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Accommodating extra guests…

Guests-real women advise
Unused space
Look around your home – is there any space that is not used on a daily basis? What about that spare room that has become a bit of a dumping ground? What better excuse than visiting relatives over the Christmas or New Year period to actually sort it out?

Work logically through the items you have accumulated and create three specific piles – rubbish, need and sentimental.  Put the sentimental things into cardboard boxes and get them in the loft.  Get rid of any paperwork etc that you no longer need to keep and organise the things that you do.

Once you have worked through your clutter, think about making the room multi-functional – this is space that you haven’t utilised fully so make the most if it. Think about what would benefit the family? An office during the day come spare guest room or perhaps a kids room/den? – It doesn’t matter how bizarre you might think the idea; if it works for the family then that is all that matters. Try to utilise a sofa bed when thinking about the seating arrangements – you can get some stylish, comfortable ones that come in handy on those rare occasions when you have a full house.

The main ruling in making any room multi functional is to keep the walls neutral and the window dressing and lighting simple yet effective – this will help to make the space more adaptable to its various uses.

Sleeping arrangements
If you haven’t got the luxury of unused space then just be logical about it.  When we had a family of four staying at our house, we gave up the main bedroom so that the family could stay together which helped the children to settle – the kids were placed on airbeds at the bottom of the bed and absolutely loved it! We used an airbed in the living room which we stored in our sons room during the day.  Another year we turned the den into a bedroom for five teenagers –not easy, but it worked well. We also created some space for them in a wardrobe by putting some summer clothes away in a suitcase, a lot of work you might think, but our guests were staying for five days and we wanted them to be comfortable.  Another year we put makeshift canvas wardrobes on the landing – cheap and cheerful storage solutions, purchased from Argos for around twenty pounds all in. We also placed lamps strategically around the room so that lights could be turned off without anyone having to get out of bed.  We also splashed out on new pillows and quilts and covered them with luxurious bedding, throws and cushions making the whole room look very cosy and inviting.

The main thing to remember is that as long as people are comfortable, they are fairly adaptable so invest in a couple of good airbeds or a sofa bed.  Just remember that wherever you place your guests, keep the kitchen and living room free.  If the living room needs to be used, then sorry, but you will be the best ones to use it – this will help to avoid any unnecessary ‘awkwardness’ in the morning when you are waiting for your guests to wake up.  Besides with a house full you’ll be up early anyway – right?

Eating arrangements
Ideally everyone needs to be eating at the same time.  Last year we borrowed my mums’ dining table and chairs and crammed both tables into one room – it worked well but it wasn’t the same as having everyone at one table.  This year we are purchasing a large sheet of MDF and polystyrene sheeting to place over our current dining table allowing ten people to be sat round a table that normally hold six.  Extra chairs needed?  Borrow them! If you really are particular about creating a wow factor with your dining experience, then simply use white pillow cases to put over the back of the chairs and simply gather about half way down and tie with a big, luxurious ribbon.  Same applies for all your plates, serving dishes and pans.  See what you can borrow from the family and friends who may be spending Christmas elsewhere, again think about colour schemes if appearance is important to you.  Alternatively, find some plates that can be purchased singularly – this year we have found some that match our dining set perfectly and for an extra four side plates, dinner plates and bowls we paid an amazingly fantastic price of forty eight pounds.

Getting ready
When you have a house full of guests, getting everyone ready can be quite a chore so give some thought to areas for doing hair and make-up.  If you have guests for a while, it may be worth while thinking about an alternating rota – females cook breakfast and then get ready whilst males clean up, following day males cook breakfast then get ready whilst females clean up, and so on.  Just make sure you have something to keep the kids and males entertained, allowing the females to get ready in peace.

The list could go on, but whatever your plans this year, remember, that spending time together is what is valuable, so accept all help that’s offered, don’t try to keep the house as tidy as you normally have it and most importantly – enjoy it!

Sue Hessom
Tidy Interiors

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