How to Host A Guest When You Don’t Have a Guest Room

In my college days and early 20’s, “hosting a guest” basically meant having someone crash on my couch. Now that we are all “adulting” (that word still cracks me up), hosting a friend or relative means a whole lot more. We want to make guests feel welcome and comfortable, keep them entertained, respect their privacy, and hope they’ll visit again. This is definitely easier to do when you’ve got a guest room. But if your home or apartment doesn’t have the luxury of dedicated extra space for a visitor, it doesn’t mean you can’t host one. You just need to get a little more creative. We’ve got some helpful tips and tricks on hosting a guest when you don’t have a guest room.

A Clean Welcome

Now is a great time to give your place a good deep-clean, and while you’re at it, add in some decluttering and organizing. If you haven’t seen your visitors in a few years, nothing says “Welcome” like beckoning them into your clean, calm place that they can feel at home in, whether it’s for two nights or a week. Clear out your entryway, get everything off your dining table, fold and put away the laundry on the sofa, and scrub down the bathroom. It will give your guests a great impression as well as make you feel house-proud! If you need extra help, a professional organizer can support your efforts to getting your home guest-ready.

Create A Space

Your guests will appreciate a little bit of privacy, and without a guest room you’ll need to find an area of your home that you can temporarily set up as their personal space. It may be a corner of the living room, part of the playroom, or half of your home office. Consider getting a temporary room divider; they aren’t too expensive and can be easily put away for future use. You could even use it as a decorative element during the rest of the year. Move some furniture around to create this space; you may need to move some items into another room or the hall to do so.

Set Up A Cozy Sleeping Situation

Friends and family will understand that you can’t set them up like it’s the Four Seasons. Whether they’ll be sleeping on a sofa or daybed, a sofabed, a futon, or a blow-up mattress, do make up their “bed” with fresh sheets, pillows, and warm blankets. A well-rested guest will be a more amiable guest! Give them two blankets—a cuddly, thick one and a lighter one—so they can adjust their coverings to their preferred temperature. Use an end table or another small table for their nightstand. Clear it off and add a lamp, and set it near a power outlet if you can. Provide them with earplugs, too; an eye mask if the room gets a lot of light from outside. Adding a couple of magazines and a local guidebook would be a lovely gesture.

Make Room for Their Stuff

They will be traveling to you, so they will have stuff—suitcases, backpacks, shoes, a laptop. Make room in the coat closet, the hallway, or another closet in your place, so they’ve got a spot to keep their travel items. You don’t want anyone tripping over their stuff, and you don’t want them to drape all their things on the furniture. If you give them some closet space, have extra hangers for their things.


Have a folded set of fresh towels for your visitors, and a designated spot for them to hang them. If they are sharing a bathroom with you or with your kids, towels that are a different color from everyone else’s will be helpful. I would also add some deodorizing spray to keep anyone from feeling embarrassed. Have a small bin of travel-size toiletries handy, in case they’ve forgotten anything. If they’re staying awhile, give them a plastic laundry bag to use.

Extra, Extra!

If you want your guests to feel even more at home and extra special, have a little basket on their bed for them when they arrive. Pop in fun things such as snacks and sweet treats, your favorite paperback, a reusable water bottle, a welcome note with the WiFi password, and a $5 gift card to a cool, nearby coffeeshop. Put some fresh flowers in a vase to brighten up the space. Have easy breakfast items available for the next morning. If your coffee machine or TV is complicated to operate (which remote does what?), type up an easy set of instructions. It’s little things like this that mean a lot to your guests, as you’ve clearly made an effort to make them feel welcome and comfy.


If you foresee hosting guests pretty regularly, consider investing a bit more when you buy furnishings. Maybe get a higher-quality pullout sofa, or upgrade the blow-up mattress to a raised air mattress. Add storage space with under-bed storage or an ottoman chest. Keep in mind that your guests are there to spend time with you, and that makes for a personal connection that is both reciprocal and heartfelt. You don’t need to put them up like they’re royalty, but you should certainly make the effort to host them comfortably and happily. Someday, they may be hosting you!


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