Preparing for A House Guest: Mentally and Physically

For when you love your family, but also your space.

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When you visit your parents, they have a guest room all set up—maybe even a guest bathroom, too—but when visitors show up at your doorstep, you have ... a couch? With a loveseat? Maybe it folds out with those metal bars not quite designed for the human spine?

If you’re a millennial renting in a major city, a second bedroom (y’know, without a roommate inside) can seem like an extravagance. But houseguests are inevitable, especially around the holidays, and we all feel the pressure to show off. So, if your friends or family are crashing at your place this holiday season, here are some small guest room ideas—even if your guest room is just the living room—plus a few tips for hosting with your emotional well-being intact.

Make Your Apartment Look Habitable

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Look, we’re not your parents, so we’re not lecturing, but c’mon, you’ve gotta straighten up. Vacuum all of those cookie crumbs off the floor and wipe the crud off your kitchen counters, cool?

Also, double-check that you have enough soap, toilet paper, shampoo/conditioner, and clean guest room towels in the bathroom. And leave the plunger out so your guests don’t have to ask for it, which is super awkward for everyone.

Now Make It Look Seasonal

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Nobody expects you to lug a full-size pine tree into your apartment, but ‘tis the season for a few wintery decorations from CVS or wherever (even if it’s warm and sunny outside in Los Angeles). You should be able to string up lights for under $10. Maybe a wreath and stockings for spare bedroom decor, too? But no mistletoe unless it’s that kind of houseguest.

Ask What Your Guests Need In Advance

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Do they have any specific dietary requirements? Are they allergic to your dog or cat? Will they need a parking spot or are they just taking Uber? This is stuff you should know ahead of time, so nobody has to panic at the last second.

Plan Options For Going Outside

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If your guests spend too much time in your apartment, the visit can get a little tense; it’s just human nature to value our own space. So prepare a bunch of ideas for things to do around town, from restaurants to sightseeing, but let your guests have final say because you can check that stuff out anytime. (And if they offer to get out of your hair for a bit, let ‘em.)

Gifts For House Guests

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Yes, it’s an unspoken rule that guests should bring hosts a token of gratitude—by which we mean a bottle of wine—not the other way around, but if you put a baggie of chocolates (or some trinket with local flavor) on their pillow, it’ll be a nice surprise.

No Bedding? No Worries!

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If you have zero guest room supplies—but don’t have the budget for a spare Casper and a bunch of linens—there’s no need to lose sleep. Our Guest Essentials bundle includes a queen-size air mattress with electric pump and all of the bedding necessities (pillows with cases, sheets, a quilt), along with bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths. It’s not like staying at the Ritz, but it’s definitely better than your couch. We even have you covered if your guests are really small humans. We have all the essentials for babies and toddlers so your already-very-tired parent friends and family have a few less things to think about when traveling with their kids. You will curry so many favors with this move.

Decompression Time

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After your guests leave, you might want to relax a little. If possible, keep your schedule clear for a day or two afterward to catch up on any chores you’ve put off during the visit (and to enjoy the sound of silence). It’s great to see friends and family, sure, but if they overstay their welcome, you’ll need a vacation from their vacation.

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