I was asked a question by a commenter about sleeping accommodations for overnight guests. I was actually going to cover a lot of other things before touching on this, but the question came up, so we'll talk about it now.
Keep in mind that these are just my suggestions about where to host guests overnight. Every home is different, and I apologize ahead of time if I sound a little "stuffy".
1) My first choice: have a guest room with all the amenities. You know, Martha like. LOL.
2) My next choice and what we actually do: We have one of our child's rooms double as a guest room. That child has the privilege of having a nice quality queen sized bed and more of a clutter-free upscale decorating style. She gets an awesome room, but she also has to make it guest-ready a few times a year.
3) The last choice is an open area such as a living room. Of course, if that is all you have, then that's what you need to do.
But let's say you are able to carve out a little space somewhere to be a temporary guest room. Here are some of my ideas about what it should be like. Keep in mind that we have a revolving door of guests all year round, and God has called me to be very active in this area of ministry. Some of these things may seem "over the top" if you have one guest, once a year.
For those of you who would like to have a child's bedroom double as a guest room or even designate an area of the house (such as remodeling the basement or something) these ideas may be helpful for you.
What sort of things should NOT be in a guest room?
1) Get rid of about 100 knick knacks.. PLEASE! I once had experience where knick knacks from the bed were falling on me all night. When you think it's decluttered enough, take out about 20 more things.
2) Dirty sheets/ clothes/ towels: Fresh sheets on the bed, fresh towels, and no dirty laundry in view.
3) Breakables: If you want to impress your guests with your big collection of glass breakables, put them in a place where they won't get broken.
4) Broken furniture: Actually REMOVE all broken furniture from the house before guests come. Just because you are used to avoiding "that" chair or know how to sit just right on the bed so it doesn't ker-whump to the floor, don't expect guests to do the dance. They might get hurt, or at the very least.. turn into a paranoid wreck.
Guest rooms should always have:
1) Curtains/ window treatments that WORK. If you are in the middle of a construction project, hang something there for privacy reasons.
2) night lights: this, again, is for safety. If your guests wake up in the middle of the night, they need to have a safe way to get to the bathroom.
3) adequate heat/ air conditioning/ fans: I always put a fan in the guest room (if there is no ceiling fan). I generally just watch my guests and can tell if they run "hotter" or "colder" than our family and make adjustments for them as necessary. I keep an electric blanket on the guest bed in the winter also.
These are NICE touches, but not essential:
1) A chair! Not everyone can get dressed pogo-style so provide a hard backed chair
2) An alarm clock/ or a regular clock
3) A bedside lamp with reading material
4) a luggage rack/ holder
Other concerns and things you may be wondering...
Are those pull-out couches adequate for guests? This is just my opinion.. but NO. Those torture racks are not good options for adults. Put adults in the rooms, and let the kids have the couches. They are uncomfortable (even for people without back problems) and out in plain view and just tacky. A futon couch is a different story. The futon is a nice option, since it's primary purpose is for sleeping, and it doubles as a piece of furniture. Generally, a futon can fit nicely in an office or some other room, without much difficulty. If you have to use the pull-out couches, put the mattress on the floor. The ground underneath the thin mattress will provide some support.
Should I put kids with their parents or spread them out?
I would just ask the parents what they would like to do. If you have more than one family over at a time, you may want to keep families together, rather than mix them all up. Every situation is different.
Should I put adults on the floor?
It depends on your guests. But if you get the camping/ adventurous types, they may prefer it. Here is the clincher: don't assume that "whatever" is O.K. with guests. If all you have is floor accommodations, graciously find a way to mention this before they arrive and give them an easy out if they want to find a hotel. Let's just put it this way. I am youngish, agile and adventurous, so I could handle the floor with a decent mattress underneath me. But I have had more than one guest who could not possibly survive the night with that set up.
I have an old mattress in the basement that is all stinky, can I use that for guests?
NO. If we are to treat our guests like guests and not prisoners, let's not subject them to torture. The only place for an old, moldy mattress is the trash.
Are you suggesting that I spend some money to prepare for guests?
Yes, I am. If you want to serve your guests as you were serving the Lord Jesus, buy a nice quality (new) mattress (queen size) and put it in one of your child's rooms. Stop treating this hospitality thing like garbage. Do we give the Lord our worst? or our best? Think of it this way. Put nice mattresses in all of your childrens' rooms, and you'll be ready for a crowd. Your children will thank you when they grow up for having a nice, firm mattress to sleep on.
We are seeking to minister to people's bodies, souls and spirits when they visit our homes. If we treat the "body" like it doesn't matter, we will loose their trust when we try to minister to their spirits as well. So much of this ministry is intensely like what the Lord Jesus did. He fed the 5,000 (ministered to their bodies) and then preached (ministered to their spirits). Aren't we doing the same thing?