As any homeowner knows, having a guesthouse is a major blessing. Your friends and family get a free place to stay, without you having to share your bathroom/kitchen/living room for the duration. Make the most of their time in your backyard haven. Design the space to hold essentials that leave them feeling comfortable, relaxed and self-sufficient.
Choose a Theme:
It doesn't need to be bold or overwhelming, but having a simple, subtle theme that ties the space together can make a world of difference -- especially if the guesthouse is only one room. Choose something that's warm and inviting -- cold, modern decor need not apply. Beach, floral, shabby chic and country house themes are always huge hits. If you hate getting too matchy-matchy, opt for a globetrotting theme that mixes vintage elements and personal items to create an eclectic lived-in feel.
Get A Great Bed:
You don't want your mother-in-law traipsing across the lawn in the morning to give you an earful about her terrible night's sleep. Save yourself the drama and put a fabulous bed in the bedroom. Don't skimp on size, guests like to spread out. Depending on how much space you've got, you want to have at least a queen size bed with a high quality mattress.
Have a Full Bath:
It's not essential to install a grand claw foot tub -- most guest houses don't have the room -- but giving your friends and family the full bathroom experience (aka a shower) is necessary. They don't have to head back-and-forth across the yard to get clean and you don't have to wait in line for your morning scrub down. It's a total win-win.
Install a Kitchenette:
One room guest houses may not have the space to support a full on kitchen, but adding even a mini fridge, a microwave and a cabinet for snacks and a few dishes can make your visitors feel self-sufficient.
Install Good Lighting:
No one likes to putter around in the dark -- indoors or out. Give your guests a variety of lighting options in the guesthouse's interior by mixing table and floor lamps with overhead LED lights on dimmers. You can even use a creative lighting scheme to divide up a one room backyard house into areas.
Outside, install lights on the exterior of the guest house and add footlights to the path back to the main house. To ensure that your guests never end up stumbling around in the dark, put the footlights on a timer that turns them on automatically when the sun goes down.
Stock Up On Extras:
Blankets, towels, sheets and pillows are all must-haves on your list of guest house goodies. Stock at least two extra sets of each. If you don't have room for a linen closet, store them in a trunk or a set of decorative baskets.
Heating and Cooling:
Every guest is different -- some like it hot, some like it cold. Give them the best of both worlds by tricking out your backyard house with a bevy of options. A small space heater will appease those predisposed to the chills; while installing a window air conditioner and one or two ceiling fans gives hotter folk a few ways to cool down.
By Megan Mostyn-Brown