Hosting Overnight Guests in Your Small Home

In the 7+ years that we’ve lived here in our little home, we’ve hosted dozens of overnight guests. Most stay for just a night or two, but we’ve had folks stay longer, too— anywhere from 5 nights to 3 weeks. (If we can do it, so can you!)

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It’s less about perfection than it is about consideration. It’s not likely that your visitor will be concerned about whether or not the bed is made with flawless hospital corners, but they probably will care about having a place to hang their towel, change their clothes, tuck their bag(s) out of the way, and sleep through the variations of noise and light that are inevitable when sharing a small space overnight.

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The guest room is, of course, our main room, which serves as our entryway, living room, dining room and office. Recently we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity to welcome a family member for a short stay, so I snapped some photos of the “guest room” setup prior to his arrival. I’ve also included some images from a Rue Magazine story I did several years back, which was photographed by the wonderful Kimberly Genevieve.

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Bedding Storage & Organization
We stash our guest bedding in the coffee table / trunk by the couch. Sheets for a Single-size mattress fit perfectly on our larger cushion. We also have a spare set of sheets for our Queen bed stashed in there, and those come in handy if we want to put the two main couch cushions on the floor and unite them to create a larger bed. With both sets of bedding I store the fitted and flat sheets within the set’s pillowcase. This helps keep everything compact and organized. 

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Curtain Storage
We like to string up a privacy curtain for our guests, and do so by simply spanning and tacking twine between sensible points on nearby walls. I either pin a lightweight throw blanket to the twine, or borrow the curtains from our bedroom for the evening. No need to buy a dedicated set! During the day, we either slide or pin the linens back, depending on the setup. We’re always sure to leave enough space between the couch and the curtain so that our guest has space to stand and walk along the sofa, and doesn’t feel crowded.

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Luggage
I supply a folding stool as a luggage stand, and/or empty out the trunk so that our guests have a place to put their bags. 

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Clothes & Towels
We suspend hand-painted hangers and basic S-hooks from the moulding near the couch to provide our visitors with a place to hang their outerwear, towels, and/or dress clothes.

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Little Considerations
Having items such as eye masks, earplugs, a phone charger, water, and local literature handy is a good way to help your overnight guests feel comfortable in your tiny home or apartment. 

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Lighting
Since we don’t have much room for tabletop fixtures or floor lamps, I like to keep battery-operated candles or twinkle lights near the pop-up guest bed so that there’s always a safe source of adequate lighting within arm’s reach.

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Toiletries 
We clear off a cubby in the bathroom so that there’s ample space for our visitor’s dopp kit, brushes and more. That way they don’t feel as though they have to pack and unpack their toiletries multiple times per day due to lack of space in the living area.

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