Recently, Whitney Leigh Morris opened the doors to #thetinycanalcottage – her beautiful home in Venice Beach, CA. We were endlessly impressed by Whitney’s thoughtful approach to design, as she makes use of every last inch and never compromises on style. Equally impressive? She refuses to let square footage – or lack thereof – dictate her lifestyle. For example, though they’re missing a guest room, Whitney and her fiancé host out-of-towners all the time… comfortably! Welcoming guests into a tiny space seems intimidating, so we just had to snag this Creative Director’s top tips. Whether you live in a tiny cottage or a sprawling manor, you’ll find suggestions that will turn your home into a desirable destination and keep your houseguests happy along the way: 

Hosting an overnight guest (or two!) in a tiny home or apartment is a delightful challenge. Here are a few tips from The Tiny Canal Cottage, where we have hosted visitors for stays ranging from one night to up to three weeks!

1. Store your guest bedding and accessories someplace practical and accessible.
Our coffee table doubles as a storage chest for guest bedding and toiletries. When the bedding is in use, the chest then becomes a handy enclosed storage space for the guest’s belongings during their stay.

2. Keep light and sound in mind.
We don’t have curtains in our living room (which is also the guest room… and office… and dining room) because they bring the walls inward. As such, we are sure to have a new sleep mask (with corresponding ear plugs) at the ready for overnight visitors.

3. Try to respect everyone’s privacy.
It is obviously challenging to find completely private space for overnight guests in a tiny home— but it’s still nice to try. At the Cottage, we provide a temporary curtain around the guest bed / couch by stringing a throw blanket to a driftwood rod that we hang from the ceiling. During the evening, the blanket is spread out and draped in battery-operated twinkle lights that our guests can easily access. During the day, the curtain is cinched with a pin in the center and draped with greenery, to leave the room open and airy.

4. Create a dedicated space for your guest’s toiletries and towels.
Clear part of a shelf or cubby for your guest’s use, and provide temporary hooks for them to hang their towels and toiletries. Not only does this help guests feel settled and welcome in your home, but it also prevents clutter from piling up on valuable countertop and floor space.

5. Don’t forget the basics.
As always, keep the basics in mind. Snacks, water, chargers, a collapsible suitcase rack, thank you notes, local information, wifi password, etc.

6. Provide a place for your guest to hang his/her clothes.
Who needs a hallway or guest closet? Just suspend a sanded branch from a nail with simple jute twine, and voila! You have a coat rack. A 12” branch and a few hangers provide plenty of space for garments, accessories, jewelry, etc.

7. Cheers to you, your guests, and your tiny home!
Most importantly, create a welcoming environment in which to relax with your visitor, so they don’t feel like an imposition in your small home. I always call on my friend and colleague Rachel Mae from Smoke & Honey (a blog celebrating the art of leisure) to create custom mini-bars for my overnight guests. Rachel recommends thinking outside the traditional bar. A small basket, box or suitcase can easily be recycled into a mini home bar. Just add a few small bottles, some basic mixing tools and an ice bucket. Try limiting the beverage choice to two favorite cocktails, use smaller-size bottles (like those made by Hudson Whiskey and St. George Gin), and you’ll have an instant happy hour in your tiny space. You can also set pre-mixed concoctions on the bed or coffee table with some glasses for a perfect nightcap! Handwritten labels provide a personal touch, and can walk guests through their flight of whiskey.

Custom Bar Goods by Rachel Mae of Smoke & Honey. To see our full tour of #thetinycanalcottage, click here. To learn more about Whitney Leigh Morris, click here.