It happens to all of us, especially those of us who live in DC: your parents/cousins/old college friends are coming to town for a few days and they’re looking for a place to stay. At your place. Which has just enough bedrooms for everyone who lives there.
In the middle of July most people would either happily blow up the air mattress in the living room or give them the keys to the street. For the holidays though, you might want to be more accommodating and create a special, comfortable environment for your friends or family.
Here are a few ideas for making the most of your space, your resources, and your host and/or hostessing skills.
Got An Air Mattress? Instead of blowing it up at night, by mouth (like my husband once did while my mother-in-law and I watched him), try setting it up in advance and making it with fresh linens that aren’t just your spare white sheet set (Target, Home Goods, and sale-time at West Elm or Crate and Barrel are great places to get a nice set of bed linens on the cheap). Bonus points for matching your air mattress linens to the room it’s temporarily living in. Also consider hooking the fake-out guest room up with some essentials like a nearby tray or basket filled with bottled water, a nightlight, a tiny alarm clock, some of your favorite books and a kitschy chocolate treat for bedtime. This may be going on in your den, but at least it’ll look welcoming and make your guests feel special. Plus, you’ll save the effort of getting them tucked in when you’re exhausted after a day of entertaining.
Don’t have an air mattress but have an extra futon, daybed, or couch in a spare room? Then do the same thing…except just get a cushy, twin-sized foam mattress pad and cover the couch cushions in lieu of a mattress. No one will know, and I won’t tell.
Still want to put your guest to sleep on the floor next to your speakers? Fine. Just at least lean the mattress up against a wall during the day so you’re not stepping over it to get to the cranberry sauce.
Now, if you have kids, sometimes the solution is giving up your own bedroom and crashing with them. That’s great…except not really fun for you. Plus, if your kids are at all like my 20 month old they’ll look at this as an excuse for an all night party. Though this most likely won’t work for a clingy toddler, you can definitely move a little baby (via pack n’ play or bassinet) or an adventurous older child (via sleeping bag) to another location – quiet hallway, open walk-in closet, living area, you get the idea – then take their room over with your lame air mattress. You get privacy, the child gets quiet (baby) or a fun sleeping experience (older kid), and your guests get comfort and a door to close. It’s a win-win-win, and all you had to do was be a little creative about the sleeping arrangements.
I’m sure other people have solutions they’ve tried when faced with this dilemma. If so, please share your successes and your not-so-successful attempts in the comments.