Making your guest feel at home

WARM WELCOME

Making your guest feel at home

Indians have always been followers of the adage Athithi devo bhava, treating guests with respect and love. However, gone are the days of “adjusting,” when guests were given a blanket and a pillow, and asked to make themselves comfortable. Now the least you have to do is offer a bed to a visitor.

But don’t worry about offering a separate room to the guest. With a little imagination, an awkward little space that has little or no other use can be a dedicated “guest space”, if not a guest room. For example, you may be using a small area that opens to your foyer as a den. This could  double up as a sleeping space, for those expected and unexpected guests, with the proper furniture.

It is important to realise that since the space opens off the foyer and will be noticed by all your visitors, it has to be ttractive. One good way to handle the decorating of this area is to create a lounge room that can normally be used as everyday storage and sleeping space, whenever needed.

Where to begin?

The first place to start  with is the furniture. You could place a daybed /sofa-bed /futon, which can be used for lounging by you or for sleeping by your guests. Decorative
pillows that line the back of the sofa-bed will give it a sofa effect. This is really just a deviation from divans, which used to be a standard part of a drawing/ living room, but made it look like a bedroom.

Once you’ve carved a space for the bed, which is the main element of the room, create some sort of a storage space. This can be a wall of cabinets or bookcases. You can use these to display books or even everyday essentials.

The everyday essentials may not be aesthetically appealing, so you could camouflage them in decorative bins or baskets. To add to it ow the perfect addition would be a bench that has storage inside. This will take care of the seating, while not taking up space – perhaps unavailable space. A reading lamp and large mirror will help the area feel like an intentional lounge /reading room.

There is another idea you can try if the area has no windows. You could put up a ceiling mounted curtain rod and hang curtains, which can be closed when the guests are sleeping, to give them a cosy feeling. More importantly, they offer a private sleeping area for guests. You can tie back the curtains when not in use.

As far as the décor scheme is concerned, let yourself be dictated by the pattern in your foyer. If you have a stylish mirror, a painting or carpet in your entrance, then that style and those colours should be the style in the den. This will create a large, impressive-looking entrance when visitors arrive.

Make it work

These tips were for homes, which just don’t have any spare room that can double up as a guest room. However, most modern apartments come with an office room to be used as a home office when needed. This workroom is great for creating a cosy and versatile space. You may have a bookshelf, desk and chair in the room already.

While there may not be space to house a bed here, a sofa-cum-bed is an ideal piece of furniture, which will not only serve as a bed for your guests, but can also be useful at other times when you have to play host to office visitors. Remember though that some guests are unintentionally curious. So, if you have any private or sensitive documents, keep them under lock. Also, if you allow your guest the use of your omputer make sure your files are private and password protected.

Tiny tweaks

How can you make your office comfortable for your guests? Some small thoughtful gestures will go a long way. One such is the presence of a luggage rack. Most office spaces do not come with a built-in closet so your guests will have to live out of a
suitcase. Just having a handy rack in place will go a long way in helping them, as it saves them the bother of bending down each time they want to access their stuff from their travel bags.

If you do have the luxury of closets, make it fully functional by adding hangers. Don’t forget to supply at least eight to ten hangers for your guests. Another important consideration is a mirror. While a floor-length mirror, either on a wall or on a cupboard door, is a luxury, your guests will appreciate any mirror that will make the room more livable, even if it is a short stay.

The office room is only one of the options for housing your guests. Some homes have a separate guest room, while some of us easily convert one of the children’s rooms into a guest room. In all cases, the décor tips remain the same anyway.

These are bare necessities that your guests will welcome. But in addition, you could add a personal touch by putting a vase of flowers on the table – these do not necessarily have to be fresh flowers.

Just as you need privacy, your guests will feel more comfortable in your home if they have adequate privacy. Choose window coverings that not only add character to the room, but also provide privacy.

While you don’t want to become like a hotel, little gestures can go a long way in making your guest feel welcome. For example, a friend of mine left a welcome note and a few books for me when I isited her and I’ve never forgotten that gesture. Just try to do unto your guests as they would have done unto you when you were a guest!

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