How to Set Up an Overnight Guest Area in Your Small Apartment
Your microapartment on the Upper West Side may be close to everything, but it’s definitely not what you’d call roomy. Still, cozy accommodations have their charm, especially when the setup is right. A 400-square-foot abode may seem teensy to you, but designers have certainly done a lot with less. Take, for instance, architect Luke Clark Tyler who famously built a liveable space out of a 78-square-foot unit. (His advice? Focus on efficiency in your home improvement projects, and ditch the kitchen if you don’t use it.) Still, when you’re hosting house guests in a small space, things can get awfully hairy fast. Privacy and comfort are in short supply here, which means you’ll have to work all that much harder to make sure your guest’s needs are met. Use the tips below to create dream accommodations for your visitors—even without a guest room.
Fold-Away Items Make Guest Spaces Come Alive
In a really tiny unit, a spare closet and full bed may be absolutely out of the question, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still offer your guests the amenities they expect. A fold-away futon, daybed, or Murphy bed provides great alternative bedding when you’re strapped for square-footage. Manufacturers even produce fold-out loveseats and convertible armchairs if you don’t have the room for a full sofa. But then there’s the problem of luggage. A dresser may be too bulky, but you should still offer guests a place to store their clothes that keeps them off the floor. Many a host has solved this problem by investing in a folding luggage rack. When your visitors leave, you just pack it away and stash it in a closet for next time.
Give Guests a “Room of One’s Own”—Even If It’s More Like a Nook
One of the major perks to a guest room is the privacy it affords. However, when you’re sharing a one-bedroom or studio apartment with a visitor for the next few days, it may be difficult to recreate certain luxuries. However, you can separate guest beds using curtains hung on tension rods, or a fold-out room divider. Some pioneering apartment dwellers have even sectioned off “rooms” in their studios using tall bookcases—a great trick if you host frequently and are looking for a more permanent solution. Guests also need a few other items to feel relaxed and at ease in your space—for instance, a bedside table and a light. A folding TV tray and a lightweight desk lamp will make due in a pinch, however. In addition to crisp, clean linens, which should be at the top of any guest space provisions, the bed should come with extra blankets, so visitors can make themselves comfortable. Not everyone likes the same temperature for sleeping, of course, so make sure to offer blankets in two different weights: a lighter one for those that run hot, and a heavier one for guests that like to snuggle beneath a mountain of bedding.
Tips for Shared Bathroom Spaces
Most small apartments have just one bathroom, so that means sharing a restroom when you host. Always provide guests with at least two clean towels and a washcloth, and make sure the area is scrubbed down before they arrive. That may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at some of the lackluster accommodations we’ve seen! Other things that add comfort to communal bathroom arrangements? A door that actually shuts and locks, as well as a clear countertop with space for your guest’s toiletries. If your bathroom’s vanity is a little too pinched for that, consider placing a decorative basket for such items on the top of the toilet tank. You can even provide a few toiletries of your own, such as small bottles of shampoo and conditioner, soaps, and lotion. It will absolutely make world-weary travelers feel a lot more at home.
The Tiny Touches: Ideas for Little Extras for Your Guests
Guests don’t usually expect five-star treatment when they stay with a friend, but a few additional niceties never hurt anyone. For instance, print the WiFi password, along with instructions for your TV or other electronics, on a card that you leave next to the bedside table. An eyemask and earplugs also go over well, particularly if you live in a busier part of the city. Extra pillows and a plastic laundry bag also make a nice touch. Go the extra step to ensure that your space feels welcome and clean, even if that means parting with those old boxes you’ve been holding onto. Some of the best hosts even purchase fresh flowers, a fluffy robe, or even a small gift—an item that captures the local flavor of your beloved hometown is best. With amenities like that, your visitors won’t be in a rush to get back any time soon! About the Writer Erin Vaughan is a blogger, gardener and aspiring homeowner. She currently resides in Austin, TX where she writes full time for Modernize, with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.