how to host guests in a small space

Living in #mytinybungalow, I get asked A LOT about how on Earth we ever have guests stay with us. And you know we have them because my bestest friends live in totally different cities! We tend to get lots of house guests because people love to visit Seattle (ahem, only in the summer)… and because I always insist that people stay with us. What can I say, I’m proud of owning my own house! But anyways, everyone is always curious about how to make it work space-wise, so today I’m here to answer this question.

There are a few key things you want to make sure you do to
host guests in a small space:

Lots of planning
The best situation is when you have a week’s notice (or more) so you can plan, plan, plan. Have I mentioned that I’m a big planner? Ha. Even if you only have a day or two, take time to get your ducks in a row so everything is ready to go when your guests arrive. That alone makes thing much easier. Here’s a quick checklist to reference:

  • Decide if you’re staying in the house or giving the whole show to your guests. Sean and I usually clean everything up and stay on the sailboat when guests come and stay. We’ve also been known to take off in our Vanagon for an overnight camping adventure.
  • If you are staying in the house, make sure you can give guests some privacy. Pick up a privacy screen (this one is under $100) and set it up in the space where they’ll be staying. Trust me, they’ll appreciate the gesture.
  • Whether you’re staying in the house or not, make sure to pick up and get rid of any extra clutter laying around. This will make your tiny space feel bigger and ready to fit more bodies in it!
  • Make sure there’s a dedicated space for their luggage. Set up a chair or clear off a bench so they can access their things without much trouble. Then when they’re not using it, tuck it away into a closet or zip it up and store it away from the thick of things.

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Hidden beds
There are a couple options here. If you have guests frequently, investing in a pullout couch may be a good option for you. Or I’ve even seen these crazy contraptions that are ottomans and then fold out into a twin size bed. Kind of like a roll-away that’s functional when it’s not in use. Maybe that’s not your thing, but maybe it is?

If secret ninja ottomans and pullout couches aren’t an option, then there’s always the regular couch (you can get a deep one that’ll feel more like a bed) and/or air mattresses. Air mattresses can be a pain to store, but a good place I’ve discovered is inside a suitcase. This way they don’t take up any of that valuable storage space. Because if you live tiny, you know ALL about this.

Also, I highly recommend putting beds and blankets away when guests aren’t actively using them — especially if you’re going to be spending time during the day in your space. Keep things tidy and it should be smooth sailing.

Thoughtful (smart) touches
When your house guest walks in and the first thing they see is a basket filled with toiletries, their favorite candy — maybe a bottle of something or six-pack — they’re going to instantly feel gracious. They’ll soon forget they’re camping out on your floor or crowding up your house because they’re going to be so dang happy — and probably tipsy. Also, providing things like phone chargers, the WiFi code, and sharing where the closest outlet is (seriously, sometimes they’re hidden in tiny homes) and where the coffee is is smart. Let them be as independent as possible, and everyone will feel less on top of each other — literally and figuratively.

These are just a few of the simple things you can do to make having guests over easier when space is a hot commodity. Any other amazing tips? Let me know in the comments.

Behind The Blog

Joanna Hawley-McBride is a Pacific Northwest-based social media strategist, content creator, and former textile designer. Joanna is the founder and editor-in-chief of Jojotastic, a lifestyle blog focused on Joanna’s work-in-progress cabin, finding the best pair of underwear through #UnderwearThesis, and empowering women to explore nature — all in her signature unfiltered style. Her work has been featured in Domino, CNBC, and Eating Well.

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