Hospitality In Humble Homes: On Guests And Small Spaces


’Tis the season for holiday entertaining, long-distance travel, and the dreaded question for small-apartment dwellers: “Mind if I crash at your place?”

If you’re like me, one way you’ve capitalized on being single is renting (or buying) a small space: an attic, a basement, or a studio apartment with a sink unreasonably close to your couch.

Still, I’ve had friends and relatives ask to spend the night — they’ve got an early flight, and I’m near the airport; they’re just going to be in town for one night and don’t want to spring for a hotel; or we’re going to be out late and driving back to their place isn’t worth it.

I’m always game — I love having guests, but I worry that they won’t always love my space. offers advice on how to make your tiny place more welcoming without a guestroom (for free!).

Their ideas are pretty simple: Offer a variety of blanket options, so guests will be comfortable no matter the temperature; make an instant night stand out of a stack of books; let them store their luggage on a chair; and spruce up their sleeping area with flowers, water, and a place to empty their pockets.

To that I’d add a place to charge a cell phone, a nightlight and extra towels in the bathroom, plus something to offer as a late-night snack with breakfast possibilities for the morning — even if it’s a yogurt, donut, or bread with jam on the go! Wake up early to get coffee going before your guest awakes.

According to Apartment Therapy, small gestures can go a long way to making someone feel more comfortable — even if he or she is sleeping on the floor. (Of course, you could also give them your bed — just throw fresh sheets on and make the bed before your guests arrive!)

I’ve done some couch-surfing in my day, and I always appreciate it when my hosts have done a little extra to make me feel comfortable, especially if I’ve been traveling several hours. And I think St. Benedict would commend the efforts.

In Chapter 53 of the Rule he wrote for his monks, Benedict said, “Let all guests who arrive be received as Christ.”

For Benedictines, hospitality is a holy pursuit, and even for us non-religious, the concept is worth bearing in mind throughout the holidays and into the new year.

So CatholicMatchers, what do you do to give guests a lot of comfort in little abodes?


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