Be my guest

If you are lucky enough to have a spare room, you might as well make the most of it, writes

Waikato Times - Your Weekend (Waikato Times) - - At Home -

Hav­ing a guest room could be con­sid­ered a lux­ury given the high cost of hous­ing to­day. But many empty-nesters love the fact that once the chil­dren have left they can fi­nally ded­i­cate a room to this pur­pose – even if it is of­ten used by their adult chil­dren.

The first thing you will prob­a­bly need to do once posters and cer­tifi­cates are off the walls, is to give the room a fresh coat of paint. Neu­tral tones are def­i­nitely the way to go. They will make the room seem light, airy and spa­cious. A fea­ture wall­pa­per wall be­hind the bed can also work well.

New cur­tains or blinds and new bed linen may also be re­quired. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a for­tune – there are plenty of great chain-store buys that are per­fect for guest bed­rooms.

And bed­side tables are a must, but again, you can find cheap or sec­ond-hand ver­sions to paint over. A small round ta­ble is an­other good idea.

Host­ing guests in your home is not just about the ba­sics, how­ever, it’s also about mak­ing guests feel com­fort­able.

Kaisla Quinn and Ash­leigh Kears­ley know all about wel­com­ing guests. The pair run Kears­ley Quinn Con­sult­ing, an Airbnb host con­sul­tancy in Auck­land.

“We tell our hosts that set­ting up the room is a skill to de­velop,” Quinn says. “How the room looks is im­por­tant, and it’s the lit­tle de­tails that can make a huge dif­fer­ence. If you are se­ri­ous about do­ing it well then you need to make sure the decor and the linen are high qual­ity. And it’s a good idea to leave thought­ful lit­tle things and sur­prises for your guests.”

The pair say mak­ing the room at­trac­tive doesn’t have to mean go­ing to a lot of ex­pense. “You may find quirky items or things that add a lot of char­ac­ter yet are in­ex­pen­sive. Some of the most gor­geous places we have stayed at have been all the more spe­cial be­cause they have a spe­cial char­ac­ter.”

Celebrity caterer Ruth Pretty, who runs a cook­ery school at Te Horo on the Kapiti Coast, of­ten hosts friends, fam­ily and vis­it­ing cook­ing school pre­sen­ters.

She says guests need lots of pil­lows so they can read com­fort­ably in bed at night. An elec­tric blanket and good-qual­ity sheets are es­sen­tial.

“You need side lamps – if you’re not fa­mil­iar with the room, it can be dif­fi­cult to find the light. And I al­ways leave an eclec­tic se­lec­tion of books and mag­a­zines be­side the bed.

“If there’s a good va­ri­ety you don’t need to change them for in­di­vid­ual guests but I do check that they’re up to date. You don’t want to be like the doc­tor’s wait­ing room where they’re all five years old.”

Pretty also likes to pro­vide plenty of coat hang­ers, a heater, ex­tra blan­kets and a clock ra­dio with an alarm.

If you have space, an easy chair will en­cour­age guests to en­joy time out in their own room. A vase of flow­ers and ex­tra quilts on the bed en­sure guests feel ap­pre­ci­ated in this home.

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