how diligently your guests think they’ve packed, there’s always a little something that gets left behind. Take the time to stock the bedside table with the essentials: tissues, toiletries and a silk eye mask for light sleepers. Once that’s done, top things off with a carafe of water, water glasses and a stylish alarm clock.”

Interior designer Penny Morrison suggests... “good bedside lighting, cosy cashmere throws, antique jug of wild flowers, a couple of good books, lovely soaps and bath oils, big white fluffy bath towels and robes, notebook and pens, lots of coat hangers in cupboards, a hairdryer and magnifying mirror, plus a stool or chair to throw things on...”

You could also add a small box to store jewellery, keys and small change; provide sockets free from plugs so guests can charge their electronics, and even a snack tray is a welcome touch.

MAKING SPACE
If you don’t have a spare room, you can still offer a spare bed. Room dividers are a great way of cornering off a space to make a private place to sleep. A room used as an office can be made more appealing simply by using a divider to screen off a computer-laden desk (just make sure electronics won’t be whirring all night long) or you can divide up an open-plan living area after the party has finished.

Sofa beds have come a long way and can be super comfy and luxurious. Velvet is still a top trend for sofas and those that double into a bed have the added advantage of then offering a plush headboard.

If you’re not in the market for a new sofa, there are ingenious footstools, ‘beds in a box’ and chairs that fold out into a single bed. The same principles apply to a temporary space as to a spare room – make your guests comfortable and welcome. And in makeshift bedroom areas, small touches such as eye masks and ear plugs may be particularly useful.

 Willow & Hall The Bishopstrow Living it up