How to host guests in a small apartment

Private Property South Africa
Veronica Logan

If you’ve ever lived in a tiny apartment, but love playing host, you’ll know the challenges of accommodating overnight guests when space is limited.

The festive season is almost upon us and that means it’s time for gathering together with family and friends from near and wide. This may mean that you get to accommodate some, if not all, of them this year which as exciting as it sounds, can be a little challenging when you’re pushed for space in your tiny one-bedroomed apartment! That said, having overnight guests in a small spot isn’t as impossible as it may seem if you take note of the following tips:

Make room

The first (and most obvious!) step to hosting overnight guests is to tidy and declutter. Take the opportunity to get rid of all your unwanted or unused items that have been sneakily accumulating as the year has gone by. Also pack away or hang up any clothes you might have left out as well as any other items that you might have left lying around. Once you’ve created more space for yourself, it’s time to make space for your guests! Start by walking through your apartment and making a note of where you could store some of your guests’ belongings, for example leaving a few hangers or a shelf free in your cupboard, as well as where it would be best to set up their bed. If your guests will be sleeping on an air mattress, try and move all your furniture to one side or against one of the walls. If your guests are sleeping on the couch or daybed, consider moving an ottoman or small bedside table alongside it to create a comfy nook for them.

Read more: Clever storage ideas for small homes

Find the right bed

After tidying and clearing away for your guests, it’s important to consider what bed option works best for you. Depending on the size of your apartment, the sleeping options are probably the couch, a daybed or an air mattress.

High quality air mattresses are a good investment as they are easy to inflate and store when not needed. When considering air mattress options, be on the lookout for ones that come with a plug-in inflating option, extra cushioning and a velvet-type top to prevent your sheets from sliding off. A daybed is also a good piece of furniture to invest in for small apartments, especially because of its dual couch-bed feature. If money is tight and you can’t afford either an air mattress or daybed, you can turn your existing couch into a comfy bed for guests by layering it with blankets and any extra pillows. If you live in a cold climate, consider laying a blanket between the couch and any sheeting to create some additional heat in addition to the blankets above the sheets.

Create a sense of privacy

While it might be a tricky notion to consider, both you and your houseguests are going to need some privacy during their stay despite how close you all are. That said, this could be easier said than done when your apartment is small so it might take time to come up with the best solution. Consider using a tension rod to temporarily hang a curtain or purchase a screen divider if budget allows. Also be sure to stock their space with everything they’ll need for a comfortable stay without having to ask i.e. clean towels, bath soap, tissues, an extra key and without a doubt, the WIFI password!

Do a trial run

It might seem like an odd suggestion but take the time to put yourself in your guests’ shoes! Set up things as you would and see if there’s anything you needed or would need to change to make their stay more comfortable. For example, take note of whether the streetlights shine directly onto where their make-shift bed would be or whether there’s a flowerpot that could catch their toe in the middle of the night! Once you have a better idea of what potential issues they could face, take the time to solve each one prior to their arrival.

Pack things away asap

Once your houseguests have arrived, be sure to stow their luggage and belongings out of the way as soon as possible as there’s nothing more cumbersome than open suitcase or heap of clothes lying on the floor! Possible luggage storage locations include under your bed or couch failing which against the wall in the corner of the room. As mentioned, clear out a drawer or space in your closet for some of their key items of clothing and make sure there’s space for their toiletries in the bathroom. During the day, you can even fold up their sheets and blankets and store these for use in the evenings.

Make your home theirs

One of the difficulties guests often face is not knowing where everything is and how things work. Living in a small apartment makes things even trickier as you’ll probably have a well-thought out system of organising things that might not be obvious at the outset. Show them where key items such as tea, coffee and sugar or even loo paper are kept so that they don’t feel like a nuisance for asking. Also be sure to tell them how the alarm or gate remote works if need be, as well as where all emergency contacts are kept just in case. You can take hospitality one step further by keeping a fresh supply of snacks and drinks on hand for guests to help themselves to throughout their stay.

Take them out

Come what may, being in close quarters with anyone will invariably lead to a bit of cabin fever if you aren’t careful. With this in mind, be sure to plan for at least one or two trips and outings during their stay just to give yourselves a breather and a fresh perspective! Go out for a coffee or walk around your neighbourhood at least once every two days and take pleasure in sharing your external surroundings with your guests.

Without a doubt, sharing a space with other humans can be tricky and challenging, especially when space is tight or limited! That said, it’s not impossible and these great tips should go a long way to helping you and your guest enjoy the festive season together even if as sardines in a small apartment-sized can!

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