Test Drive Your Spare Room

If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room, it’s well worth making sure it isn’t a junk room and it is ready for guests at the drop of a hat. Having guests to stay shouldn’t be a hassle, it shouldn’t mean spending 2 days finding the spare duvet or decluttering a room – having guests to stay should be easy and about seeing your friends (or going to the pub in our case.)

Our spare room also happens to be my study and the place Mr Thrifty and his friends tend to play video games. So there is a fair bit of day to day rubbish floating about but nothing that can’t be swept up into a folder or drawer in under 5 minutes when we have a guest descend upon us.

I love having people to stay and we tend to have friends or family over most weekends, so I think it is important that the space they’re sleeping in is comfortable and not too much of a bombsite. Every now and then (usually when Mr Thrifty has to be up super early for a hockey match in the arse-end of nowhere) I’ll spend a night in our spare room just to make sure it is comfortable and not an awkward place to spend a night. I don’t want it to be like a hotel but I do want our guests to feel at ease. We’ve all stayed somewhere where the pillows are so flat they give you neck ache in the morning, it puts a downer on your whole stay – I want to make sure our guest room isn’t like that. Test driving the spare room really is the only way to see if the room works and secretly I like setting myself up in there with a DVD and a WHOLE bed to spread out in.

After a night in the room, I’ll know if the duvet is warm enough, if there are enough pillows and generally if any of the furniture needs moving around to prevent my drunken friends from smashing their faces into a chest of drawers at 4am.

We tend to leave our spare bed unmade but with a fresh set of clean linen piled up on top. I think it is important to let the mattress breathe and air out, plus it only takes 5 minutes to sling on a fitted sheet and duvet cover. We have a double bed in that room, so I’ve put 4 pillow on the bed plus a king sized duvet (I always like to go one size larger in duvets). Then I also add throw pillows (handy for reading before sleep) and an extra blanket or two. I know my mother in law gets super cold and really appreciates the extra blankets, I always offer her a hot water bottle should the temperature drop.

I’m always getting free samples of shampoo and cosmetics in magazines or at make up counters so I include them in a little basket, in case anyone has forgotten something. We don’t always have a mirror in the spare room so I remember to move one into the room shortly before someone arrives but I really must keep my beady eye out for a new one at the bootsale.

As the room is also my study there are lots of books on hand for a guest to read but I also tend to put a pile of magazines and journals on the side. A pen and paper are always handy and I also tend to make a note of our internet password to leave in the room because I can never, ever remember it off the top of my head.

A few hours before guests arrive I open the windows to air out the room, give everything a quick wipe and quickly run the vacuum cleaner round before lighting a candle. If you include your spare room in your regular cleaning routine it won’t be too much of a hassle when people come over.

Guest Room Checklist

- Spare pillow/cushion or two
- Extra blanket or throw
- Lamp
- Mirror
- Box of tissues
- A few magazines or books
- Pen and paper
- A small basket of toiletries
- A bath towel, hand towel and face cloth per guest
- Alarm clock
- Bottle of water and a glass

I know this all sounds a bit anal and one person (not someone staying with us I hasten to add) once called me ‘over the top’ for having a basket of soaps in our spare room but honestly, if it makes a guest feel comfortable and in the mood to come again then I honestly don’t give a stuff.
Do you have a lot of guests to stay?



P.S. I’ll probably get round to doing a guest room/study room tour on YouTube at some point, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re the nosy type.

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  1. I really, really love the basket of bits and pieces touch, I’ve had plenty of times where I’ve stayed somewhere and had to awkwardly ask if it’s okay to borrow something of theirs. I have a massive drawerful of samples, and this idea makes me want to have a spare room, just for a basket of them. Is that a little strange…?!

  2. thrifty lady, if my married life is anything like yours then i know i can live happy. all of your posts make me ridiculously happy, but this one the most. i’ve never heard of anyone test driving a spare room before but i pledge right this second to do so as soon as i own my own home with a spare room. this is a fantastic idea.

  3. This is such a great post. Our spare room has become a dumping ground for laundry that needs ironing and beauty products I am yet to find a home for. I will be sure to use your tips. Thank you ever so much!

    Helen xxx

  4. This is such a lovely idea (can I please come and stay at yours?). I do have a spare room which is also where my computer lives. It’s more like ‘my’ room but I never sleep in it! It has an ikea daybed, and if anyone stays I always give fresh linen etc but it’s most certainly not the most homely of rooms (or the most comfortable of beds unless you like sleeping on what may as well be the floor) but this post has inspired me to step my game up! xx

  5. Our spare room is our sons nursery which as well as a cot etc, also contains a double bed. We tend to go in there and give up our bedroom when we have guests to stay.

  6. This is so cool! It’s like a little hotel room. the thought that you put into this room and trying to make people feel comfortable would make me want to come back if I was a guest at your house :)

  7. Can I come to stay please? It sounds heavenly :-) on second thoughts it sounds so comfy I may never leave! We only have a sofa bed for our guests but I could adapt some of your ideas so they don’t just feel like they have been plonked in the living room. Thanks Mrs T x

  8. I leave a basket of stuff with the towels. I’ve even put in new toothbrushes, razors and mini-shaving foams.

    It’s amazing what guys in the military forget to pack or even when they crash at our place rather than drunkenly try to find their way home.

  9. Great tips! Our spare room is also doubles as Hubby’s “Man Room” meaning it’s full of video games and little Warhammer models he’s painting. Getting half built orcs put away is a never ending battle… But we can sweep most of the clutter away quickly if needed, and having an exta bed to hand quickly can be really useful – I was ill a few weeks ago, and all the tossing and turning was disturbing Hubby. So I decamped to the spare room and we both slept soundly!

