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My first house, we hardly ever had people over because we lived so far away from family and outside of the city, so not much of a friend’s destination. One of our intentions with moving closer to family (45 minutes, 4 hours, 12 hours for the family we see the most) was to be able to have large gatherings for holidays and summer getaways. Unfortunately, our budget and my strong desire not to have a huge house to clean left us with a smaller house than is ideal for our extended family size. With the majority of my siblings now married (3/4 girls – the fourth is still very young so no need to rush, Little K!), our family will hopefully start to expand soon. That left me wondering, how do you house guests when you don’t have a lot of traditional space?
Assessing Your Space
First off, what sort of gatherings are you planning to host at your house? Do you have a small family or bunch of friends (1-4 people) who you plan to have over, or larger, say 5-12? (That’s me.)
Generally, the first idea is a guest room, but that’s not always an option. Or if you have a lot of people you are trying to have over, one guest room may not be enough. If that’s the case, let’s look at the options we have.
List out the below as we begin to brainstorm.
How much space do you have to house people?
What are your traditional bed options?
Are you housing mostly adults or children or a mix?
Now, what are your non-traditional options you could try out from the list below?
I have a little less than 1500 sq ft (2 bedrooms, 1 1/2 baths), not including a heated garage, which is 3 bays wide. We are on half an acre as well, so we have some outdoor space.
Traditional bed options
- Guest Room – Houses 2-6 people. 2 people in a queen bed (plus a toddler or two). It would be really tight, but we could get 2 more people on a blowup queen mattress on the floor. +6
- Office nook – Full sized futon, a chaise plus futon or queen sized pull out couch. On my wishlist, is one of these two options. The first would be better because it means moving less stuff around when people are coming to stay, but the second is appealing because it would be more comfortable for 2 full sized people. +2
- Living Room – Unfortunately, I didn’t think about getting a pull-out until it was too late. I fell in love with a somewhat impractical blue velvet sofa instead. No pull out bed, gathers pet hair like non other, but luckily, it fits two small children pretty easily! +2 kids
- Open space – I have space in my living room to add a queen blow up mattress +2 adults and a toddler
- Open space – I have room in my heated garage for at least 1 queen blow up mattress +2 and a toddler
Creative bed options
Alright, so we covered our traditional options of guest rooms, spaces for blow up mattresses, pull out sofas and just sofas to sleep on. What else is there?
- Large reclining chair that seats two +2 kids
- Trundle beds, usually twin sized, that can pull out from under the guest bed or the bed in the master bedroom (this would be good for when my husband and I have kids and we requisition their bedroom for guests) +1-2 per trundle
- Hammocks +however many hammocks you can string up inside or outside if you have a copse of trees
- If the weather is good, pop a tent in the backyard + however many are willing to setup a tent outside
- If you have willing friends, have them bring along their camper and house people outside. (We did this for Thanksgiving and were able to house 5 people outside in a 5th wheel camper.) +5
- Camping mats and sleeping bags. If you have any of these, they’re great additions for any extra space you may have. These mats tend to be narrow and low to the ground though, so I wouldn’t suggest them for older guests. +however many mats and sleeping bags are available
- Loft, attic or basement space. If unfinished, use at your own risk. I wouldn’t necessarily put kids where bugs and cold can freak them out. My sister has a nice, clean unfinished basement that our family has stayed in before. (I cannot wait to see that finished product. I will probably be green with envy at all her space!)
- Murphy beds. My mom loves these. Inexplicably, my husband hates the concept and doesn’t want any in our house. If you can get one, these are great space saving options that can be tucked away when not being used.
- Ottomans that become beds. Oh yeah. Who thought this up?
- Sectionals that become a bed. Whaaaat?
- Do you have a screened in porch? Can you put people out there in the summer like they used to in the 50s and before?
What non-traditional tricks do you use for housing overnight guests?