Guests to Impress? 7 Tips to Make Your Spare Bedroom Shine This Summer

Guests to Impress? 7 Tips to Make Your Spare Bedroom Shine This Summer
By Jennifer Geddes | Jun 16, 2017
With summer vacation season in full swing, chances are good that your guest room will see its fair share of traffic. If you haven’t stepped foot in that space since Uncle Humbert’s visit last Christmas, you might be feeling a little uncertain: Does your guest bedroom say “budget motel” or “five-star getaway”? Will your loved ones actually look forward to staying at your place, or dread it?

Luckily, it doesn’t take much to create a stylish and welcoming haven that will impress your guests—and keep them comfortable during these hot, sultry months. Try these designer tips and touches to elevate your space for summer visitors. Just beware: They might feel so at home, they’ll never want to leave.

Tip No. 1: Make it dark

Photo by Karen White Interior Design
It’s summer, so you might be inclined to use thin, airy linen for your window coverings—don’t we all love that elegant beachy look that lets the light pour in?

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But as nice as they might appear, thin curtains aren’t always the most practical choice. Ensure a good night’s sleep—and lots of privacy—by installing blackout shades or other thick curtains that can block out the summer sun and heat.

“A set of blinds or drapes will also help create a buffer between the room and street traffic outside,” notes Marty Basher, a home organization specialist with Modular Closets, in Lakewood, NJ.

“If you don’t have blackout shades, it’s nice to provide a sleep mask,” adds Bea Pila of B. Pila Design, in Miami.

Tip No. 2: Provide luggage racks


This simple and inexpensive guest room addition will end up being a lifesaver. For starters, your guests will appreciate not having to bend over and unpack on the floor. Also, a luggage rack serves as a subtle hint to your guests not to toss their dusty suitcases onto the bed, Pila says.

You’ll also want to empty a dresser drawer, clear some closet space, and leave extra hangers, adds Kelly LaVine of Closet Factory, in Minneapolis.

Want to install something more permanent? A multipurpose coat rack with built-in cubbies is ideal for bags, hats, coats, and bathrobes, says Jennifer Popis, a spokesperson for Lowe’s.

Tip No. 3. Use lightweight linens on the bed

Photo by Loaf
Now’s not the time to show off that luxuriously warm down duvet you scored on sale. Cool cotton or percale is the way to go in warmer weather, but don’t forget to add a lightweight blanket or comforter on the end of the bed.

“It can be chilly in the morning in some parts of the country, and your guests may be cold if the AC is on high,” says Carole Marcotte, a designer at Form & Function, in Raleigh, NC.

Leave out bath and hand towels, plus a washcloth and a new bar of soap—not that melting mess in the shower stall.

“And I like to leave a couple of robes in the closet, one medium, one large, which fits most guests—and then tuck a corresponding pair of slippers in each pocket,” she adds.

Tip No. 4: Provide access to tech

Photo by The Aldrich Group, LLC

A TV in your guest room is a real treat, especially if you have cable, or a Netflix account and a Roku/Chromecast/Amazon Fire/Apple TV/insert-your-favorite-tech-device-here.

Make sure to leave written instructions for the remote control and login information, Basher says. An extra phone charger is key. And don’t forget the Wi-Fi password.

“You could type it up in a pretty font and then frame it on the desk,” suggests Amy Bell, a designer with Red Chair Home Interiors, in Cary, NC.

Tip No. 5: Offer bedside accompaniments

Bedside accessories

Bedside accessories
Bedside accessoriesFlavia Morlachetti/Getty Images
A few well-chosen accessories will set a welcome tone. Marcotte puts out a sea-salt-scented candle in the summer months, and Basher prints a photo of his guests off their Facebook or Instagram page and frames it for the nightstand.

“I would also add a journal or paper and pen so guests can write down their thoughts,” recommends Julie Coraccio, a home organizing pro with Reawaken Your Brilliance. She also snips fresh herbs or flowers from her garden and sets out sunscreen and bug spray.

“Include a list of things to do around your town, tourist brochures, and places to eat, too,” she adds.

Tip No. 6: Serve drinks and snacks


Photo by Houzz

Much as it might feel like it, you’re not running a hotel—so you don’t need to set up a whole minibar. But a few treats will offer an extra-welcoming touch.

In the guest room, you can leave a bottle of sparkling water or a carafe and glass set (Marcotte adds sliced cucumbers and limes to the water carafe). Fruit in a bowl is a healthy idea, especially seasonal peaches. You could also add a granola bar and a box of mints.

Want your guests to really feel comfortable (and like they don’t have to tiptoe into your kitchen in the wee hours of the morning)? Try giving them their own caffeine fix.

Pila recently decorated a home with several guest suites and included a small coffee maker and a place to heat water for tea in each space.

Tip No. 7: Stock the bath

Photo by Bill Fry Construction

You know you’ll have a guest who forgets her toothbrush. Or one who needs floss or a bandage. Be prepared with these necessities in the medicine cabinet or in a basket on the counter. Include travel-size shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, lip balm, and toothpaste. Also have on hand a packet of Advil, disposable razor, and extra hair dryer.

“These help a guest who’s left something at home—and she won’t have to feel awkward asking to borrow something,” Marcotte says.
Jennifer Kelly Geddes has written for Parents.com, SafeBee, Good Housekeeping, Modern Farmer, and Care.com. Follow @jkgeddes
Related topics: bedroomentertainingguest roomsguestshome decorhostingspare roomsummerwarm weather

You know you’ll have a guest who forgets her toothbrush. Or one who needs floss or a bandage. Be prepared with these necessities in the medicine cabinet or in a basket on the counter. Include travel-size shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, lip balm, and toothpaste. Also have on hand a packet of Advil, disposable razor, and extra hair dryer.

