Now that we have hosted each side of our family in our tiny Brooklyn apartment, I thought it was about time to share some tips for anyone else in a similar situation. Keith’s parents stayed with us for five days in the middle of October, and my mom, sister and youngest brother stayed with us for six days over Thanksgiving week and weekend. With each of the visits, we learned some valuable tips on hosting in a small space.
Invest in a comfortable and compact air mattress.
The largest size we could fit in our living room was a queen, which also comes with it’s own pump and storage case. Each night, we relocated our small dining table and chairs to a corner of the living room to set up the mattress in their place, and every morning, we deflated the mattress and reset the table. It helped our space not feel as cluttered throughout our guest’s stay, and it was the only way we could access our kitchen during the daytime (yes, it’s that small). When we first moved to our new apartment, I researched sofa beds so we wouldn’t have to buy something separate for occasional guests. But everything I read said adding a bed to a sofa significantly decreases the sofa’s comfort (and its expensive). Since we don’t expect to host guests regularly here, a sofa bed just didn’t make sense.
Have towels and bedding for each guest.
Once we ordered the air mattress, I also bought spare sheets and pillows for guests. We actually didn’t bring any spare bedding for our own bed to NY so when guests aren’t visiting, we now have back-up sheets for our bed as well. I also had all our towels washed the day before guests arrived both times, which was really important because 4-5 people go through towels much faster than I realized!
Designate an area for guests “things”.
When Keith’s parents visited, we didn’t have a specific area for them to keep their clothes, ditty bags, etc so some clothes were hung in our closet, things were set alongside the couch, or stored on the dining table and in our office. I think it made it more challenging for them to find everything (some of their clothes even got left behind!), and our living room was a bit chaotic. When my family arrived, we designated the nursery as the “storage space”, which is a more hidden room and was easy to check that nothing was left before their departure. We don’t plan to host any more guests for at least the first six months after baby Fraase arrives, but once we do again, I’m thinking the office may be our replacement “storage room”.
Plan at least one night in.
When each set of our guests arrived, it was easy to get so wrapped up in wanting to show them a good time that we found ourselves pretty exhausted (and stuffed) after multiple days in a row of walking everywhere and eating out for almost every meal. With each of our family's visits, we made sure to plan at least one night in where we could all put up our feet and enjoy a homemade meal and movie together. By the next morning, we all seemed more energetic and ready to tackle more exploration!
Off the top of my head, those are all the main tips I can think of for a successful visit in a NYC-sized apartment. Do you have any pointers to add for hosting guests (whether in a small or large space)?