Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Louise Carter
Overnight guest etiquette can be a minefield if you have a home large enough to accommodate others.
If you have a spare bedroom but are unable or unwilling to allow guests to sleep in this space, giving up your bed is considered good manners in certain circumstances.
Things are more complex if your property is small and doesn’t have additional space. When deciding if you should give up your bedroom, you must consider your needs and those of your guests.
If the people staying with you require privacy, or they’re elderly or have health conditions that make sleeping in a comfy bed essential, consider allowing them to use your bedroom.
If guests arrive unexpectedly or at short notice, they shouldn’t feel entitled to your bedroom. Once you allow people to sleep in your bedroom, they’ll expect this courtesy each time they visit.
Is It Rude Not To Have A Guest Room?
It would be an oversimplification to say it’s rude not to have a guest room in your home. All properties are different, and living arrangements vary considerably.
If you live in a one-bedroom apartment or have a large family with limited free space, it could be considered rude for guests to “expect” to stay.
While a home can be redecorated, more space can’t be instantly conjured up. Property is expensive, and perhaps you can’t afford to rent or buy a larger, more spacious home.
Also, more people than ever work from home since 2020. If a guest bedroom has been turned into an office, modifying this setup may not be practical or possible.
What Makes a Good Guest Room?
You’ll need basic standards before providing access to a guest room.
Follow these steps to create the right space for visitors to spend the night:
- Free the room of personal clutter.
- Provide privacy for guests, such as the ability to close the door and drapes.
- Place laundered bedding and spare blankets on the bed.
- Leave space for suitcases and overnight bags.
- Clear at least one drawer and some closet space for guests.
Whether you provide entertainment, like a TV, is entirely up to you.
Should You Offer Guests Your Bed?
“Should you let guests sleep in your bed?” is a question many of us face when we know people will spend the night at our home. Factor the following into your decision:
- Do you or your guests have a medical condition or injury that makes sleeping in a bed essential?
- Do you or your guests need privacy in a bedroom where a door can be closed or locked?
- How will giving up your bedroom influence other family members? For example, do children or pets tend to climb into your bed?
Giving up a bedroom for guests will always have pros and cons. Once the fundamental questions have been answered, take them under advisement.
Advantages of Offering Guests Your Bedroom
If you offer to give up your bedroom for guests, there are benefits, including:
- You’ll have a reputation as a superior host and maintain harmony in your relationships.
- Aside from the bedroom, you’ll still be able to use the house.
- It’s an excuse to wash or change your sheets if you don’t do this enough.
Of course, sacrificing your bedroom for house guests has its negatives.
Disadvantages of Offering Guests Your Bedroom
Letting other people into your bedroom may not be favored by everyone. If it feels like an invasion of privacy and may prevent you from relaxing in your home, it’s inadvisable.
Other potential issues with giving up your bedroom for guests include:
- You’ll need to remove anything personal or private from the bedroom you don’t want guests to see, as well as clothing and toiletries for the day ahead.
- You may struggle to get comfortable elsewhere in the home, especially knowing you have a bed where you should sleep.
- You may set a dangerous precedent. If you give up your bedroom once as an act of kindness, people may expect you to do so again.
Only volunteer your bedroom for guests if you feel comfortable doing so. Don’t allow anybody to bully or guilt you into acting against your wishes or better judgment.
Alternatives to Giving Up Your Room for Guests
Where do your guests sleep if you don’t have a guest bedroom and are unwilling or unable to give up your bedroom? What happens if several guests arrive and you need more than one room?
There are a range of alternatives to a bed, including the following:
We’ve all spent at least one night sleeping on a couch.
The term “sofa surfing” is used to describe people who live as permanent guests in the homes of others. This approach won’t work for everyone, especially those with back and neck problems.
Some couches are more comfortable than others, and some people will find it easier to sleep on a sofa.
Personal characteristics like height and weight will influence whether a sofa can support somebody sufficiently to promote a good night’s sleep.
If you regularly have guests stay over and can’t offer a spare bedroom, consider purchasing a fold-out couch that doubles as a bed. This is likelier to be more comfortable than a traditional sofa.
If you need a mobile and temporary guest bed, consider getting an air mattress or a futon. These won’t offer the same comfort as a traditional bed but are better than sleeping on the couch.
An air mattress is an ideal temporary setup if you have limited space in your home.
When not in use, the air mattress can be deflated and stored. While an air mattress isn’t suitable for sleeping on permanently, it can be ideal for a few nights.
A Futon is a versatile sleeping space, but the cushions for sitting and sleeping are the same. During the day, a futon can be folded and stored away without taking up excessive space.
Futons offer guests a firm surface, which can keep the spine aligned and reduce the likelihood of back pain. Sometimes, pregnant women find futons more comfortable than traditional beds.
According to Applied Human Science, futons are superior to air mattresses for body temperature.
If a property has a spacious basement, this could be a good place for guests to sleep. A basement provides similar space and privacy as a bedroom, but its suitability varies considerably.
The basement must be safe for house guests. Don’t just put a futon or lay an air mattress in a basement used as a storage room because something could fall on your guest, causing injury.
Also, ensure the basement has no leaks and isn’t damp or overly humid. This will be the case if you can see visible mold spots or detect a musty, earthy odor.
These conditions are a breeding ground for a toxic mold called Aspergillus, which releases microscopic spores that cause serious respiratory distress.
If a basement is well-ventilated and otherwise safe, it could be ideal for guests to sleep.
If all else fails, provide visitors with details of local hotels or guest houses. In the age of Airbnb, there are more choices than ever for all budgets and personal circumstances.
Ensure you clearly explain why you can’t accommodate their request to stay with you.
Even if you’re transparent in your reasoning, this course of action may have long-term repercussions on the relationship with guests. You may decide to pay for their stay if they’re family or close friends.
Deciding whether to invite guests to sleep in your bed is a source of contention for hosts.
Make a decision that benefits all parties, but be careful that you don’t set a dangerous precedent or damage relationships with friends and family.