One of the challenges I’m often asked by clients to help solve is where to put their house guests. Space is increasingly at a premium in our homes and many of us, particularly in London and surrounding areas, don’t have the luxury of a dedicated spare room.
More often than not the kids will be asked to bunk in with each other, or with their parents, so that guests can have a space of their own. But how do you make your grown-up guests feel at home in a kid's room? And how do you ensure your kid still get a good night’s sleep when they’re crashing over in another room?
If you’re reading this and you’re likely to be one of my own house guests, you might want to stop reading now... because whilst I’m all for creating a lovely relaxing space for my guests, I don’t think it makes too much sense to design a room around someone who may only stay over once or twice a month. Your child will use the room every day so their needs really do need to come first when you’re designing the space. That said, there are still lots of ways to create a beautiful room that both your kids and guests will love.
The first consideration is the size of the room. Floor space is really important in a kid's room so I would never recommend having a full-size double or king bed taking up a lot of space. Instead I would recommend a sofa bed or day bed with a trundle underneath. When choosing, ideally look for one that also has space to store bedding so you don’t need to find somewhere else to store the spare duvet and pillows. Day to day this will take up as little space as possible in the room, and you can use it as additional seating for night feeds or story time.
Decor wise it's best to go for neutral with pops of colour so that the space can work for everyone. Also, build in as much storage as possible so that toys can be put away out of sight when guests are visiting. And a very important tip if it's baby's room, make sure you don't leave the nappy bin in the room when guests are visiting!
Here is a gorgeous example of a nursery that incorporates a sofa bed for guests designed by The Designer & The Decorator. The neutral colours and soft furnishings create a warm, sumptuous environment for guests, but there's still lots of pattern and interest for baby and importantly all the practical needs of baby are still met. An additional bonus of having a day bed or sofa bed means there's a comfortable space for mum or dad to sleep if baby is poorly or struggling with sleep.
Here's another example where an upholstered day bed has been included in a teenager's room, providing space for guests or for when she her own friends round for sleepovers. Remember to include a small table near the sofa/day bed so that your guests have somewhere to put their things when they're using the room and also a bedside light is essential.
Also try to include somewhere for your guests to store their clothes and luggage. An obvious place would be to include hooks on the back of the door, or a shaker style peg rail that can be used by the kids day to day but easily cleared when guests are staying.
So, now that your guests are well catered for, the next question is where to stick the kids? If it's baby's room, the obvious choice is to move him/her back into your room for the duration of the stay. It's a room they'll already be familiar with having spent their first few months with you so they should settle more easily. Use black out blinds and your travel cot. If it's an older child, you might consider using an air bed or sleeping bag on the floor of your room or a sibling's room.
A great alternative I recently came across is the Bundle Bed. It's an easy way to have an additional bed in the house without needing to worry about storing bulky airbeds, finding pumps, or punctures. They come with a self-inflating mattress, and with their own pillow, 15 tog duvet and cotton sheets so it's a complete bed in itself, but crucially they can be rolled up and stored in a cupboard without taking up too much space. I think they're a genius idea for sleepovers. They come in lots of bright colours that would really appeal to kids too.
Final tip, if you leave the wi-fi code out for your guests to use remember to change it once they've gone.
I'd love to hear if you have any other suggestions for making guests feel at home in your kids' rooms.