“These help a guest who’s left something at home—and she won’t have to feel awkward asking to borrow something,” Marcotte says.

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Should I Sell My Home Before Buying a New Home?


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Deciding whether to buy or sell a home first can be a tough decision. Home buyers and home sellers each face their own challenges, but for many, the two processes go hand-in-hand.

Home buyers and home sellers each face their own challenges, but for many, the two processes go hand-in-hand. Most people cannot afford to own multiple homes, so the decision to move generally means both buying a new home and selling your current property.

If you are attempting to both sell your home and buy a new one, you may feel overwhelmed and could benefit from turning to your real estate agent for help. While some agents work only with home sellers or home buyers, others may be prepared to help with both tasks. If not, their firm may still serve both needs, or they may recommend an experienced colleague.

Buying a Home First

It may be impossible to perform the closings for both deals on the same day for several reasons. For example, when moving to another state, travel time may make this arrangement impossible or impractical. Even if the two deals are closed on dates very close together, you should expect a lapse between the two closing dates.

If you are buying first, be prepared to temporarily cover the cost of two households. If the first home does not yet have a buyer, or the deal is not yet finalized, be sure to keep the property you are selling in good condition.

Buying first may provide you with some logistical benefits. You can move furniture and personal belongings more conveniently from your old home into your new one without having to coordinate with a new homeowner.

Selling a Home First

When selling a home first, the most immediate problem becomes the need for a place to live between the two transactions. You may be fortunate enough to have relatives or friends living near either destination, and can try staying with them briefly.

You can also rent a home during this interim period. Home buyers may be willing to rent their new purchase back to you for a brief period while you complete your purchase of another home.

If you own only one home at a time, there are fewer overlapping responsibilities. It is a good idea to take some time at the beginning of the process to determine whether it will be easier for you to buy or sell. A real estate agent can help clarify the housing market conditions in both neighborhoods so that you can decide which step to take first.

Check out other resources about selling your home.

Sharon is the Digital Content Specialist for Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC. She lives in New Jersey and holds a BA from Syracuse University. She is passionate about giving back to the community and enjoys teaching STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) at the local Boys & Girls Club. She loves pun-ny jokes and she can watch adorable videos of puppies and babies all day.

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6 Garage Renovation Tips to Make Your Spare Space Extraordinary


A chicken in every pot and a car in every garage was once the American dream. But today’s vehicles are being kicked to the curb. Instead, homeowners are transforming their garages into dream rooms of all kinds. Does it seem like you aren’t using your garage to its full potential? Consider converting it into a space you and your family love.

If you’re going to tackle a garage renovation, consider these ideas on how to transform your space.

Tip No. 1: Consider the shape and location of your garage

Careful planning is a must, say builders and designers.

“Garages have vaulted ceilings that reflect the contours of the roof, which means you’ll have unusual angles that’ll present design and storage challenges,” points out Dan Moyer of Closet Factory, a company that builds custom cabinets and closets nationwide.

If you live in a cold zone, be certain you’re willing to park your car outside.

“Do you really want to dig out your car in winter?” asks Julie Coraccio, a professional organizer at Reawaken Your Brilliance.

Tip No. 2: Focus on the details

Make sure insulation, heating, cooling, and lighting (track lighting, task lighting, or windows) are factored into your design ideas. You’ll also have to figure out what to do with the garage door.

“Unless you seal it off completely, create a separate entrance so you aren’t pulling it up and down all the time,” Coraccio advises. “If you’ll be podcasting or using the space as a music or recording studio, don’t forget soundproofing and putting in requisite outlets.”

Adds Juan Carlos Daetz, a home design expert at MaxWarehouse: “You’ll also need to decide what to do with everything that’s stored in the current iteration of your garage, including the lawn mower.”

You might need to build or rent a small shed for some items.

Tip No. 3: Use it to replace a room you currently pay for

You can save money by transforming your garage into the type of place you’re currently spending extra money on—like office space or the gym. Who needs a monthly gym membership when you can use that money to craft a workout space and tailor it to your preferences?

Add a treadmill, buy a set of free weights, or clear the space out and add carpeting or hardwood for a yoga or Pilates studio. Also, choose a calming paint color for the walls, put in adjustable lighting, and set up speakers to play your motivating tunes.

Photo by Witt Construction

Tip No. 4: Consider making a playroom

Kids love Play-Doh, but you don’t love scraping it off the floor. One possible fix: Give the garage over to your favorite little people. Chalkboard paint or wall-size bulletin boards are practical additions. Install a low counter and update the floor. Consider bright epoxy paint, rubber mats, flexible plastic tiles, or carpet squares.

“Coating the floor with a polyurethane finish gives it a clean, polished look,” says Moyer. No kids? The same design would work for a crafting or gift-wrapping room.

Tip No. 5: Build a home theater

A tricked-out space for TV viewing appeals to the whole family. Everything’s better in a home theater, even the 22nd (or is it 23rd?) season of “The Bachelor.” Add plush couches, surround sound, and a small fridge for drinks and snacks. Rose ceremonies may never be the same again.

Photo by Weber Design Group, Inc.

Tip No. 6: Create the ultimate wine-tasting room

Wine collecting has entered suburban America, reports Moyer, which means homeowners want more than a climate-controlled cellar or closet.

“Now the trend is toward special rooms to taste and entertain, including cubbies for bottles, opening shelving for wine stems, fridges and seating for two or more people,” he explains. Tricked-out garages can be perfect for this.