Hosting Guests Without a Guest Room

BEDROOMfinalSpring is finally here so you know what that means—the start of travel season! Summer in Chicago is THE BEST. It’s what makes people put up with the terrible winters (though I know some people are teetering on the edge after this last one…). I can’t really blame anybody for not wanting to come visit me November-April, but I hope to play host a few times over the next six months or so.

There’s only one problem: I don’t have a guest room. I can barely afford a bedroom for myself, let alone another one that’s only used a few days out of the year (though don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I could find plenty of uses for it on the other days). Do you host overnight guests without an extra bedroom? Any tips or tricks to make their stay more comfortable (for both you and them)?

Here’s one Apartment Therapy writer’s suggestions:

First things first: Find a “bed”. If you want to prioritize hosting overnight guests, you need somewhere to put them. Pull-out sofas and daybeds are the obvious choice, but they’re not to everyone’s taste or budget. I love the corner sofa-turned-bed in my living room (in a furnished rental) for its hosting abilities, but would I buy it myself if I were furnishing my dream flat? Probably not.

Luckily, there are other options. A good air mattress is comfortable and doesn’t take up too much room (store it inside a suitcase when not in use). Or, depending on the guest and the length of stay (I’m thinking in-laws, and two nights max), you could also have the guests in your room and take the sofa yourself. If you’ve got kids, consider putting guests in their room while having the kids bunk with you or sleep on the sofa (little people take up less room, after all).

Remember, guests come with stuff. Think ahead to where your friends are going to put those pesky suitcases they arrive with, even if it’s just clearing a generous area on the floor. If you can allocate a small table, a shelf on the bookcase and a section in the coat closet for hanging things, all the better.

Consider your non-bedroom like a bedroom. Maybe you fall asleep on the sofa occasionally, but your guests will be trying to get some serious rest in this room, so think about it like you would your own bedroom. Do the curtains keep out enough light for your pals to get some shut-eye? Is there a draft coming under the front door that makes it cold at night? Is there street noise? There are simple, temporary fixes for most of these issues (even if they are just extra blankets and earplugs).

Throw in some extras. In addition to the basics above, adding some luxe touches to the “bedroom” area will go a long way to making it seem more inviting. My best friends always have fresh flowers in their apartment when I come to visit, which never fails to make me feel welcome. On the more practical side, a power bar for charging phones and Ipads is always appreciated, as is your wifi password written on an easily-accessible card.

Privacy… for everyone. If your guests will be staying awhile, try to afford everyone in the household a bit of solitude. 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 that feels like micro-managing at first, but helps everyone feel more comfortable.


Stay in the Wright House

See what I did there? Problem is it doesn’t really make sense since there’s more than one Frank Lloyd Wright home. But there is a new one on the scene…

imageThe Emil Bach House in Rogers Park will be open to the public starting next week for tours, events and overnight stays. This is the only FLW property in Chicago that allows overnight guests, but it’ll cost ya: The nightly rate is between $750 and $1,495.

Can you believe that it was originally built as a country residence? Sheridan Road must have been a little different in 1915… Emil Bach was the head honcho at Bach Brick Company, and this is one of the last homes FLW designed in the Prairie style. It’s just undergone a complete restoration (thanks to a Pritzker, of course). It has the signature Wright built-ins, central fireplace and even a Japanese tea room.

Doubt I can afford to throw my next birthday party here, but tours are only $12. (Not sure how the tours work around the overnight guests…)


The Emil Bach House,

(Photos: Time Out and Urban Daddy)