When designing outdoor rooms – like patios, screened porches, lanais, and kitchens – most people don’t realize that the same design guidelines for indoor rooms should apply! You want to make your family and friends feel just as comfortable in a chic space outside as they are inside your home. So I’ve put together a few rules of thumb to remember.
1. Offer a lot of great seating – both in the shade and in the sun. Just like in your home, your guests will need seating that fits the event. So be sure you have fab loungers for sitting in the sun, comfy seats for eating and talking, and of course some umbrellas to cover them when they’ve had enough sun.
2. Height matters. If the chairs in your dining room weren’t the right height for the table, your guests wouldn’t be comfortable eating there, right? So you need to be sure any stools or seats outside are just the right height for the table or counter.
3. Lighting is key. I like to have the right light on hand in any area of the home – and the same rule applies outside. You want to provide great light for tasks like preparing food, or to allow your guests to linger over drinks with you and other friends on warm summer nights.
4. Make them relax. Having a lot of pillows on your seating lets guests get comfortable and enjoy themselves. They can pop these great outdoor pillows behind their backs or use them for propping up their arms. Either way, these pillows look great, and make your guests feel great!
5. The natural look. If you had a dinner party indoors, you would definitely want to use fresh flowers on the table, right? So do the same outside! Cut some lovely stems from your own backyard, or use purchased flowers that complement the decor. Either way, a bouquet creates a welcoming look.
Use these ideas to create your own oasis outdoors – and start planning those summer parties!
I love to entertain overnight guests – and I’ve enjoyed planning the guest bedroom in my new house during my renovation! By summer my guest room will be ready for visitors. And there are so many ways to really make your guests feel comfortable and cared for, so today I’m going to give you my 10 best tips for a hotel-worthy guest room.
1. The absolutely most important thing in a guest bedroom is the bed, of course. Too many people just plop their oldest mattress in this room like an afterthought. But it’s important to have a really good mattress for your guests, too, so give them a fabulous night’s sleep when they’re staying with you! If you can’t buy a brand new fancy mattress for this space, try adding padded or down-covered mattress pads, foam mattress covers, or even feather beds to make your guests extra comfortable when staying the night.
2. Linens are also critical. You don’t have to have Egyptian cotton, or some particular thread count, but you should buy the best you can get for your budget. There are several high thread count (and very soft) sheet sets at Target. My favorite sheets are actually by SDH and made of Italian Wood Fiber (called Cellulose). It’s softer than silk, but isn’t slippery.
3. Pillows are very important, especially to me. The pillows definitely make or break a hotel or sleeping experience in my opinion. So you want to have a selection on the bed and maybe some options on a shelf in the closet. I am a down pillow gal myself, but some people are allergic to down or even down blends, so have several types on hand. And it’s good to offer soft and firm options, like the best boutique hotels! You don’t want your guests having neck and back pain all weekend long.
4. Having a bench at the end of the bed, or a stool in the room, is a great touch. It works like a luggage rack, giving guests a place to set their bags, and it’s great when they need to sit down when putting on their shoes.
5. I also like to have a chair in the guest bedroom, if space allows. Guests may want to read or just relax before bed without getting in the bed – so give them a great upholstered chair for their room.
6. A cozy blanket or throw is a great addition for your guest room – they can use it on the bed if they need extra warmth, or they can wrap up in it while reading in the chair. Make them feel cozy and at home! If you want to go the extra mile, you might consider a down comforter, too. Some people prefer the weight of a duvet when getting cozy.
7. A guest room also needs great light control. First I love natural light in a bedroom, so if your home has great windows that’s a big bonus! But you’ll want window treatments with blackout lining so the natural light doesn’t keep guests awake or wake them too early. And be sure there is a working overhead lighting fixture (preferably on a dimmer) for when guests need brighter light – like to tell if their socks are black or blue. But also layer in several lamps in the space for ambient lighting in the evening. I like to have bedside lamps or swing-arm lamps for those who want to read in bed, and also a lamp beside the chair or on a chest is a great and functional addition. Oh, and don’t forget a nightlight so guests can see if they get up during the night.
8. A stack of magazines and books is a nice touch for a guest room. Give your guests great reading material for the evenings, or for down time during their visit.
9. Fresh flowers are one of the nicest ways to say “welcome” to your guests! This is really essential to a guest room in my house because they are pretty and they smell great.
