Overnight guest etiquette can feel like a minefield if you have a home large enough to accommodate friends and family. Finding the perfect sleeping arrangements for guests depends on many circumstances.
If you have spare bedrooms but are unable or unwilling to allow guests to sleep in this space, it would be considered good manners to give up your bed. Things are more complex if your property is small and doesn’t have additional space.
When deciding if you should give up your bedroom, consider your needs and those of your guests. If the people staying with you require privacy or closet space or have health conditions that make sleeping in a bed non-negotiable, consider giving up your room.
If guests arrive unexpectedly or at short notice, they shouldn’t feel entitled to your bedroom. This personal decision will be arranged between you and the people in your home.
Is it Rude Not to Have a Guest Room?
It would be an oversimplification to say that it’s rude not to have a guest room in your home. All properties are different, and living arrangements vary according to our unique circumstances.
If you live in a one-bedroom apartment or only have one bedroom available for all residents in your home (roommates or children), it could be considered rude for guests to expect to stay. Houses can be redecorated, but more space can’t be conjured up.
This is different if you have an extra bedroom but refuse to permit guests to sleep in it. While it’s your choice what you do in your own home, some visitors may be put out that you’re not being more accommodating.
Again, it’s your choice if you would rather use a spare bedroom as a home office, hobby room, or even a private space for your pets. Just consider that not everybody will share your values.
What Makes a Good Guest Room?
You should have some basic standards before providing access to a guest room. Follow these steps to create the ideal space for visitors to spend the night:
- Neutralize the room of personal clutter.
- Provide privacy for your guests, such as the ability to close a door and drapes.
- Place freshly laundered bedding and spare blankets on the bed.
- Leave space for suitcases or overnight bags.
- Clear at least one drawer and some closest space for guests staying longer than a single night.
It’s a matter of personal choice as to whether you also offer entertainment, such as equipping a room with a TV set. The Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology explains that hotel guests will pay more for such facilities, but your guest room is free.
Should You Offer Guests Your Bed?
“Do you let guests sleep in your bed?” is a question many will face when they know people are going to spend the night in your home.
When weighing up your options, factor the following questions 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 that can only be provided in a bedroom, where a door can be closed – maybe even locked?
- How will giving up your bedroom influence other family members – do children or pets tend to climb into your bed?
There will always be pros and cons to giving up your bedroom for guests. Once the fundamental questions have been answered, take these under advisement.
Advantages of Offering Guests Your Bedroom
If you offer to give up your bedroom for guests, there are some potential compensations for your kindness, including:
- You’ll enjoy a reputation as a superior host and maintain harmony in your relationships.
- Apart from the bedroom, you’ll still enjoy the run of the house – putting up guests elsewhere could make a shared living space a no-go zone.
- It’s an excuse to wash or change your sheets if you have been procrastinating on this task.
However, choosing to sacrifice your bedroom also comes with several downsides.
Drawbacks to Offering Guests Your Bedroom
Letting other people into your bedroom doesn’t sit well with everybody. If this feels like an invasion of your privacy and will likely prevent you from relaxing in your home, it’s not the best idea.
Other potential issues with giving up your bedroom 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 that you have a bed that you should be sleeping in.
- 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 you or push you into acting against your wishes of better judgment.
Alternatives to Giving Up Your Room for Guests
Where do your guests sleep if you do not have a guest bedroom and are unwilling or unable to give up your bedroom? The most common solution is accommodating guests in a living room or den.
As we’ll discuss, a range of alternatives to a bed is available, including:
Everybody has spent at least one night sleeping on a couch. The term “sofa surfing” is used to describe people that live as permanent guests in the homes of others. This approach won’t work for everybody, especially those with back or neck problems.
Some couches are more comfortable than others, and some people will find it easier to sleep on a sofa. Personal characteristics such as height and weight will influence whether a sofa can support somebody enough to encourage a good night’s sleep.
If you feel that you may 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 comfortable, and reduce the risk of spine misalignment or neck pain, than a traditional sofa.
Inflatable Mattress or Futon
If you need a mobile and temporary bed for guests that can be placed on the floor of a living space, consider getting an air mattress or a futon. These won’t offer the same comfort as a traditional bed but are usually much better than sleeping on a couch.
An air mattress is ideal if you have limited space in your home. When not in use, the air mattress can be deflated and stored. While an air mattress is not suitable for sleeping on permanently, it can be the ideal solution for a single evening.
A futon will require more space to store when not in use. According to Applied Human Science, futons are considered superior to air mattresses in terms of body temperature and ambient humidity.
If your property has a spacious basement, this could be a place for your guests to sleep. A basement will provide the same privacy as a bedroom, but the suitability of such a space varies.
If you ask guests to sleep in a basement, ensure it’s safe for them. Don’t just lay a futon or air mattress in a basement used as a storage room. There’s a risk that some of your stockpile could fall on your guests, causing injury.
Check the basement isn’t a breeding ground for mold or bacteria. Get in a hygrometer and thermometer to check the temperature and humidity levels in the basement, ensuring your guests will be comfortable spending the night down there.
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 before, with all budgets and circumstances catered for.
This should probably be considered a last resort, as some guests will be affronted by suggesting they stay in a hotel. 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 your guests. Only suggest it if you’re prepared to accept the consequences of causing offense.
Deciding whether you should invite guests to sleep in your bed will always be 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.