If you live in an apartment in a large, expensive city like New York, chances are having a special guest room is beyond your spatial and financial reach. Are your house guests usually relegated to the living room sofa? If your answer is yes, your living room will need some essential accessories to make it inviting, cozy and comfortable for guests.
The goal is to create a space guests will not only want to stay in, but move into, so pleasant will it be! Beware! After you follow the decorating tips in this article, you may find that your guests outstay their welcome!
1. Abundant pillows and throws. What color is your sofa? Layer it with pillows and pashmina shawls from the same color family. If the couch is teal, for example, you might want to embellish it with pillows in bright lime green and a paler blue with some green in it.
2. Become an art and antiques locavore. Just as there is a movement nowadays to eat food grown locally--hence the name “locavore”--so when it comes to decor, you should feed your guests tidbits of art and vintage furniture that is drawn from and represents the community your home belongs to. If you are lucky enough to live in Brooklyn, you might mix and match pieces handmade by local artisans with vintage items culled from Brooklyn’s many antique stores. Obviously such items are usually pricey, so use them as accents and conversation pieces rather than fundamentals of the whole scheme.
3. Make it cozy but not lived-in. If you have joined the burgeoning rank and file of apartment-dwellers who rent out space to travelers through airBnB, you won’t want the living room to reveal your personal belongings, e.g. family photos, notebooks, novels you are reading, etc. Instead, provide plenty of brand-new magazines, coffee-table books--on contemporary art and photography, for example-- and New York Times bestsellers to read. Travel guides to your vicinity should also be brand-new and updated. If you live in Brooklyn there is a vast canon of books about the borough, both fiction and nonfiction, to choose from.
4. The finishing touches of a stylist...If a photograph of your living room is to appear online, you need a few props to assure a prospective renter that all the accouterments of gracious living are on offer here. Include a laptop and creamy cup of cappuccino in the photo setting so that the guests know that you have wi-fi and an espresso maker, for example.
All in all, your goal with guests is to provide a certain tailored, shipshape formality associated with good hotels, while maintaining the more casual, comfy ambiance of a home away from home.