What items/objects should be in a guest bedroom?
April 1, 2012 7:39 PM   Subscribe

What items/objects should be in a guest bedroom?

You are a guest in someone elses house.

In the guest bedroom that you are staying in is:

* a double bed with pillows, sheets, doona;

* a built-in-wardrobe with mirror doors and plenty of coathangers inside;

* two wall-mounted shelves;

* a reading lamp next to the bed;

* a box of tissues;

* books to read;

* towels to use.

What else would you like to see in the guest bedroom?

What am I overlooking that would make someones stay more comfortable?
posted by Year of meteors to Home & Garden (45 answers total) 74 users marked this as a favorite
A towel.

Bottle of water and a glass on the bedside table.

A key to the front door.

I also like to have a spare toothbrush around in case a guest forgets theirs.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:41 PM on April 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

A fan (ceiling, box or standing)
Extra blankets
posted by kimdog at 7:43 PM on April 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

A little basket of toiletries.

Seconding the water (and maybe something light to nosh on, like a granola bar).
posted by thomas j wise at 7:43 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Alarm clock.
posted by Perplexity at 7:44 PM on April 1, 2012 [12 favorites]

A waste basket.
A digital alarm clock.
posted by OsoMeaty at 7:45 PM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Extra pillow, extra blanket, more than one book (overflow shelves from the residents' collection is best, especially if there's a good variety). Visible place to plug in chargers for phone/iPad/Kindle. If there is anything weird about the shower, a note explaining how to get it to work.
posted by matildaben at 7:46 PM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Computer. Like the alarm clock idea (a good one), this is becoming less and less relevant as everyone travels with a smartphone -- but for someone traveling without a computer or mobile device, a computer to check their email and CNN would probably be pretty great.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:47 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

A very straightforward and simple clock radio with a not-too-bright display. I hate being in a guest's house and not being able to tell what time it is. (Especially since it always seems like the nearest free outlet is on the other side of the room, rendering a quick phone check difficult.)

A piece of paper with the wireless router name/password written on it.

Extra toilet paper and tampons "hidden" in an easy to find place, like a decorative jar on the bathroom counter or on the back of the toilet. (Lots of people are embarrassed to ask for such things, but they're the sort of things that you need NOW.)
posted by phunniemee at 7:47 PM on April 1, 2012 [18 favorites]

I really like keeping a stack of our local arts-and-culture magazine in the guest room. If people want they can peruse these and get a little flavor for the area.

One of those folding suitcase stands is always a super nice, extra thoughtful thing. There's something just a little more comfortable about not keeping your open luggage on the floor.
posted by Miko at 7:48 PM on April 1, 2012

A chair, or multiple chairs, and a small table or desk.
posted by Flunkie at 7:48 PM on April 1, 2012

Wifi. A card with the SSID and password.
posted by birdherder at 7:49 PM on April 1, 2012 [10 favorites]

Hair dryer . . . they are such a pain to pack. One my friends does this and I love not needing to pack my dryer when I come to visit.
posted by WaspEnterprises at 7:53 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Shower cap
Advil, tampons
Toothbrush and paste, shampoo, deodorant, body wash, all travel size maybe in a basket

Slippers -ones you can wash. Bathrobe.

Iron/small ironing board
posted by anitanita at 7:55 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I host AirBnB guests. This is what I provide:

- stow a small ironing board and iron in the wardrobe, as well as a small hair dryer and some [washable/replaceable] slippers.
- the guest bathroom always contains bath towels, face washers, spare toothbrushes [just the kind that the dentist gives me after a check up], soap, shampoo, pads/tampons, hand cream, tweezers, sewing kit and whatever little hotel sachets of lotion etc that I may have.
- A map of our local area and a few tourist brochures of things I know to be decent value and worth seeing.
- A few magazines like the New Yorker, Vogue, ie whatever subscriptions I have finished reading, but are still very recent. My guest room has bookshelving, so guest can also read any books there.
- A guest book
- WiFi password - we have a spare tablet for them to use if necessary, with access to music, TV, movies etc
- an electrical adapter plug.
posted by honey-barbara at 7:56 PM on April 1, 2012 [5 favorites]

Definitely an alarm clock - not knowing the time or being able to set an alarm makes me uncomfortable when I am traveling.

A laundry basket or hamper, if the stay is more than a day or two.

Bedside table with nearby surge protector/power strip.

Night light (with the understanding they'll unplug it if they prefer darkness.)

Curtains that shut the light out really well.
posted by beandip at 7:57 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

In addition to other toiletries mentioned, a little bottle of body/face moisturizer would be excellent. As someone with dry skin, I am sometimes caught off guard by the shift in climate when traveling.
posted by hermitosis at 7:58 PM on April 1, 2012

Oh yeah, and shower caps.

