Home Decor

5 Tips To Host Guests When You Don't Have A Guest Bedroom

An expert shares her tips to make company feel right at home—no matter how small the space.
By Matthew Hague
5 Tips To Host Guests When You Don't Have A Guest Bedroom

Chong created this livingroom-come-guest room in a one-bedroom condo for a client with three siblings — i.e. one who’s always expecting company. The sofa folds out, the side tables double as nightstands and the ottoman has a storage space. (Photo, Lauren Miller.)

For Toronto interior designer Natalie Chong, no space is too small to accommodate overnight visitors. At Nest Design Studio, she often designs diminutive domains—including her own one-bedroom condo—that can easily be rearranged to entertain friends and family in comfort and style. Here are her top tips to make your guest feel at home in a small space.

1. Pull out all the stops

“Invest in a great pull-out couch when space and budget allow. It doesn’t matter if the frame is wood or steel; the key is that it’s easy to unfold and solidly built, with a comfortable, high-quality mattress. (Tempur-Pedic, preferably, because even when it’s thin, it’s still cushy).” A plush sofa bed can costs $2,000 and up, but that still could be less expensive than buying a good mattress and a good couch separately.

2. Cover your bases

“When you set the bed, you set the tone. The trick to making your guests feel comfy is to use a cushioning mattress cover and really soft sheets that will make them feel like they’re staying at a posh resort.” Hotel Collection make good silky options, she says.

no guest room-NatalieChong-cushions-LaurenMiller (Photo, Lauren Miller.)

3. Plump up the volume

“When it comes to making your guests feel at home, don’t overlook the pillows,” Chong says. If you're on a budget, don't worry—you can get good, affordable ones at HomeSense. “I recommend having four pillows: two long, firm ones that can double as a makeshift backrest (in lieu of the headboard if you have a blow-up mattress), and two smaller, softer ones to sleep on. I prefer down or synthetic down—they’re breathable, so they won’t get too hot.”

4. Look for nooks

“Scour your home for furniture that can serve a dual purpose. Side tables can easily be converted into bedside tables, and storage ottomans make excellent spots to keep clothes and towels. Stash empty suitcases in the space underneath the sofa bed,” she explains.

5. Think independently


“When hosting overnight guests, privacy is always an issue. But buying temporary room dividers—which can start at a couple of hundred dollars for a foldaway wall screen and go up to several thousand dollars for a custom curtain system—might not be worth it if they’re only around for a day or two,” says Chong. So how can you fake privacy? “It’s better to focus on making guests feel as self-sufficient as possible. I like putting out a carafe of water with some glasses, and a basket of healthy snacks. I also set out a picture frame with the WiFi and the password and put it near their bed. That way they don’t need to ask for everything they need, and feel like they can go about their business as they would at home—even if they’re sleeping in my living room.”


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