When you plan a spot for visitors, pretend you are the guest. What would you need to feel comfortable?
It's OK if you can't provide a separate space as a guest room. Put a futon, daybed or convertible sleeper sofa to work when guests visit. It can be in your family room, den, library or home office. If space is really tight, look into the concept of a fold-down bed, based on the old idea called Murphy beds.
It's amazing how a reading lamp, comfortable bedding and a bowl of fruit or bottled water can create an instant welcoming spot.
If you do have a separate guest room, have fun decorating it. Consider your visitors. Soft neutrals or pale pastels can help soothe weary travelers. A small chest can double as a nightstand, and swing-arm lamps mounted on the wall by the bed can serve as reading lamps without taking up lots of space.
Think carefully when choosing blinds. Privacy is a major concern, and light-blocking shades might be good, depending on the side of the house.
If you have to work during part of your guests' visit, offer house keys, directions, maps and brochures to shopping spots or area attractions. Perhaps they could meet you for lunch or visit your work site for a short tour.
Pamper your guests with items of comfort:
Water carafe. Place a carafe and glass on the bedside table or on a chest. Bottled water is a special touch.
Alarm clock. If guests have an early appointment or a plane to catch, this is helpful.
Padded hangers. Stock your guest closet with padded hangers. Wooden or plastic hangers are other options.
Luggage rack. It's a nice "hotel" touch, available at furnishings stores and in catalogs.
Small television, books and current magazines.
Treats, such as wrapped cookies and fresh fruit. Fresh flowers.