One of my ongoing fantasies about my impending 'adult life' is that I have room for house guests and entertain them regularly. Of course, my fantasy also involves living on a large country estate and the house guests come with their own personal valets. We engage in a nightly cocktail hour followed by a formal dinner and retire each night to the drawing room where we will stage our own plays and have sing-alongs around the baby grand.... I could go on and on and on.
Alas, my life is not Masterpiece Theatre and so my hostess aspirations must be edited and restrained. Until I have my country estate, I shall plan for a small, probably closet-sized, guest bedroom wherein I will attend to my guests with style.
A proper guest room needs some thought. One must straddle the line between pampering and accommodating guests. They should feel comfortable and at home, yet provided with small luxuries that make them eager to return. Here is a short list of must-haves:
1) Comfortable bedding- No one wants to sleep on scratchy sheets. A basic cotton in a neutral shade and a medium to high thread-count will suffice. Avoid flannel in summer months and satin pretty much all the time. Too slippery.
2) A good reading lamp- Overhead lights may be too harsh. A nice lamp on the bedside table will create warmth.
3) Books for late-night reading- Steer clear of anything too serious or long. Classic mysteries or random novelty books are always entertaining.
4) Extra blankets and throws-No matter what time of year, it's nice to have the option of customizing the weight and type of blankets you are sleeping under.
5) Fancy toiletries-Your guest will feel pampered if you provide the luxury of fancy handsoap, lotion and shampoos. This doesn't have to be expensive, an inexpensive product in nice packaging goes a long way! No room in your budget? Ask for samples at Sephora and save all your mini shampoos from hotels and spas.
Last but certainly not least, accessorize the bedside table with an alarm clock and fresh flowers, but stay away from flowers that are pollinated or particularly pungent- Peonies, Calla Lilies, and Roses are always safe bets.