One of the best things about living in a collectivist society is that we always have the option of not being alone. As Bangladeshis, we often tend to keep our families close, and our friends and extended families closer. However, long gone are the days of our previous one or two generations, and with globalization has come our acceptance of people’s need of privacy – even if it is around our closest ones. When buying a flat in Dhaka city, for instance, one would be rightly expected to expect the home to have at least three bedrooms, lest their guests feel unwelcome. With this new tradition of having a separate room especially for your guests comes the opportunity of being able to decorate and customize it to the needs of the ones you love, and make them feel special.
When it comes to decorating a guest room, it is always wise to stick to the basics so that you never overdo anything, and nothing seems out of place. Try to keep your colour scheme mostly neutral and minimal. Stock up on a few sets of bed sheets, pillowcases, bedcovers, throw pillows, etc. so that you can change the look and feel of your guestroom at any time. You may think that your distant cousin will not care much for the curtains in their room being a bright canary yellow, but it’s better to keep comfort first and foremost; including the eyes too, yes. Of course, if the person is a part of the close family, you will already know something of their preferences, and will hopefully not be caught off-guard during their stay.
Speaking of comfort, different people have different needs; regarding how hard or soft they want their pillow to be. Therefore, be prepared and stock up on both soft and stiff pillows, and light and thick blankets, so that your guest never has to suffer a bad night’s sleep and end up feeling homesick. Keep a medium-sized cupboard or a dresser in your guestroom so that guests who stay with you for a length of time can have comfortable storage. If you have the space for it, include a small desk-and-chair and/or a ‘bean bag,’ so that your guest has a flat space to write on (if they need to) and a ridiculously comfortable place to sit on, other than the bed. Also, no matter where in Dhaka city your flat or apartment is situated, 10 months out of 12 the weather will be scorching hot. Thus, keep the electrical appliances of the room in check. This includes air conditioners, fans, lights, etc.
As for details, stock up on bathroom necessities such as toothpaste, toothbrushes, bar and liquid soaps, etc. before each new guest arrives. Also make sure to keep a stack of books and magazines in the room.
To add to the character of the room, hang up a few small paintings or sketches on the walls, and place a couple of succulent plants near the window of the room. These plants will not require regular attention but will definitely liven up the space. In order to go the extra mile, keep a jar of dry fruits and nuts on their bedside table, in case they crave midnight snacks.
Most importantly though, make your friend or family member(s) so comfortable and welcome that they rarely feel the need to retreat to their private space, other than to sleep in at the end of a good day – or hopefully, a series of great days. Hospitality from your part plays a big role.