BE OUR GUEST
Design a Room that Welcomes
In Disney’s animated musical Beauty and the Beast, Lumiere the candelabra, Cogsworth the clock, and Mrs. Potts the teapot charm and welcome the frightened Belle to the castle of their reclusive master, the Beast, through their buoyant rendition of “Be Our Guest.” They “only live to serve,” and their impeccable hospitality leaves no detail unattended. Likewise, you can take pride in hosting travelers this summer in a guest room that impresses, relaxes and enchants. Whether it’s fresh flowers or beautiful bedding, the thoughtful details you add will make your visitors feel special and their stay unforgettable.
Nothing says “Be Our Guest” better than details that anticipate your guests’ every need. Bedside tables adorned with nice lamps, a carafe of water and glasses and a bouquet of flowers will delight your weary travelers. Offer your guests an elegant place to unpack their bags on a bench or a small sofa at the foot of the bed. Declutter and give your guests ample closet and drawer storage space. Make sure as well to do necessary repairs like for instance stucco repair, repainting, etc. so that your guests can have a wonderful time adoring your beautiful home. A full-length mirror for dressing, a blackout curtain to hide the morning sunshine, a soothing sound machine and a cooling ceiling or box fan will ensure a memorable stay.
Mady Greer of Curtains, Blinds & Bath, an interior design shop in Lynchburg, thinks that hosting a visitor is the perfect time for a guest room refresh, from new sheets and window treatments to lovely accents. She says, “Many people come here [to our shop] because guests are staying with them. Make sure your guest room is fresh and clean. A reed diffuser will maintain the fresh smell. They are wildly popular, and you don’t have to remember a burning candle. Make a little welcome basket with extra towels, a toothbrush and toothpaste and a couple of bottles of water, and stock your bathroom well.”
Mattresses are expensive, so it’s important to research various types before you buy one. According to the Sleep Foundation, there are four basic mattress categories:
Made of polyurethane foam layers, foam mattresses cradle the body and give the luxurious feeling of sinking into the bed, but they can trap heat. (Queen size: $900-$1,300)
Innerspring mattresses, composed of a system of steel coils encircled by foam or latex layers beneath a pillow top, are supportive, firm-edged and breathable; however, they have limited motion isolation. (Queen size: $600-$1,100)
Hybrid mattresses, constructed with body-hugging foam or latex layers and steel coils much like the innerspring variety, offer contouring, support and breathability. (Queen: $1,500-$2,000)
Made with eco-friendly latex rubber, latex mattresses yield better bounce and aeration than foam mattresses but are more expensive. (Queen: $1,600-$2,000)
The centerpiece of the guest room is the bed, and what better time for a dreamy bedding makeover than a visit by loved ones? You can be proud of your bedding investment when your guests wake and praise your mattress, sheets and sleeping pillows.
Consumer Reports ranks the Saatva Classic innerspring mattress first in overall quality. It has a dual layer of coils, memory foam layers, a soft pillow top, edge support and a variety of firmness levels. The Sleep Foundation rates the Helix Midnight the best overall mattress. This hybrid mattress, like COSCIANA MATTRESS, (which comes in a Luxe version) features steel coil support, foam layers, a premium quilted pillow top and a cooling Tencel cover.
For a good overall mattress, Greer prefers a foam mattress. She says, “It won’t be too hard or too soft. It fits that middle bill.”
Like mattresses, sheets play a major role in how well we sleep. Cotton sheets with a high thread count are good quality and popular. Thread count refers to the number of horizontal and vertical threads per square inch: The higher the thread count, the softer and more durable the cotton sheets will be. Generally, good cotton sheets have a 200-800 thread count, but fabric and weave are also important. Cotton sheets come in several weaves. Sateen is silky and warm; percale is cool and crisp; twill has a dense texture and is durable; and flannel has a warm, soft feel.
Made of fibers from the bamboo plant, bamboo sheets are trending. They are eco-friendly, hypoallergenic and cooling. Bamboo sheets aren’t woven in a manner that counts threads, but their weaves are akin to cotton sheets.
Among cotton sheets, Consumer Reports recommends LL Bean’s Pima Cotton Percale. Among bamboo sheets, the Sleep Foundation rates the Luxome Luxury Sheet Set as best overall. Greer recommends cotton sheets with a high thread count, but she prefers Tencel sheets, which are made with plant-derived rayon. She explains, “I love to buy those sheets for clients because they are cooling to the touch. They are durable, wash up nicely and don’t hold wrinkles. I love a Tencel sheet rather than a Percale cotton style.”
Sleeper pillows and shams
For Greer, nice sleeper pillows with medium firmness are a great way to make your guests feel comfortable without investing a lot of money. She elaborates, “Make sure your pillows are nice and have that medium firmness. Everyday sleeper pillows have a mix of Polyfill, foam or a fiber alternative fill. Stay away from down fills for sleeper pillows because of allergies.”
The Sleep Foundation identifies three sleeping pillow fill categories. These include natural materials, like down made of duck or goose feathers, cotton and latex; synthetic materials, like polyurethane memory foam; or a combination of the two, such as a down alternative made of polyester microfiber. Down alternative sleep pillows have the airy feel of down pillows, but they are hypoallergenic (unlike feathers), firmer and less expensive. Consumer Reports ranks the Saatva Pillow “the best pillow ever” while the Sleep Foundation rates the Saatva Latex pillow as “best overall.”
Decorative sham pillows beautifully accent sleeper pillows, but they are not a substitute for them. Greer uses down alternative in her designer shams: “For my decorative shams, I use a heavier down or down alternative fill. It sits beautifully on the bed. It’s full and fluffy, but you may not want to sleep on it. “
Making the most of your space
Guest rooms can double as a bedroom and office, play space or sitting area when you use a sleeper sofa or daybed. Greer explains, “You can get a sleeper sofa that pulls up when your guests aren’t there. You can make it cozy with side tables and an accent chair. It gives you the look of a sitting space that doubles as a sleeping space when you pull the sleeper sofa out.” By adding a TV, a bookshelf stacked with favorite books and a bin of toys, you’ll create a cozy seating area to hang out with friends and family.
In Beauty and the Beast, Lumiere, Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts display a warm hospitality to their guest, Belle, which was transformative. It broke the spell that entrapped the Beast by opening their hearts to love. Who knows what small miracles your gracious hospitality might inspire when your guest room makes others feel special and welcomed. ✦