Small Spaces

Give holiday guests the five-star treatment—even in your cramped walk-up

By Virginia K. Smith  | November 14, 2014 - 12:59PM

As with death, taxes, and rent hikes, if you live in New York, you can always, always count on the fact that out-of-town friends and family will want to crash with you, especially during the holidays. And on the off-chance you don't just happen to have a spacious guest room going unused, Luxury Listings NYC has some tips on making visitors feel pampered, and keeping the peace with guests in close quarters. 

Below, a few key strategies to keep in mind: 

  • No bed? No problem. There are plenty of solid alternatives to keep in mind  if you don't have a designated guest bed (or a dreaded Murphy bed), including convertible sofas, sleeper ottomans, futons, and inflatable beds or air mattresses. That last option is particular good for small spaces—you can deflate it once your guests leave town, unlike a futon. If you go this route, it's best to opt for an air mattress with a built-in pump, so guests can easily plug it into an outlet for the night.
  • Fake the extra space. Even if they're just in your living room, you can give your guests privacy (and the feeling that they've got their own territory) by cordoning off part of the room with a classic, inexpensive Shoji screen.
  • Give guests the 411. Especially if you live in an older building, your apartment likely has some quirks that take a little explaining (remember when you first moved in and hadn't figured out how to coax your door's fussy locks open?). In the interest of convenience, write it all down in a cheat sheet for your guests ahead of time.  “Include anything specific to your apartment your guests might need to know, but may be embarrassed to ask,”hospitality expert Brooke Stone tells LLNYC. “How to adjust the heat or AC, the Wi-Fi password, how to turn on the shower using your pre-war knobs.” 
  • Think like a hotel. Without splashing out a lot of extra cash, you can still fill your apartment with touches to make visitors feel like they're being pampered—aromatic candles to help them unwind from the city's stress (and smells), or even a gift basket with fresh towels, chocolates, and a bottle of wine.  
  • Leave your guests alone. Of course, they're in town to visit you as much as they are to see the city, but at a certain point, the hospitable thing to do is give everyone their space. “Don’t linger in your living room too late at night,” Stone explains. “Your guests may want to rest up for their next day and can’t go to sleep until you get out of their area — and they will never ask you to leave your own living room.” Besides, if you went to the trouble of showing everyone the sights—and cleaning your apartment to prep it for visitors—you could likely use the rest, too.


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