With Krewe du Vieux and Krewe Delusion rolling Saturday, Carnival season is in full swing. This means if friends and family from out of town haven’t already reserved spaces in your guest rooms and on your sofa, it’s likely to happen in the coming weeks. For those of us who have downsized in recent years, offering up a dedicated guest room isn’t an option. That said, with a little ingenuity and panache, creating a temporary guest room will have your houseguests thinking you are the greatest thing since sliced King Cake.
First, decide what area of the house or apartment you’ll devote to the guest space. We use the dining room, since when guests come to town we rarely eat in, given the myriad award-winning eateries within walking distance. That said, your home office or den and a corner of the living room could also work.
Next, buy or borrow an inflatable mattress. I recommend the raised, deluxe queen style with an electric pump for easy filling and deflating. Ours was approximately $70 at a sporting goods store, but prices vary from $50 to upwards of $200, depending on where you shop and just how deluxe you go with it. We keep ours stored in a convenient location in the handled bag that came with it. Making sure it’s easy to access cuts down on the time and effort needed to pull together temporary accommodations.
We have various quilts and throws, but a couple of months ago, I found a sunny yellow full/queen comforter set for $29.99 at Target and scooped it up for the next time we had a guest. It made the room seem less like a temporary space, even with the inflatable bed.
After sliding the dining table into the corner and arranging a few of the chairs for use as a luggage stand and a bedside table, we set up the bed with fresh, super-soft white T-shirt sheets ($19.99 on sale at Target) and the comforter with a couple of throw pillows I keep stowed away to periodically freshen our décor. I also padded it under the fitted sheet with a couple of blankets. If you really want to make it plush, add a foam mattress topper.
A box of tissues, a decorative birdcage filled with Mardi Gras beads and fresh flowers in a vase on the dining table make it look a little more homey. I reserve a few of the flowers for a julep cup by the bedside chair, doubling as a table. A stack of magazines, LED votive candle, note pad and pen complete the bedside offerings.
The final touch is a stack of freshly laundered towels with an eye mask (the room is extremely bright), chocolates and more beads. I spray the room with lavender linen spray and voila — a guest room is born!
This weekend, we have two friends in town. One will get the guest room and the other the sofa. For the sofa-bound pal, I’ll put all of his bedding, bathroom linens and a couple of magazines in a decorative basket for presentation. The basket then doubles as an easy and tidy place to store the bed linens during the day.
More than anything, my efforts are designed to make our friends and loved ones feel welcome and at home during there stay in New Orleans, which is something anyone can do with or without a matching comforter set.