Home Sweet Basement

As we begin a long holiday weekend, it seems only fitting to talk about guest rooms.  Surprisingly, we don't have any guests this weekend, but all out-of-town family (and loving grandparents), we frequently have guests in our house for several days at a time.  Currently, we are lucky enough to have 2 guest rooms (one on the second floor pictured on the right, and one in the basement pictured here).  But, we love having guests (and seeing our families without getting in the car or on a plane), so we want to make them feel at home as much as possible.

Although it's subterranean, a basement makes an ideal guest room space even if your space is not a completely separate room.  Minimal natural light is not generally a big issue since people are mostly just sleeping in their room, and spending the rest of their time in the main living space.  A basement with a bathroom of any sort (even a half or three-quarter bath) makes it absolutely perfect.  When we stay in other people's basements, I LOVE IT!  Very separate, quiet, private, and relaxing, and I don't feel as if I am interfering in their living space as much.

If you are planning a renovation in your house including a basement guest area, consider including an egress window which will, in most jurisdictions (check your local building codes), make your space a legal bedroom adding tremendous value to your home and gives more natural light to your guests (and thus feels less like living among the mole people).

Also, don't overlook home offices and a child's rooms as alternate guest areas.  A twin bed with a trundle or a pull-out sofa in a home office make that space serve double duty. 

Here are a few considerations when planning a guest area:

Traditional Style Black Finish Daybed with Trundle1)  Sleeping Space - A full-size (or larger) bed is the most ideal for a guest area but space or budget may restrict this choice.  Some alternatives are a twin day bed (with or without a trundle - I love the option pictured at left), a futon, or a comfortable pull-out sofa.  If you want your guests to still like you in the morning, lay down on the pull-out mattress for a few minutes before buying it to see if you feel any bars.  I have heard (but have not experienced), the pull-out sofas from American Leather are extremely comfortable because they do not have a traditional folding mechanism and, therefore, no bars!  A good quality air mattress is also a good addition for overflow guests even if you have to blow it up in your living room!  We are big fans of Aerobed brand mattresses and have slept on them ourselves on multiple occasions.

2)  Drawers - It doesn't have to be a full size dresser, but even a few tables in a bedside or end table are a nice way to let your guests unpack a few things and not feel as if they are living out of a suitcase.

3) Hanging Space - Although a small closet space (or part of a closet) are ideal, even a few hooks on the back of a door (or in the case of our old basement, some hooks on a paneled wall) and a few regular and pant hangers are really helpful for your guests. 

4)  Light - A small non-overhead light for bedtime reading makes a room feel so much more comfortable.  Also, consider adding a small night light (LED if you can find it) in the bathroom and/or near the stairs leading to the main floor. 

5)  Clock - Although it's a small detail, being able to open your eyes early in the morning (especially if there is minimal natural light), and seeing the time is a great thing.  An alarm is an added bonus - especially if your guests are going out on their own in the early morning.  Our basement guest room even has a clock RADIO.  Super fancy!

6)   Linens - I am a sucker for nice sheets and towels and, for me, that's the difference between a 3 and a 4/5 star hotel.  Same is true for guest space - make sure there are nice, super clean sheets and towels.  You really don't need to spend much and you can find great options at Home Goods or Marshalls.  An extra blanket and the option of a down pillow are also nice additions.

I'll share some of our own guest room choices in tomorrow's post!  

What makes you feel at home when you're staying at someone's home?  What have you done to make your guest area welcoming?