  10. My spare room is so small I can barely fit a single camp bed in it comfortably!! However when I do have the odd guest, I do make sure that the room is set up very similar to yours. I put a portable DVD player in there and a couple of DVD’s that I think they may like. The only thing that they have to put up with that I can’t change, is my husbands giant collection of comics, figurines and lego.

  11. You should start up a B&B! I’d certainly come stay and I’d appreciate all the attention to detail although I am the type that swipe all the freebie shower gels for my own stash.

    Laura x


  12. This is such a nice idea. If our spare room wasn’t rammed with stuff I’d try this. Oh the delights of living in a tiny box flat!

  13. Not over the top at all! I love it! I’ve been desperate for a spare room for years and take great pleasure in preparing it for guests – I also have a selection of smellies from hotels usually!

  14. Aw you sound like the most lovely host, your guests must love staying at yours!!

    Sophierosehearts x

  15. This is such a lovely idea! I can’t wait to have our own place so we can do lovely things like this!

    Abi x

  16. Can I come and stay at your house? It sounds like staying with you means being very well-looked after and made to feel very welcome and at home!

  17. I’m sure your guests would never want to leave! It’s lovely that you do just an extra few things to make guests happy – Can I come and stay? ;) hehe


  18. I would love to stay in a room like that-whenever I stay at relatives, I feel more of a nusiance than a guest

  19. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being organised like this at all! I would feel so honoured if someone went to so much effort when I stayed in there spare room. I cannot wait to move out, and do the same thing with our spare room! Keep the handy tips coming :)

    Love Becky xxx

  20. Fantastic tips! You are super organized! I bet your guests love staying at your house! It’s great to put a room to proper use rather than use it as a junk room.


  21. Great post, sounds like a top hotel hehe!


  22. Can I come stay, it sounds lovely! I’d love to do this but we only have one bedroom at the moment xxx

  23. When we had a spare room, it also used to be my study, but having stayed with others before and barely been able to move in the spare room, it made me super conscious of finding a proper place for everything so that my spare room could be used properly.

    But one thing I always think people forget in spare rooms- is there space for your guests to put their bag or hang their clothes? Nothing worse than arriving somewhere, and you keep tripping over your bag because the room is so cluttered there’s nowhere to put it, or (particularly if you have a party/wedding/function to go to) there’s nowhere to hang even just one shirt or dress so it’s not creased to hell and back.

  24. Oh gosh that sounds so lovely, you are incredibly organised! xx
    Sirens and Bells

  25. Ohmygod I remember those pens! :)

  26. Looks like my oldest may be spending his first year at uni back in my spare room, having just given up his job and accepted a place lol. Looking forward to a video tour :)

  27. really like this idea, i dont have a spare room but when i do i intend on following these handy hints xx

  28. This is such a beautiful idea! You’re so organised! And I love the way you’ve done the photos too :)



  29. WOW what a great host you are, I would rather stay at your house than a hotel :-)

    I would love a spare room, maybe when my babies grow up I will do something like this unless my husband gets there first and turns it in to an arcade!

    Sarah X

  30. i love the basket bit!


  31. Blimey – I’d love to stay in your spare room! Sounds fab – and why on earth that person said you were OTT for having the soaps is beyond me!

  32. We usually decant ourselves into the spare room and make our room up for guests. This is mainly because our room has an en suite, but the main bathroom/toilet is downstairs. I always think guests will feel uncomfortable having to traipse down stairs and through the rest of the house when needing the bathroom. I usually put out some nice soap in the en suite and of course nice clean fluffy towels too.

  33. This is such a lovely idea! We have friends over quite often and even though I can only offer them an airbed in our living room I do try my best to make them comfortable!

    I can’t wait to have a house with a proper spare room though!

  34. Really enjoyed this post. My boyfriend and I will be moving into our first house very soon and I’m really looking forward to making use of our spare room so that we can have people to stay. I’ll definitely be using some of your tips to make sure our spare room is always ready for guests! x

  35. Oh goodness, your friends are so lucky! Our spare room really is such a tip! You have inspired me to sort it out – I WILL have a basket of little soaps…love it x

  36. I really enjoyed this post. My boyfriend and I are moving into our first house in the next few weeks and I’m really looking forward to having a spare room so that we can have people to stay. I’ll definitely be using your tips to make sure it’s always ready for guests! x

  37. Perfect timing as I am in the process of doing up my spare room so these are some great tips! I always hate staying at other peoples houses and there is not the right stuff around, it makes it more stressful and I don’t want my guests to feel like that.

  38. Not over the top at all – just very considerate! You must be an amazing host, such a good idea to road-test the room too. If we ever have a spare bedroom, I’ll definitely be putting your tips to good use.

    Nikki x

  39. I love the basket idea so much I had to stop everything and make one up straight away! My spareroom is also my 5yr old stepson’s room and my athome workspace, and husband uses it to store the surplus musical bits and bobs that don’t fit in his room (yeah he gets a whole room and it still spills into mine!!! love him though – I got the whole summerhouse). It’s quite the multipurpose/full room. I can see the floor now though after much hard work and planning!
    Keep up the good work mrs thrifty!
    ps – Superscrimpers isn’t as good this series without you. Some of the tips you just wouldn’t use daytoday – how often do you need to repurpose a bangle or make chocolate vodka? Ok chocolate vodka could become quite a habit… are you coming back next series? Zx

  40. erm… please may i come and stay in thrifty towers?! x

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