June 26 2017, updated 6:16am

No more guests: Why a spare room is a wasted room

LEE SUCKLING
Last updated 15:27 19/05/2017
TESSA CHRISP/NZHOUSE&GARDEN

When space is tight, it's not worth dedicating a whole room to occasional guests.

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OPINION: For months we looked at our spare bed and wondered if we could throw it away, and never host guests again.

This is something house-proud people are never supposed to say.

We gussy up our homes in photo-ready fashion so those who come inside can admire them.

We dedicate whole rooms (and precious square footage) to accommodating friends and family for the two days of the year they come to visit.

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We spend countless dollars on linens, food, and sundries for those "just in case" moments so we can appear the perfect, always-prepared hosts.

My husband and I own a 92 square metre, two-bedroom cottage. We've had a spare room set up with queen-sized bed, ready for guests, since we moved in six months ago.

That room also has the only wardrobe in the house. And it's just a single. I've no clue where the people of 1926 (when the house was built) were putting their clothes.

This anecdote is important because – despite desperately needing the space for storage – we felt obligated to have a guest bedroom. As if you're not "doing life right" if you can't accommodate others in your home.

Recently my younger brother came to stay, and that spare bedroom was used for the first time - for just one of the 180-odd nights we've been here.

On the Sunday morning, as politely as possible, my brother told me that the bed was uncomfortable.

This is something we actually knew already: it was a cheapish, post-university flatting purchase that we upgraded from years ago.

Having somebody tell you they haven't had the most comfortable overnight stay was like a lightbulb going on.

"We have no room in our house for our clothes," we thought. "Why are we wasting 20 per cent of our floor space for the (very) occasional guest, when we can't even provide a good night's sleep?"

A week later, we got rid of the bed. We literally left it on the street with a sign saying "free".

Guest room no more: we are going to turn that space into a really large walk-in closet of sorts. 

Not only do we finally have a room that will actually get used, now we are physically unable to host overnight guests.

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As a reality, this is a dream for both of us. We don't like overnighters: we're left in a state of low-level stress trying to please and impress them.

They always want to sit around your living room drinking your wine. They never go to sleep, or wake up, when your household does. It's difficult to clean around them.

You have to walk on eggshells to ensure they feel at home. And when they're gone, they leave copious amounts of extra laundry.

When we learned that our first and only guest wasn't actually comfy sleeping over, we decided all of this anxiety has been wasted.

Yes, we could just buy a new, higher-quality spare bed. But this time, we'd rather be selfish.

We're spending that money on something really useful to us: a flash new wardrobing system.

- Stuff

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