By Shelagh Duncan
Ben Franklin has been credited with saying something like “fish and visitors start to smell after three days…”
That may have been true back in the day, but we all love to have friends and family come visit and want them to enjoy their stay. We are fortunate enough to live in an amazing part of the world, and naturally want to share this with them.
However sometimes space in our homes is limited. We live outdoors most of the time and don’t generally need a big house. You may have one or two spare bedrooms but one turned into your home office, or there are just too many people to sleep everyone comfortably! So, what do you do when they all want to come at once for that big family reunion???
Sofa beds are a simple solution. These days they can be every bit as comfortable as a regular sofa. Be sure to select one with an innerspring mattress and good padding. This makes for more comfort when sleeping and a longer life for the mattress.
Chairs, loveseats and even sectionals are available with integrated sleepers, so there are many creative ways to squeeze in those extra guests.
Futons are less comfortable to sleep on or sit on – but they are more economical if your budget is tight.
Wall beds or Murphy Beds are a great option. These are available to fit all size mattresses, and can even be set up as bunk beds if floor space is limited. Often they have useful storage possibilities too so these are a practical, space saving solution. Wall beds can be custom made to fit your space and your needs.
Trundle beds slip away under most beds and are easily pulled into service when needed.
Fold-a-way beds (Z-Beds) are also useful if you have the storage space to keep them, as are air-mattresses which are a little less convenient to set up and put away, but can be stored using minimal space.
A creative idea if you are faced with a large group is to ask friends and neighbours or if they have a spare room or casita available, that will help with the overflow.
Another reason you may need more sleeping options is if you decide to rent your house and want to maximize the number of people you can accommodate. That’s always a challenge, but fortunately these are some better solutions than having to build a cabina or an extension onto the house!
So now you have your guests sleeping arrangements sorted out, how else can you make them feel welcome?
Try to afford everyone in the household a bit of privacy. A folding screen can lend a little privacy to an open plan living area turned bedroom, which is ideal in the mornings or evenings if everyone has different routines. Working out a shower schedule is another necessity if you have a large group staying – and only one or two bathrooms. It feels like micro-managing at first, but helps everyone feel more comfortable.
Leave plenty of clean towels in the bathrooms as well as making some extra space for guest to put their toiletries, and be sure to share any quirky ‘my house’ things , like ‘C’ may not be the cold water tap – C is for the hot water according to many plumbers here (C = Caliente)!
If you experience the joy of living with geckos – warn your guests if they have not been here before. Their sounds can be disturbing to ‘indoor people’ if they don’t know what is making the noise.
Clear off some of your hangers and closet space for guests too, and plan for somewhere to stash their suitcases. Give out your- Wi-Fi password, or better yet write it down for them, and set up a power bar or show them a convenient spot to plug in their personal devices for recharging. A flashlight usually proves useful for night-time bathroom visits or late night reading.
If you are lucky enough to have guest bedrooms, then think about adding a small writing desk in there. They are very useful in our own bedrooms, so why not add one to the guest bedroom too? It’s a multi-purpose piece of furniture and there are many attractive ones available in different sizes.
Compact folding suitcase stands are practical solutions for unpacking bags, or to use when drawer space is short.
Keeping some first-aid supplies on hand like band-aids, antiseptic cream, and even some Pepto, can make your visitors stay more comfortable, especially if children are coming with them.
Most of all enjoy! We live a casual lifestyle here and the whole idea is to get your guests to feel relaxed in your home, enjoy their visit and take wonderful memories home with them. There’s nothing fishy about that!
Until next time