20 Ways to Make Guests Comfortable When You Don’t Have a Guest Room 

You can’t offer guests more than an air mattress on your living-room floor, but you want them to have as pleasant a stay as possible. Rest easy: There are plenty of simple ways to make them feel at home.

Photo by David Prince

1. Do some recon work. If you’ve never experienced your guest accommodations as visitors do, try them out. Is your living room quiet? Is a night-light needed? Is the floor or rug as clean as it can be? Is the air mattress comfortable? If the answer to the latter is no…

2. Upgrade to an elevated air bed, if possible. Yes, a raised air bed costs more, but if you have the budget (and space), it will go far in ensuring your guests’ contentment.

3. Give your guests a choice of pillow (even if it means pulling one from your own bed). For some people, a good night’s sleep starts with what’s under their heads. A back sleeper will need firm support under the neck; a stomach sleeper might want something softer. The right pillow can make all the difference.

4. Reserve a super-cozy blanket for them. A cuddly cover—something that feels rich and plush (even if it’s inexpensive)—can make company feel luxuriously welcomed.

5. Supply a lighter blanket too. Sometimes finding just the right ratio of blanket to room heat can be tricky. Let a guest experiment.

6. Spritz sheets with linen spray. Not only will a fragrance freshen sheets that may have been sitting on a closet shelf for a while, but a soothing scent—such as lavender—can also help lull visitors to sleep.

7. Keep disposable earplugs on hand. This is especially helpful if you live in a noisy urban setting—or with a rooster.

8. And an eye mask is nice. Adjusting to a new environment can be difficult for a guest. An eye mask will eliminate distracting light sources, making falling asleep easier.

9. Set up a folding screen. An inexpensive divider—which you can stash away after your visitor departs—will help make the space feel as if it’s his or her own.

10. Unfold a luggage rack. Having a place to rest a bag during a stay will be more comfortable for a guest—and keep your living room neater. You can find plenty of options for under $40 at such sites as wayfair.com and bedbathandbeyond.com.

11. Create a makeshift nightstand. Even just a pile of books or magazines will serve as a place to rest reading glasses, a phone, and a small glass of water.

12. Put out something to read. Before you pile up those magazines, offer one or two to peruse.

13. Let your couch be a headboard. Arrange the air mattress so that it is perpendicular to the front of your couch and your guest will be able to prop up a pillow against it for easy reading.

14. Put together a little basket of mini toiletries. Visitors will feel pampered.

15. Give your guest a set of towels. Keep them color-coordinated and distinct from others. And then designate space in the bathroom—on the towel rack or a hook—where he or she can hang them.

16. Earmark some plastic bags for laundry. A visitor might forget to pack something to hold wash—and you don’t want it balled up on your living-room floor. (You know it could happen!)

17. Have an OTC allergy medication available. Are you a pet owner? A guest may not be aware of sensitivity to pet dander—until the sneezing starts.

18. Jot down your Wi-Fi password and instructions for working your TV. Which remote does what?

19. Let guests know what your routine is. You may need to get in the shower and off to work; be clear on a schedule so you’re not jockeying for bathroom time. And then straighten the bathroom to ready it for their use.

20. Make them comfortable with the neighborhood. Be sure they know where public transportation is, along with the nearest coffee shop, if you’re not brewing it yourself.