When I made the move back from London two years ago I was adamant I had to have a place with a guest bedroom. There was going to be long weekends, filled with friends who’ve made the journey up to Newcastle to visit. I’d make them epic breakfasts, they’d revel in the glory of the soft guest towels and it would be an all round glorious experience for all involved. The reality is somewhat different it has to be said. In those two years the room has been used just twice as a guest room. The rest of those days have seen it filled with everything I didn’t want to appear anywhere else in the flat. From hoovers to Christmas wreaths and mountains of shoe boxes, it’s been a little abused.
Upon receiving the message to say someone was coming to stay I was stupidly excited. I do love to play host. Rather quickly however the dread set in. Where would the hoover go? Where would I put those ladders I had to buy to paint the hallway without realising I wouldn’t be able to store them anywhere afterwards? Exactly where had I stored the spare pillowcases?
I think to some extent we all like to play the host. Inviting someone into our home and doing our best to make them feel welcome isn’t just about making the guest feel good, but it’s about the desire to make sure you’ve made someone else happy. I don’t think that’s ever more the case than at Christmas, so when a Christmas guest is coming, it just makes it all even more exciting.
After a ruthless clear out involving equal quantities of charity bags and bin bags, I set about preparing the room for the arrival of its temporary inhabitant. I first like to start with making sure it smells welcoming, which you may think is a little odd, but to me scent is one of the most important things about a home. The room is unused for the most part so there’s always going to be the familiar smell that goes with a forgotten room. Light a candle or bring in a diffuser a day or two before so it has time to alter the room’s scent. If (again, like myself) you haven’t had the radiator on in there in a while, make sure you do it a few days before. Even the most thorough cleaners can’t get rid of the scent of a disused radiator kicking into action. If anyone was to make a candle of this unpleasant scent I imagine it would be entitled ‘Scorched Dust’.
I plump the pillows that have now been extracted from their vacuum packed storage beneath the bed and jostle with the feather duvet. There’s nothing like sinking into a squishy cloud of a bed. When it comes to bedlinen, I’m picky to say the least. I like things to remain white or neutral so everything feels as fresh as possible. This beautiful jacquard set from Soak & Sleep are a soft oatmeal in colour, flecked with a light grey slub.
I team them with white sheets and layer with a grey waffle bedspread. A throw or bedspread is essential in my eyes – we’re all very different when it comes to temperature. I find myself cold approximately 99.7% of the time, never more so than when in bed. Folding it neatly across the bottom of the bed allows your guest to adjust as they see fit without having to ask.
I’ve still not quite got around to buying a full set of furniture for the room so a bedside table arrives in the makeshift form of a stack of magazines. They’re satisfyingly white and if my guests can’t sleep, there’s something to read. A win/win. As it’s Christmas – and I have an abundance of decorations I’ve still yet to find a home for – I add a simple felt stocking and the star garland I spent the night before making. Having just discovered exactly how to make the stars I’ve now thrown them at just about every surface, present and person I’ve come into contact with.
Finish with a carafe of water (I hear guests like to be hydrated) and a set of your fluffiest towels. Giving guests a set of white towels always makes me slightly nervous, 1. because I’ve seen the level of eyeliner some of my friends adorn themselves with and 2. because I know it also makes them feel nervous as they too know the level of eyeliner they adorn themselves with. With that in mind, my guest towels are always grey. Let’s preserve both of our nerves.
The bedding featured in this post was kindly gifted by Soak & Sleep