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Think like a guest in preparing sleeping quarters, bathroom

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Oct. 25, 2013, at 2:11 p.m.
  • Updated Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, at 8:15 a.m.

When it comes to putting together a guest bedroom and bathroom, Mitzi Beach of Mitzi Beach Interiors puts the emphasis on providing space rather than things.

“I don’t think we give enough credence to clearing out clutter and making our guest rooms calmer, more serene, taking things out rather than putting in,” Beach said. “I have been in too many places where I don’t have a place to put my stuff.”

She recommends going into the guest room as if you were a guest. Is there a place where you can put your wallet or purse and your phone, a place to charge your laptop? How about your suitcase? Clear the tops of nightstands and dressers.

“Relocating a couple dresser drawers: That means a lot,” Beach said. “A lamp by the bed is a necessity. Most guests want to read and unwind and have that downtime. I always put current magazines … out so they have something there for them,” including local publications so they can see what’s going on in town.

Beach continues the decluttering to the bathroom that guests will be using. Is the counter so full of decorative items that there’s no room to spread out toiletries?

“And then also having a drawer or … in a lot of bathrooms, the cabinet above the stool usually holds extra toilet paper. I like to clear it out so guests can put their makeup kit there, so they can have it right there for them.”

Beach then adds some niceties.

Fragrant soaps and lotions don’t have to cost a lot of money. But providing fragrant soaps and lotions are not forgotten “as much as providing shampoo and conditioner, and I always have a basket of travel-sized toothpaste and toothbrush and razor, and if there are going to be children, the non-tear shampoo, because it’s hard for young moms to remember everything. …

“Of course fluffy towels and washcloths – to have them laid out on the bed for them makes them feel special. Having fresh flowers is always wonderful.”

“The little things mean a lot,” Beach said.

If Beach knows her guest well, she likes to leave a note in the room saying “we’re glad you’re here, or we’re so excited to have you.” She also likes to leave an itinerary, even while it needs to be flexible.

“Guests love that. They love to know what’s happening next. … It gives a pattern and a routine. … It shows you’ve given thought to their visit. … You’re going out of your way to make it special.”

If you’re moving children out of a room to use it as a guest room, Beach recommends taking clothes baskets and placing toys and things that are on the floor into the baskets. Even if relatives will be staying in the room, they may feel like they’re intruding if five stuffed animals are sitting atop the dresser, she said. Once again, she recommends looking at the room as a guest. “You wouldn’t want to have to stash every other little thing in your case and carry everything to your bathroom. It’s just a matter of rearranging.”

If you’re lacking beds, inflatable beds are an excellent alternative, Beach said. “They really work well. It solves a lot of dilemmas,” especially if you don’t have enough room or guests to justify a proper guest room. “The inflatable beds have come a long way.”

Beach recommends providing guests with nice blankets and sheets, not the mismatched leftovers. And “good bed pillows are essential.”

“In my design philosophy I’m always about function, comfort, then beauty or aesthetics. Because I think anybody with a gift can make it look good. Does it function, is it comfortable for them? And then you add the mums or whatever season it is for the fresh flowers, that kind of stuff.”

Reach Annie Calovich at 316-268-6596 or acalovich@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @anniecalovich.

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