When special friends are in town from overseas or interstate it’s nice to be able to offer them a bed for the night, or even for an extended stay. But what do you do if you don’t have much room for guests?

Having an extra person in the house for a length of time can put a lot of stress on your lifestyle, yet it may be impossible to say no. How do you open your home to guests without risking your sanity and your relationship?

The main thing a guest needs is a bed. Ideally a guest would have their own bedroom and en suite and enjoy a level of separation (even their own entrance) from the main house. This allows a degree of privacy that means even a long stay will have a relatively small impact on the day-to-day running of your household.

Unfortunately not many of us are lucky enough to have such luxury within our own homes and guests end up on the lounge room floor or in the spare room. A few nights on the lounge room floor can be easily tolerated by both parties.

However, should the stay be for much longer, then this type of setup will quickly wear thin and you’ll need to come up with a way to provide privacy and separation.

A spare room, if you have one, is a good option for guest accommodation but, more often than not, adapting it for guest use isn’t that simple. If you’re like most people the spare room is either a study or junk room.

If you have the tendency to use your spare room to store things, the task of adapting the room for visitors could be daunting.

Try not to get in the habit of just throwing things in and shutting the door. If it has already reached the point of no return, buying some cheap stacking boxes or wicker baskets to quickly pack everything into and stack in the corner is a good short-term clean-up solution.

After your guest have left, go through the boxes and throw everything out that you haven’t used in the last six months and that has no real value. Then repack the boxes and label them for storage.

Make sure that your guests have enough room to store their luggage, space to hang clothes and a clear surface for toiletries and other items. If you still need to use the room for work etc., negotiate times to access the room so your guest still has a sense of privacy.

Finally if you have no spare room and an extended stay is on the cards you might want to look at ways of partitioning off part of your living area.

Screens can provide a degree of privacy, and though it’s not ideal it may help your guest to feel more comfortable. There are various types of partitioning systems including simple free-standing screens and modular aluminium tube systems.

Negotiating the terms and limits of your guest’s stay is another issue, but providing some physical space and privacy for your guest will at least go some way towards ensuring you will still be friends at the end of the stay.

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