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