There’s an informative and inspirational article in the blog entitled How to Create a Welcoming Guest Bedroom. It’s along the lines of omotenashi, the Japanese art of hospitality. The English translation does not capture the meaning of the Japanese word which goes beyond the usual kind-hearted reception of guests in our abodes. Omotenashi is not only the heartfelt openness to welcome a guest into one’s space, but also the guest’s appreciation and respectful custody of the space and objects given to him for temporary use.
Sanaol guests are like this. Unfortunately, there are those that fit what Benjamin Franklin said that “guests, like fish, smell after three days.”
If you live in one of the top places to visit in the world, chances are you will get calls even from long-lost acquaintances of the forgotten past, who would like to come and visit and of course, expect free board and lodging while they play tourist. You become what is known as a postal code friend. Let me tell you, it can be exhausting.
I actually enjoy having loved ones—family or friends—come and visit. But I am lucky that most of my loved ones know their way around the house, pick up after themselves, help with shopping, cooking and cleaning, and don’t mind exploring the city on their own (some of them at least). So for those of you who have plans to visit your friends abroad, be prepared to be independent and not expect to be waited on hand and foot by hosts who are not on vacation themselves.
“Guest Rooms” Reinvented
After the pandemic, the urge to travel and visit places or loved ones ramped up to fever pitch that revenge travel became a phenomenon. Some people opted to become guests of family and friends instead of choosing for hotels and the like.
But with the pandemic, we also know that work from home or online learning became the norm. For most people, this meant that guest bedrooms (if they had the luxury of having that in the first place) were turned into functional spaces as a home office or a study space. In fact, other functional spaces like kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms, or even awkward nooks (under the stairs, for example), were turned into spaces that could double as office or study.
So, how can you accommodate guests if you don’t live in a mansion but just in a small home of 100 sqm or less? Here are some tips.
There are sectional sofas that can be reconfigured to become guest beds when night falls. A sectional sofa is versatile enough to allow maximum seating space but can also turn into guest beds when you move them around.
Do clean your sofa regularly by vacuuming it, wiping down non-fabric parts, or steam it to get rid of dust mites. Provide a mattress protector before you put the sheets on.
A Bed by Any Other Name
If I had a choice, I want at least a queen-sized bed all to myself.
However, for guests, this is usually a luxury. You can always get a daybed, a trundle bed, a bunk bed, a futon, a Murphy bed, an air bed, a hammock…
A daybed can double as additional seating in the living room, just like a trundle bed. Just scatter throw pillows to make it look less of a bed during the day. A bunk bed would fit in an enclosed space, if there is such a space, because there is no way to camouflage this. A Murphy bed is the best camouflage (see feature image). You could always pull it up and it becomes part of a wall. A futon is also quite flexible. There’s the Japanese shikibuton that you can roll out when it’s time for bed, or those that sit on metal frames that you can change from a sofa setting to a bed setting. An air bed is one that you blow up. Important: Buy an air pump. A hammock takes some getting used to. For nimble and agile people who are in for a bit of adventure, this should be fine. But for seniors, forget it.
Then there’s the banig! That’s the easiest but it could mean a hard night for your guests. Or those thin, light foam mattresses that you can bring out when guests arrive and who are willing to be floor leaders. But the problem would be storage.
Other Guests’ Needs
Here are the following things you have to prepare for when you have guests arriving:
- storage space for their luggage
- cabinet space to hang clothes
- small storage containers for shirts, underwear, etc.
- a welcome basket for towels and toiletries would be helpful
For smaller homes where you have no guest rooms and guests may have to stay in the living room, then it would be difficult to offer them privacy. But if both guest and host remain flexible, the visit could still be quite enjoyable.
House Guest Etiquette Rules
House guests, listen up! You have the power to make your stay as enjoyable for your hosts too. Here are the things you can do to make your stay more pleasant:
- Be clear about how long you are staying. Staying 3 days is polite, unless you are family who has come from far away. Still, be clear about your departure date.
- Follow house rules, like leaving your shoes at the door, or not leaving dirty dishes in the sink.
- Be mindful about not staying too long in the bathroom, especially if there is only one in the house! And if your hosts have to work, give them first dibs in the morning.
- Be extremely helpful. Don’t just sit there on the sofa and vegetate while your hosts are preparing a meal. In fact, you can even offer to prepare the meals.
- Be self-sufficient. In this day and age with social media, the internet, and apps, getting around the city should not be a problem. Info about museums or restaurants—like how to get there, ticket prices—can be researched easily.
- Dress appropriately around the house. Take your cue from your host.
- Don’t be messy. If possible, leave the place cleaner than how you found it. Return things to where you got them. Go as far as asking your host if you want the bed stripped before you leave.
- Last of all, bring a gift, or take your host out for a meal, then send a thank you note a few days after you’ve left.
Any more tips you can think of? Leave a comment below.
Even if you’re staying with family, don’t take their hospitality for granted. Take care of them as they take care of you. That way, repeats are something that everyone will look forward to.
There you go, keep these in mind if you’re thinking of staying with a friend for your upcoming vacation.
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