NEW YORK CITY — If you’re planning to house out-of-towners this holiday season, your heart might be in the right place, but you and your guests might be a bit cramped in that apartment of yours.
There’s a variety of little ways to make sure your guests feel comfortable for their overnight stays, even if they’re crashing on a couch.
“Ultimately, it’s the small things that make your guests feel like they’re welcome, even if you don’t have that much space to offer,” said Maxwell Ryan, the founder of website Apartment Therapy. “It’s about opening up your home, making them comfortable, no matter how big or small your place is.”
DNAinfo rounded up some expert tips that will help to make your guests feel right at home.
Learn the Right Way to Make the Couch a Bed
It’s likely that you don’t have an extra room, or bed, to spare. Even if you can only offer a couch, experts said making the sleeping experience extra-comfy is a great foundation for holiday hospitality.
Kevin Clark, interior designer with Homepolish.com recommends “adding three to four cozy throw pillows” to the couch if you don’t already have them. Clark likes soft cotton blend pillows, like these from Crate & Barrel. He also suggests a faux fur throw, such as this one from West Elm, for added warmth for guests, and a cushy addition to the couch.
Apartment Therapy’s Ryan says to make sure the sheets you use are extra soft, too. He likes the coziness of flannel sheets — his favorites are from The Company Store. And if you’re looking for extra warm blankets, he likes IKEA’s down blankets, and West Elm’s cotton blankets.
If the couch itself isn’t big or comfortable enough for a guest, Ryan suggests getting an air mattress. “They’re easily stored, easily blown up, and quite comfortable,” he said. Ryan recommends an Aerobed, which also comes in twin size, for a smaller space.
Turn Your Living Room Into a Guest Room
Sleeping in a living room doesn’t give your guest much privacy, but there are still ways to make them feel more at home.
Betsy Helmuth, founder of AffordableInteriorDesign.com, says you might want to buy a folding screen for guests, to section off their sleeping space.
To help keep light and noise out of a living room, Helmuth also recommends buying black-out drapes.
“You can buy $20 black-out drapes from JCPenny that are great to keep light from pouring into the living room, and they help block noise, which is especially great if you face a street,” she said.
For added privacy, you can add a noise machine to the room, Ryan said. He likes Marpac’s White Noise machine, which sells for $42 on Amazon.com
To give guests a spot to place their luggage, Helmuth likes using a foldable suitcase stand. “It gives them a place to put their stuff, in a more organized way.”
For additional hospitality points, make sure there’s a light guests can use that doesn’t require them to go far from their couch-bed. Add a lamp to an end table near where they’ll be sleeping, experts said. If you have the space on the end table, adding some flowers, or scented candles can add a nice, welcoming touch too.
Spruce Up The Bathroom
Experts said having towels and toiletries ready for your guests is a nice touch. If you want to take the hospitality further, you can even get monogrammed towels for your visitors. Ryan recommends the towels and monogramming at The Company store.
Helmuth likes to at least designate, or add, a hook in the bathroom for her guests.
Interior designer Chelsey Wolf also recommended filling a wicker basket with towels, wash cloths, and travel size bath products.
Become an Informal Concierge
Adding thoughtful touches, like leaving guidebooks, magazines and transit maps for your guests is an easy way to make guests feel welcome, experts said. Wolf said she likes to create a little “welcoming table” with all those items, along with their basket of toiletries, a vase of flowers, and some wrapped chocolates. She recommends this portable table.
If guests are exploring the city on their own during the day, having a spare key ready for them, and a place to hang it, is also a sweet touch.
And don’t forget to have food waiting for them when they arrive, as well as snacks easily accessible for their stay. Making a snack basket is an easy way for guests to grab some food, without feeling like they are rummaging through your cabinets or refrigerator.
“Don’t forget to ask them what they need, if they’re hungry, if they want to shower, or sleep, when they arrive,” Ryan said. “And, you know, make sure the place is clean.”