In the kitchen I have small milk/soy milks, range of t-bags, coffee maker.
posted by honey-barbara at 7:58 PM on April 1, 2012

Trash can. Bedroom & bathroom. Guys in particular tend to forget this one. Having to walk feminine hygiene products to the kitchen is not something we girls like. Plus it's nice having one handy if you've got a cold & are going through Kleenex.
posted by Ys at 8:03 PM on April 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

A drinking glass and a bottle, carafe, or pitcher of some sort for water. Make it a filter pitcher if the tap water doesn't taste very good. A coaster, if appropriate.

If this is in a city, a public transit map.

Heavy curtains or blinds on the window, for the option of blocking out early morning sunlight.

In the bathroom, there should be at least one hook on the back of the door, plus as many towel bars as allowed by the wall space. If there's no room at all for towel bars, provide a drying rack of some sort. I always hate the dilemma of being in someone else's house and having a couple damp towels but nowhere appropriate to hang them up.
posted by Orinda at 8:04 PM on April 1, 2012

I love it when hosts offer things I'm likely to forget. And I've forgotten a lot of things:

shampoo and conditioner
body wash/soap and wash cloths
face wash
toothbrushes and toothpaste
spare contacts cases and solution
hair products and styling tools (if I know someone really well, I'm also down with sharing hair ties and bobby pins)
USB chargers for my phone, Kindle, etc.
blankets and throws in various weights

The toiletries don't need to be fancy, but if they are, all the better -- it just adds to the feeling of being on vacation. One thing I loved at the last place I stayed was the remote control for the ceiling fan. When I was told about it, I scoffed, but it's great to not have to get out of bed to turn off the fan or light.

(I'm working on trying to pack earlier than 10 p.m. the night before I go somewhere, y'all. My mother still packs at the last minute; I learned it from her.)
posted by runningwithscissors at 8:09 PM on April 1, 2012

If possible, I'd check for allergies, and if needed, wash the sheets in non-scented detergent.

If I was running a guest room, I'd offer non-scented versions of the above products, like soap, shampoo, sanitary napkins, etc.

Another thing I'd love to see - possible snacks, such as fresh fruit or pretzels. (Again, check for allergies).
posted by spinifex23 at 8:10 PM on April 1, 2012

extra blankets
simple alarm clock
pen / paper
wifi password

towel & wash cloth with a place to put them after being used.
shampoo & conditioner
soap or body wash etc. I have been in countless guest bathrooms with no decent soap type product.
basic toiletries just in case.
always have several extra toilet paper rolls, just in case.

available outlets near night stand to charge phone and other devices.
good curtains that really block out the light.
if possible temperature controls or something like that.
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 8:22 PM on April 1, 2012

A note about the food -- if this is an AirBnB-type scenario, a good pile-up of local take-away menus (with notations!) would be great; if you are hosting dear friends, a note saying "Please help yourself to [assorted types of food and their locations]; the microwave won't wake us, etc."

My guest bathroom gets the rejects (sorry, guests) from the main one, so it has almost everything a regular bathroom has in it -- remainder of a pack of disliked razors, a clean but ratty bathrobe, the old hair dryer, all body care junk, etc. If you "click here for a free sample!" enough you will end up with a nice basket of unused mini deodorants, lotions, little packets of facial wash; nice to have around.

+1 Orinda's observation; that happens a lot -- you get a nice stack of linens, and are then left with no idea where to leave your towels. And what of the flannel, will you be getting a new washcloth daily or should you wring out and cling to the original? Where do you store this damp rag between baths? If the guest is sharing your bathroom offering an empty basket on the counter would be a nice gesture; I don't like cluttering people's counters but I feel weird trotting off to retrieve my preferred hand lotion or whatever for every trip to the toilet.

If the books are books I would suggest throwing in some junk food; a good comic book would amuse and get more mileage than Orwell, at least on the first jet-lagged night.
posted by kmennie at 8:22 PM on April 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

Why not think of touches that add a little luxury and whimsy? :)

Bookshelf with lots of interesting magazines and folios
Fresh Moleskine notebook, paper, "house" stationery and stamped envelopes
Wicker basket full of gourmet chocolate bars, fresh fruit
Soft bathrobe and cushy slippers
Toiletries and hair dryer
Espresso/Coffee maker station
Mini-fridge full of their favorite snacks and beverages (ask!)
Keyboard or electric guitar (with headphones)
Easel in the corner with watercolor paper, brushes and paint
Alarm clock/radio
Flatscreen TV, with DVD library
Video game player with large selection of games
posted by doreur at 8:24 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I once read a book that said that the book that needs to be in your guest bedroom is the complete short stories of Saki.
posted by kimota at 8:26 PM on April 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

Doesn't really address your question, but maybe notes on what the guest can make for breakfast and not wake you.... Show them what you have available and how you usually make it (so they have an idea of what method works best for your particular kitchen). Examples include oatmeal, cereal, yogurt, fruit, coffee, tea etc.. Show them the best pot or bowl to use when making whatever. Tell them what to be mindful of so as to not wake you. Like the coffee maker is pretty loud so wait until some people are starting to get up before starting it up. Maybe write up really brief directions with pictures showing things.
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 8:31 PM on April 1, 2012

For those of us who have foolishly become addicted to having a fan going while sleeping and have difficulty doing without, the fan is really appreciated.

