Lots of house guests this sea­son? Nicole Swen­g­ley has some tips on what to buy in

The Sunday Telegraph - Sunday - - Interiors -

Be­ing well-pre­pared is the key to min­imis­ing the stress that Christ­mas guests – how­ever wel­come – can cre­ate. We may all think about buy­ing ex­tra glasses, cut­lery and table­ware, but re­mem­ber ad­di­tional tow­els, face-cloths and tooth­brushes (yes, there’s al­ways some­one who for­gets) too. In­vest­ing in a good sofa bed is money well spent and an ex­tend­ing din­ing ta­ble could be a boon for more than just the Christ­mas feast. There is still time to buy in th­ese ex­tras, or even freshen up your in­te­rior with new cush­ions, throws, blinds or cur­tains. For the first time, John Lewis is of­fer­ing a free seven-day ser­vice on madeto-mea­sure items or­dered in­store or on­line. Free de­liv­ery is guar­an­teed up to De­cem­ber 22 for or­ders placed by De­cem­ber 15.


Per­fect for smaller guests, the Bed in a Bag is a light­weight, nat­u­ral can­vas fu­ton (189cm x 69cm) that rolls up and fits into a hard-wear­ing can­vas duf­fel bag for easy stor­age; £45 (plus £4.80 de­liv­ery) from the Fu­ton Com­pany (0845 609 4455; www.fu­ton­com­pany., which has a buy-twoget-one-half-price of­fer un­til De­cem­ber 31. By day it’s a seat, foot­stool or side ta­ble, at night it trans­forms into a tem­po­rary bed by open­ing out the fu­ton mat­tress from be­neath the faux-suede cover. The Cube mea­sures 64cm x 64cm x 40cm open­ing to a 190cm sin­gle bed; £89 (plus £4.80 de­liv­ery) from the Fu­ton Com­pany, also on buy-twoget-one-half-price of­fer un­til De­cem­ber 31. It would be hard to find a bet­ter-priced dou­ble sofa bed than the Athena at John Lewis (08456 049049; www. john­lewis. com). It has a re­mov­able cover and costs £150. Ikea (for near­est store: www.ikea.­finder) has a good range of two or three-seat so­fabeds in­clud­ing the Ly­ck­sele Lo­vas two-seater, £199, with re­mov­able cover. A de­sign that’s par­tic­u­larly easy to con­vert is the PS Lo­vas twoseater, £319; you just fold down the back­rest to turn it into a bed. For bud­get-con­scious buys, take a look at the Rachel, £220, at Ar­gos (0845 640 1010;­ This boxy, con­tem­po­rary de­sign has a metal mech­a­nism that con­verts it into a bed for oc­ca­sional use; avail­able in wine, chocolate or beige.


Ikea has sev­eral prac­ti­cal ex­tend­ing ta­bles in­clud­ing the white-painted, solid beech Ly­ck­hem, £119. Its ex­tra leaf in­creases guest places from four to eight. There’s also the Ede­fors din­ing ta­ble, £259, in oiled, solid oak, which seats six or eight us­ing the ex­tra leaf. The ex­tra leaf in the Nor­den din­ing ta­ble can be stored un­der the ta­ble top when not in use; this comes in solid birch, £199 (nat­u­ral) or £229 (white-painted). Sains­bury’s (0800 636 262; www.sains­ The Mar­low din­ing ta­ble top folds out to in­crease seat­ing from four to six guests; in solid rub­ber wood, it costs £129 with free de­liv­ery.


For those on a bud­get, Ar­gos’s 24-piece, stain­less steel, dish­washer-safe Venice cut­lery set at £2.99 would be hard to beat, though the su­per­mar­kets have good deals, too. A 16-piece stain­less-steel cut­lery set in Sains­bury’s Ba­sics range costs £3.24; Tesco’s own-de­sign 16piece set costs £10 and Asda (0844 824 3000; uk) has a Vin­ers Echo 26piece stain­less steel set at £18. Tesco’s Finest (0845 722 5533; four­packs of dish­washer-safe cham­pagne flutes or red or white wine glasses are £11.99 each. Ar­gos’s 18-piece, dish­washer-safe tum­bler set (six 19cl tum­blers, six 30cl whisky glasses, six 24cl high balls) at £4.99 is great value. Plain white din­ner­ware can al­ways be in­te­grated with any other de­sign you may have. Ar­gos’s 16-piece Bistro stoneware white din­ner set, £24.99, is dish­washer-and mi­crowave-safe, and is on a buy-one-get-one-free of­fer. John Lewis has plain white porce­lain din­ner plates, side plates and bowls, all sold sep­a­rately at £2 each. M&S Home (0845 603 1603; www. mark­sand­ has a three-for-two of­fer on its An­dante white stoneware (din­ner plates, £3; side plates, £2; ce­real bowls, £2; mugs, £2).


John Lewis’s new Value range has poly­cot­ton dou­ble du­vet sets, with two pil­low­cases, in blue, pink or mocha at £10 (sin­gle set £7). Re­mem­ber ex­tra pil­lows, too (£4 per pair). Tesco has an own-la­bel, ma­chine-wash­able 10.5 tog du­vet at £11 (sin­gle), £17.99 (dou­ble), and Asda’s 100 per cent cot­ton Aqua bath sheets come in var­i­ous colours, £6 (two for £9). And don’t for­get… a pack of four pris­tine tooth­brushes, with iden­ti­fier la­bels (right), £2.95 from Muji (020 7323 2208;

Bed down: from top, Ikea has great so­fabeds; the Fu­ton Com­pany’s Cube bed; Bistro stoneware din­ner set and tum­bler set, both from Ar­gos

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