When overnight guests descend for the holidays, in addition to doing the usual cleaning, straightening and emptying of wastebaskets, you may wish to incorporate design touches to amplify that cozy holiday feeling for your guests, and facilitate convenience for you both. (This is helpful if you don’t want your mother-in-law to ask you for a hair dryer in nothing but a towel.) Beyond a fresh set of clean sheets, here’s what you can do to elevate your guest bedroom and bathroom for peak holiday warmth and flair.
First, remove items from the room that crowd the surfaces and take up precious space. Your guests will need tabletop space to put their personal items, at least one empty drawer for socks and delicates, and ample room in the closet for their clothes and luggage. Put away paperwork, toys, or small defunct devices waiting for the next electronics recycling day in your town. Make sure the closet has extra hangers, blankets, and pillows (so each guest can have two, if desired). For a pleasant surprise, add the scent of the holidays by incorporating cedar hangers.
Gussy up your bedding
Sure, you could put regular beige sheets on your guest bed…or you could spring for some holiday-themed linens to warm up the space. One elegant combination is all white with a neutral blanket and plush, fuzzy pillows. Other winning colors and textures include: red, green, plaid, stripes, winterberry, cable knit, velvet, or flannel. Sherpa blankets or brown faux-fur throws add welcoming warmth. (If you do stick with beige sheets, because they go with everything, a similar effect can be achieved with holiday-themed throw pillows and blankets alone.)
Build a welcome basket
You know when you travel for a wedding and there’s a small bag for each guest at check-in and even though all it has is water, chips, and a granola bar, you still feel a little more taken care of? Do the same for your holiday guests by creating a small basket of travel essentials. You can fill it with a spare phone charger and toiletries (use this opportunity to unload hotel samples you’ve been saving), fuzzy holidays socks, or stash it with snacks so your guests won’t feel bad trudging downstairs at midnight. Remember to include the most important item of all—your home’s wifi password. (Add your alarm or garage door code, too, and print and place in a decorative frame.)
Sprinkle holiday decor throughout
Prime those cozy olfactory holiday memories with scented candles (you can’t go wrong with balsam, cedar, pine, cinnamon, or clove); add small faux pine trees (or a 2- to 4-foot tall real one if you’ve got the space). Incorporate festive pops of color via decorative pillows or accent chairs, and drape a garland or string of white lights across the headboard, or around the windowsill. Replace year-round art with a decorative wreath and add a holiday cloche or snow globe to the nightstand. Fresh flowers like poinsettias, amaryllis, lilies, mistletoe, orchids, or a Christmas cactus will charm even the Grinchiest of guests.
Give the guest bathroom a holiday glow
Make sure you’ve laid out a body towel, hand towel, and washcloth for each guest. (Bonus points if instead of regular-sized body towels, you offer larger, more absorbent and luxurious bath sheets.) Break out the holiday colors in red, green, gold, and white—this goes for bath linens, bath mats, soap dispensers, even the wastebasket. Include a small basket with hair dryer, disposable razors, cotton balls, headache reducer, fancy-smelling soap, and a fresh pair of guest slippers. If you’re truly a host with the most, provide a plush guest bathrobe, as well.
When it comes to decor, consider draping a garland flush with the wall behind the sink, hanging a wreath on the wall, or placing white lights around the mirror. Add air fresheners, candles, diffusers or hand soap in holiday scents, and don’t forget a night light—it’ll be immensely useful when creaking half-asleep to an unfamiliar loo.