Make Your Space More Inviting For Houseguests

One of the joys (and responsibilities) of having your own pad is hosting houseguests. But a pillow, a blanket, and a couch to crash on are no longer sufficient now that you’re an adult. Whether the ones staying overnight are friends, family, or someone special sharing your bed, you want to make a good impression.

Ariel Kaye, founder and CEO of Parachute, a Venice Beach-based maker of home textiles, here provides Crave with a few tips and tricks to help your houseguests feel more at home.

It’s all about the bedding. 

“You spend a third of your life in bed,” Kaye says.  “Your sleep impacts every aspect of your life: your health, your happiness, your productivity. Just about everything comes down to a good night’s sleep, so I think the bedroom is where you want to splurge.” Quality linens are key to creating a bedroom that your guests enjoy waking up in every morning and look forward to returning to every night.

You’ve likely heard that what matters most when shopping for sheets is thread count, but that’s not true. The fabric is the most important feature, so ignore the numbers and figure out what feels good to your skin. Don’t be fooled by the “organic” label on linens; sheets may very well have begun with organic cotton only to be soaked in chemicals later on in the manufacturing process. Ditto for fabrics that sound great in theory (“wrinkle-free,” we’re looking at you) but often contain toxins that are harsh on your skin.

Also: 7 Cool Gadgets For The Home

“At Parachute, we circumvent the whole thread count conversation to focus on the fibers of the fabrics themselves. We only offer the highest-caliber fabrics to give you the best-in-class sleep,” Kaye says.  The company’s sustainable bedding is Oeko-Tex certified, meaning its products are free from synthetic finishes and chemicals all the way from the cotton seeds to the sheets you put on your bed. Even the ducks that provide the down for Parachute’s duvet inserts are humanely treated. (And if you’re allergy-prone, they still have you covered with 100% hypoallergenic down alternative.) Quilts are also an option for those who prefer more heft and less fluff in their bed-toppers.

Know your fabrics.

Both percale and sateen are made from long-staple Egyptian cotton; the difference is how they’re woven. Percale is cool and crisp to the touch, comparable in texture to your favorite button-down shirt. This breathable fabric will continue to get softer with use.

Sateen is extremely soft and smooth. It can be shiny in appearance, but Parachute’s version is more matte. This luxurious fabric is naturally wrinkle resistant.

Linen, made from the flax plant, is a stronger, more durable alternative to cotton. It also gets softer with use and is ideal bedding material for the summer season and in balmy climates. It has a casual appearance and is something of an acquired taste. “People that love linen love linen. A lot of people, once they sleep in linen, don’t want to sleep in anything else again,” says Kaye.

Keep it clean.

Wash your guests’ sheets before arrival. (Do we have to say “And make the bed”? Make the bed.) Launder sheets at least once every seven to ten days during their stay. If you’re sharing a bed with your guest and you sweat in your sleep or spill other fluids on the sheets (ahem), wash more frequently.

Bathroom by Parachute.

Bathroom by Parachute.

You can’t have too many towels.

“Towels are really important and something that’s often overlooked in the guest room,” Kaye says. The less your guest has to request, the better, so put a freshly laundered stack on the guest bed prior to arrival. Plan on at least two bath towels per person. You should also provide two to three hand towels and two to three washcloths per person. Make sure your guest has a place to hang towels when not in use as well as a hamper to indicate dirty ones. Launder towels at least every three uses or whenever they appear in the hamper.

It’s the little things.

Kaye recommends having fresh water—either bottled or in a carafe—with glasses by the bed. A tray on the bedside table is essential for guests to store their watches or jewelry. Free up some hangers and empty out a few drawers so your guests can unpack and organize their clothes. Write down your Wi-Fi password and any other instructions about how to use devices in your home so your guests don’t have to bother you for help. Having a universal charger on hand will make you a hero when your guests realize they forgot their own. A small selection of magazines, books, or other reading material is a thoughtful touch. And, finally, put some fresh flowers in a vase. Because you’re classy like that.

In the bathroom, make sure you’ve stocked up on tissue, toilet paper, and soap. Provide a stash of oft-forgotten toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, combs, shampoo, conditioner, disposable razors, shaving cream, and lotion. If you often have female guests, it wouldn’t kill you to buy a box of tampons and some maxi pads for the inevitable off-schedule time-of-the-month (ask a woman to help you pick out those products if you’ve never done this before). A couple of over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprophen and aspirin are nice to have available in case of a headache. A first-aid kit is also wise. To take pampering to the next level, stagger a few candles throughout the space and provide clean bathrobes for your guests.

Bathroom Vanity by Parachute.

Bathroom Vanity by Parachute.

Splurge or scrimp?

It bears repeating: what you sleep on matters. Mattresses and bedding are purchases you should invest in to make your guests comfortable. A cozy sofa and durable cookware are also splurge-worthy. As for everything else: if you’re on a budget, you can often find affordable substitutions for high-priced items at stores like IKEA.

When in doubt, buy what other guys are buying.

Half of Parachute’s customers are men, and the items most of them gravitate towards are those in percale and in dark gray or navy hues. “All of our home essentials are designed to be un-fussy and have a very natural color palette,” Kaye says. “We’re so inspired by the simple and effortless beauty of our surroundings in Venice Beach.” The company’s showroom provides complimentary design consultations if you need help finding the right combination for your home.

No matter where you shop, if you’re unsure about what to purchase, ask questions; any home goods store that doesn’t delight in educating you about their products doesn’t deserve your business. As for what happens once your guests descend, well, you’re on your own!

All photos provided by Parachute.