10. A final perfect touch if you have the space is a coffee station and plenty of water – either in bottles or a carafe. Some guests may rise much earlier than you do, so this is a great way to let them start their day whenever they like without having to head down to the kitchen in their PJs! And I always include a few snacks in case they get hungry. You know a good Southern hostess never lets a guest go hungry.
So try these ideas to make your guest room work like a fabulous boutique hotel. And you can even take it further like providing the code to your wi-fi, adding a fabulous smelling candle and matches, including a basket of essentials like fluffy towels or a robe, and you might include a few necessities in case they forgot them like an extra toothbrush, deodorant, or a disposable razor. I love going the extra mile to make those staying in my home feel loved!
So what do you do in your home to welcome guests? Let me know in the comments section below!
Love these ideas? Shop my picks for making your guest room extra special…
I LOVE Valentine’s Day! And I really really love Traditional Home magazine! How do those two things go together? Well this weekend I am taking over Traditional Home’s Instagram account, starting at 5pm today!
I love celebrations of any kind, but Valentine’s Day is truly one of my very favorite holidays. In fact, each year I send Valentine’s Day cards instead of Christmas cards – it’s more fun to surprise people with a little token in the middle of a cold February. My cards usually feature my sweet little girl, too, and this weekend I’ll be celebrating with her, I’m sure with lots of flowers, hearts, and sweet treats.
So follow along with me all weekend as I share the LOVE on Traditional Home’sInstagram account! I promise we’ll have fun!
And, today, I discuss more about the decor for the event (including how YOU can create a Fall Feast that’s vibrant and fresh), over at my friend P. Allen Smith’s blog. Don’t miss it!
In Designer MBA last week, we talked for a moment about how to work smart at a photo shoot, and it occurred to me that YOU might be interested in a behind-the-scenes peek at what it takes to pull off an event like this, when it’s going to be captured on film. So I pulled together some progress shots for you.
Of course the lighting had to be just right!
And the Palette Catering staff was busting a move in the kitchen! They were fabulous, as always! They helped me re-create this shortbread: a recipe I picked-up on the trip!
And the flan…to die for!
The all-green centerpiece really amped-up the decor!
These favor pouches were a special treat for my guests, and the tag echoes the stagshead motif that’s incorporated throughout the decor!
Whew! These photo shoots take more work than you might think! At least after it was all said and done I had the chance to sit down and enjoy the fine meal and the great company!
p.s. For more on styling your home for parties with a keen designer eye, join me at Camp Tobi Fairley for Design A to Z, November 7-9! It’s a 26-step crash course in the basics of design. You won’t want to miss it! See what people are saying about Camp Tobi Fairley events here!
Today, I’m thrilled to share a guest post from my good friend — food, garden and lifestyle expert P. Allen Smith. After you see all these beauties, I’m sure you’ll be inspired to check out P. Allen’s latest venture, his new eHow Home Channel. It’s the latest way he’s sharing his brilliant home and garden tips and ideas. He’s also nearing the finish line on a eco-friendly home that was built in just 150 days! You can watch the progress online as they put on the finishing touches. I hope you enjoy these gorgeous seasonal bouquets! Happy Valentine’s Day! xoxo, Tobi
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all! As a part of Tobi’s 29 Days of Love, I thought I would take this opportunity to share several floral ideas I love. These are not only great ideas for today’s holiday, but for any gathering this season. I hope you enjoy!
Pretty pink Camellia blossoms, which I picked fresh from the garden, create a lovely Valentine’s Day cachepot.
White and pink Amaryllis in porcelain cachepots covered with sheet moss makes a unique Valentine offering. In a mild climate the gift will last forever if the bulbs are replanted in the garden at a later date.
Pink Ranunculus, red tulips and blush colored roses in a wire egg basket are a perfect treat for “My Valentine.”
I love to mix freshly picked Japanese Magnolia ‘Royal Star’ and Black Hellebore blossoms. Put them in a Venetian glass budvase to dress a table set for a Valentine’s Day dinner.
A gold transferware tureen becomes a container for an array of ‘Ice Follies’ Daffodils, ‘Erlicheer’ & ‘Silver Chimes’ Narcissus with accents of Summer Snowflakes that I picked early this Valentine’s Day morning.
I think that vibrant ‘Temple of Beauty’ tulips in a glass container professes true love.
‘Pink Impression’ and ‘Apricot Impression’ tulips brighten up a French tin vase for a whimsical Valentine bouquet.