Enough open electrical outlets easily accessible near the bed to accommodate laptops, phone chargers, medical devices, etc.

If you're expecting international guests, maybe spare electrical adapters would be a thought too?

I would expect that a visitor with children would have a whole host of things they'd appreciate.
posted by XMLicious at 8:34 PM on April 1, 2012

A lot of the above suggestions are good, but I think for basics:
- Alarm clock
- Multiple outlets, accessible from nightstand
- Multiple pillows of different thicknesses and extra blankets
- Making sure that everything is washed in unscented detergent (All Free Clear is great and cheap) because those of us with sensitive skin will break out after just a night or two
- Making sure that the curtains/blinds are totally light-blocking
- A small table or desk

One thing I'd suggest is to sleep in there once if you haven't. You'll quickly realize if you need better blinds, more blankets, etc.
posted by radioamy at 8:36 PM on April 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

THREE towels, please. Two bath-size and one for my face. And a hamper to put them in when I'm done.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 8:53 PM on April 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

A spacer heater is often very much appreciated, especially in basement guestrooms.
posted by raztaj at 8:57 PM on April 1, 2012

Definately a small fan. I need white noise when I sleep, it's torture without a fan on. Also there's the benefit of being more in control of the temperature.

Also, a basket of travel sized toiletries & tampons.
posted by katypickle at 8:59 PM on April 1, 2012

The one thing I've found repeatedly about other people's guest rooms ismthat rhyme furnished them with either beds that are too small for a couple to sleep in comfortably (my wife and I trace together) and they buy the cheapest sheets available, which tend to be scratchy, but the owners don't know because they've never slept on them. Everything else I can figure out on myownwith a minimum of effort, but it's tough to do anything about an uncomfortable bed.

Of course I'd never mention this to someone hosting me, as it'd be extremely rude, but it doesn't change the fact that I tend to sleep so poorly as a guest in other people's homes that I'm inclined to rent my own place just so I don't toss and turn all night, waking up my wife constantly in the process.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 9:55 PM on April 1, 2012

A medicine cabinet with the basics - aspirin, ibuprofen, bandaids and maybe a couple other common over the counter things like an antiacid like Tums, pepto-bismol and alka-seltzer. Fingernail clippers. Tweezers.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:09 PM on April 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

A medicine cabinet with the basics - aspirin, ibuprofen, bandaids and maybe a couple other common over the counter things like an antiacid like Tums, pepto-bismol and alka-seltzer. Fingernail clippers. Tweezers.

I’m backing this. Make sure there’s a plunger in the bathroom somewhere. If you have toilet troubles you just deal with it, but for your guest it sucks to have to tell you that the toilet is stopped up when they could just plunge it themselves.

Try to think of things that people may not want to ask for (plunger, tampons), or situations that may come up when everyone is asleep.
posted by bongo_x at 11:27 PM on April 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

Body AND hair towels.
iPhone charger.
Earplugs (different kinds)
A flashlight.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 12:00 AM on April 2, 2012

I was a business guest in a different city, but staying in company apartments rather than a hotel, and one of the things they left for me was a little sheet with info on and rough directions to everything a guest might need on night/day 1. For example, the nearest coffee shop or 7/11 for morning coffee, the nearest grocery store for supplies, a pharmacy, a couple restaurants of the "place you'd want to get food quickly/place you can get breakfast in the morning since you've been on a plane for hours and are starving" variety, the nearest Major Public Transit Hub, just sort of basic, getting your head around things places. It was so lovely, because while I could use my smartphone to look things up, sometimes that's limited by my knowledge of the area (so I might look up Walgreen's but there's a CVS around the corner or I might look for a drug store and have to walk a long ways when there's a supermarket just around the corner with an ample pharmacy section). And I'd rather trust your recommendation for breakfast that first morning rather than try and figure out what's good on Yelp.

In the bathroom: Adequate replacement toilet paper in an obvious spot. Nothing quite induces panic like pulling that last sheet free then wondering (hoping!) there's more somewhere in the vast maze of cabinets.

