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The invited or uninvited guest

SPONSORED — Being a standout host is something of a lost art but, with a little extra thought and preparation, you can offer your guests five-star treatment that will earn you rave
reviews. Here are the top three ways to be the perfect host by making guests feel welcome and truly comfortable and if you succeed they may come visit more often than you want.

Start with the essentials

Success with hosting requires some forethought and planning to get a leg up on your guests’ expectations. The end goal is to help friends or family feel at home while making their time with you an elevated, memorable experience.

A little pampering can go a long way to communicating how much you care, so start with the little things:

“Fresh sheets and blankets on the bed, coverings on the windows, a working light, bath towels, a wastebasket, an extra blanket and a cleared shelf or drawer” will go a long way, according to the owners of locally owned Bedrooms and More.

Looking for an extra touch? Consider adding toiletries like soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion. Travel-size bottles are available in many grocery stores and pharmacies.

Make space to unpack and store

Guests will notice and appreciate a dedicated area for travel items and personal belongings. Take the time before guests arrive to clear dresser or table surfaces to make room.

If you don’t have a free surface available, consider bringing in a folding table they can rest their suitcase and other items on.

For extra storage, add small baskets or boxes to the room for towels, linens and other items they may pick up during their stay, to keep the space clutter-free.

Make space in the guest closet, if you haven’t already, so they can store clothes and coats. Provide an ample number of empty hangers, so guests feel free to unpack as much (or as little) as they want.

Ensure a good night’s sleep

Whether you’re excited to host, or just hoping to get through the week(s), having something ready for them to sleep on is now your reality. So what are you going to do about it? You could pump up an airbed…sending the message, “I don’t want you here.”

Maybe you can go big and put them up in a spare bedroom; because you have the space that some of us lack. But if you’re living in the city, where space is at a premium, there are some small scale solutions which happen to be really versatile, and legitimately comfortable.

The Sleeper Sofa – it’s true that most of them suck; not long enough for tall guests, and not supportive enough for any guest. However, there is a unicorn out there…a sleeper with a mattress that is actually the same size as a real bed, and doesn’t have funky bars digging into your back all night. American Leather* makes great sleeper sofas. They’re super stylish, super functional, and super comfortable (as both sofa and bed); available in fabric or leather, with tons of arm styles and finishes, you can convert any space into a guest-room.

The Futon – okay, so it’s not the best couch, and it’s not the best bed, but it does the job. The angle of the seat on futons can be a bit of a turn off, but as far as value goes, it’s hard to beat. Solid wood frames and simple futon mattresses, which are pretty comfortable, can be had for prices that fit into almost any budget. It doesn’t say sophisticated, but it is practical.

The Cabinet Bed – Also called Murphy Cabinets, these are functional and versatile. Basically the size of a dresser, a cabinet bed can work in any part of the home. They open into a queen size mattress (or smaller sizes), but can easily function at a TV stand or buffet table. There is space to store the bedding for making up your guest bed, and the mattresses are more comfortable than any sleeper sofa (except maybe an American Leather). Additionally, they can be moved from place to place and room to room, unlike its older cousin the Murphy bed (or Wall-bed).

*Bedrooms & More is having a sale on American Leather 10% Off March 1st through March 11th.

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