Hosting your friends and family overnight in your one-bedroom apartment might not be quite as easy as having them stay in a house, but with some planning and strategic measures in place, you can still pull it off in relative comfort. And if you live near a tourist-friendly city, like Chicago, where guests are even more likely to visit, this skill will definitely come in handy over the years.
Here are some effective ways of hosting overnight guests in your Chicago apartment that can really help make the experience positive for all:
- Share your space.
If your guests are going to be happy while they stay with you, they’re going to need a space of their own, even if it’s just large enough for their suitcase. Ideally, you want to get their bags out of the way, but still keep them accessible, so try stashing suitcases under a bed or sofa, in a closet, or on a (sturdy) shelf. Move furniture around if needed. Offer up come closet space and hangers for clothes that shouldn’t stay folded. Set up a privacy screen to use for a changing area, if needed. You can also clear off a counter or drawer so that guests have a place for keys, jewelry, glasses, etc.
- Make it sparkle.
While you’re clearing off space for your guest(s), keep the momentum going and clean the rest of the apartment. Start by tidying up (that means picking up and putting away any clothes, dishes, cups and mail that might be scattered about), then vacuum/mop, dust and wipe down the kitchen and bathroom. The last thing you want to do is welcome your guests into a dirty apartment that they will need to share with you.
- Provide an “orientation.”
Treat your guests’ arrival like a check-in at a hotel, and give them a quick rundown of what they’ll need to know in order to function in your apartment. Show them around, tell them your ground rules and organizational system and show them where they can find essentials like towels, toilet paper, sheets and blankets, cleaning products, silverware and dining needs like cups, plates, bowls, etc. This is particularly important if they’ll be spending time alone in your apartment. Maybe even give them an overview of your Chicago neighborhood, like the best place to grab a cup of coffee.
- Provide amenities.
If you truly want to make your guests feel welcome, try providing them with some small travel-sized bathroom and grooming products, like small bottles of shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, etc. If you have an extra bathrobe or two, and/or slippers, offer those as well. You’ve just brought a little of the hotel experience into your home. Also, be sure to stock the fridge and pantry with plenty of extra snacks, drinks and breakfast foods, and make sure your guests feel welcome to help themselves to these items. A fed guest is a happy guest.
- Make comfortable sleeping a priority.
If your guests don’t get a good night’s sleep in your apartment, their visit is ultimately not going to be a success. That’s why it’s important to try and find the most comfortable sleeping solution possible for all involved. For some guests, a simple couch or futon will cut it. Just make sure to provide sheets, real pillows and if necessary, a blanket. (Fold up and stash this bedding each day, to keep things neat.) Try and set them up near a convenient light switch, too. For accommodating couples staying with you, and/or if your couch isn’t so comfy, you might want to offer an air mattress instead. (Invest in a good one with an electric pump, so you don’t have to inflate and deflate manually.) And if you’re really feeling magnanimous, offer guests the use of your bed, while you sleep on the couch.
- Foolproof it.
If you have the time, try out your planned visitor arrangements yourself, as if you were the guest. Sleep where you intend for them to sleep (see above) and see what you may have missed, while potentially picking up on issues you may not have known about. This gives you a chance to experience the climate in that area of the apartment, so you can provide the right bedding, as well as discover any annoying noise or light issues that will keep your guests awake. Then in the morning when you wake, you can take steps to fix those annoyances.
- Don’t stay indoors.
Try to avoid spending the duration of the visit inside your Chicago apartment, where limited space can start to feel confining. Get outside—whether with your guests or on your own—during the stay, and encourage your visitors to do the same. Check out this list of cool things to do. Take them on a guided tour of Oak Park’s Historic Districts. Go have a great meal. See a movie. Whatever it is, just make sure it’s fun and engaging, and not happening on your couch.
Need a Chicago Apartment that Can Accommodate Guests?
Check out Oak Park Apartments. We offer one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom apartments in and around Chicago, with spacious floor plans for hosting guests. Browse our available apartments or contact us for more information.