If you can't fit a full-size desk and table in there, a laptop cart or one of those tables you can raise and lower are wonderful for people traveling with laptops so they're not taking over a whole nightstand.

If you include the alarm clock, leave simple instructions for setting it.

Another nice-to-have: Snacks. Just basic things like those 100 calorie packs of cookies or snack mix or whatever, something to take the edge off if I want something to nibble on but don't want to get up/go crashing through the cabinets/bug you.

If there's any quirks or unique features to your place, I'd much rather read a sheet with a quick explanation that, say, the shower works like this than be standing there naked trying to make things work and wondering if I'm going to scald/freeze myself.

I'm fond of finding reading copies of the local alt-weekly lying around for general perusing and finding out what events are coming up.

Also on the general info sheet, any alarm/door/gate codes or combinations I need to know. Nothing like standing out in the streets of the city when snow is coming down and finding out the lobby requires a separate door code after 6pm only they didn't think to tell you that.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:26 AM on April 2, 2012 [2 favorites]

What I find really helpful and appreciate when staying with other people:

- wifi details - the password is invariably in an inaccessible place whenever I want to connect
- multiplug in an easily accessible spot (ideally one where you can sit on the bed with your laptop and still have the charger plugged in) - most people travel with gadgets and need power
- towels
- soap & shampoo as these are generally not in my washbag when I travel because hotels always provide them
- access to coffee, water, snacks and permission to help myself
- instructions how to use the fancy espresso maker if that's the only way to get my coffee...
- a box with local information leaflets, maps, public transport information etc
- a key, any access codes I might need
- if you like people to take their shoes off in your home provide somewhere to put their shoes and something like washable slippers or slipper socks
- if you are one of those people with stuff on timers tell your guests about those things..
- if you want to make me feel like you really enjoy having me stay make sure the soap/shampoo/tissues/toilet paper/towels/sheets you provide for your guests are not the cheapest nastiest variety you can find - they don't have to be expensive but it would be nice if you could perhaps just stretch to the day to day quality you use yourself :)
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:14 AM on April 2, 2012

I can usually make do with whatever I managed to pack but the item I find most often missing from guest rooms is something I cannot pack: a mirror. A cheap full length mirror would be great but having at least some kind of mirror is very appreciated.
posted by mightshould at 4:41 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seriously, though...My fave guest rooms and BnB's have had a journal in the room where guests were encouraged to leave notes, thoughts and whatever for future guests. One place I stayed at in Santa Fe had a notebook that went back several years. It made for delightful reading.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:06 AM on April 2, 2012

SERIOUSLY, a plunger. I stayed with my in-laws once - only at that point I wasn't yet married to their son. And when I discovered, one morning, that ahem, there was NO PLUNGER when a plunger was desperately needed, I very seriously considered crawling through the window, sliding down the side of the house, breaking a few bones, and crawling a hundred and sixty seven miles to get back to my home. I very seriously considered breaking my engagement and just completely disappearing from their lives.
posted by sestaaak at 7:18 AM on April 2, 2012 [6 favorites]

Seconding a chair. If there's not room for a big comfy chair, still put a folding chair in the closet or something for putting on shoes, etc., if your guest wants that.
posted by pupstocks at 7:59 AM on April 2, 2012

I have a binder in our guest room that has a map marked up with nearby places of interest (restaurants, parks, shopping, public transit). It has pages with:

* Our contact information, along with non-emergency phone numbers for the fire department, EMS, police, and poison control
* Menus from our neighborhood restaurants
* Timetables of the local bus and train routes
* Photos and bios of our kitties
* House quirks to be aware of

Where necessary, there are QR codes so folks can immediately get the info on their smartphones; for example, links to the DC Metro apps for iOS/Android or the Web site of our neighborhood pub.
posted by evoque at 9:14 AM on April 2, 2012

I’m just curious, a lot of these suggestions sound like they’d be great if you were a hotel, if people you didn’t know were staying at your house and you weren’t there. Is that what’s happening?
posted by bongo_x at 9:25 AM on April 2, 2012

If you live in an area with unexpected power outages or your power goes out during weather events, consider investing in an alarm clock with a battery back up and change the battery 2x a year. Same with a small emergency flash light stored in the nightstand.
Be sure to point out both features to your guests.
posted by jaimystery at 9:43 AM on April 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Not one but two extra pillows.

If you don't have room for even a laptop stand, a lap desk is better than nothing.

In an area with unusual weather, it's a nice touch to provide some of the things that might be needed. Spare rain jacket if it rains constantly, sun hat and sunscreen for the desert, etc. It's more than what I'd expect for a guest room, but if you happen to have extras of things like this it's a kindness to point them out to people.
posted by yohko at 1:00 PM on April 2, 2012

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