Getting rid of the guest room

Such a controversial decision, it seems. I mentioned the idea to Jules a while ago, and although he generally doesn’t have particularly strong opinions about the design of our flat, he really took offence to the idea of getting rid of the double bed that sits there all year round, perfectly made up, looking a bit sorry for itself. When I mentioned it to family they also thought I was mad: “Why would you get rid of such a lovely luxury?”, “But what about all your visitors?”, “Why on earth would you do that?”.

We live in a two bedroom 75 square metre flat in Bermondsey and we’re very lucky: the flat is a stone’s throw from the river, we can walk into town, we have a huge communal roof terrace, balcony and a big, beautiful park on our door step. Very lucky indeed.

However, as time moves on more stuff is accrued, dogs get bigger, future babies become a consideration, and careers change, which impacts on the way we live in our home. As of September, Jules and I will both be working from home (eeeek!) after I made the decision to leave teaching to develop my blog, start making and selling and help others design their own homes. Living on a budget in London means you have to make compromises (relative, I know) and the guest room, a former luxury, has become a space we really need to use as a work room. Currently, it does house my desk and craft supplies along one wall but the bed takes up the majority of the room.

If we kept our beautifully made guest room bed my daily working life would be that much more difficult. I would have to scrabble around every day trying to find a surface large enough to cut fabric, a blank white wall to shoot a project or have to pack up everything each day instead of being able to leave out resources I need for an ongoing project, just so those six visitors per year can have a bedroom to themselves, instead of using our sofa bed in the sitting room. This may sound selfish to you, but it just sounds like common sense to me. I saw a property show the other day and the advice given to the woman in her twenties buying her first flat was: don’t push yourself financially to buy a two bedroom flat just so you can provide a bed for occasional visitors – with all the money you save you could put them up in the best hotel in town.

Anyhoo, my point is that I think it’s important when you live in a home for a while to step back, evaluate how life may or may not have changed and not be scared to make changes, if needed. I’ll share my ideas for the room in my next post.

Do you have a redundant guest room that could be put to much better use?

Katy x

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10 Comments

  1. Susan 27th May 2014 / 12:29 pm

    Yes agree, get rid of the bed. You need the space when working from home. Go for it. I have same issue. The guilt is there though for some reason! My son and his mountain of toys are crammed into a single room whilst my beautiful double bedroom is allocated for guests…one who is coming in June and hasn’t been since Feb 2012! So I’m making the switch. The problem is the gorgeous antique double bed won’t fit in the single room and I’m very reluctant to part with it. However my wee boy will be able to have his train tracks set up permanently. Yay

    • katy 27th May 2014 / 1:16 pm

      Glad you agree, Susan. It’s all about priorities I suppose; your son is going to get so much more out of the bigger room on a daily basis than occasional visitors will for one night only. Yay to train sets and yay to lots of inspiring work space! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Claireabellemakes 28th May 2014 / 10:20 am

    Firstly, the part of this post that excites me the most is that you will be making and selling!

    We rent a 3 bed house and have no spare guest room. We both work two jobs and use two rooms as studios/computer rooms for our ‘at home’ work. Our guests don’t mind the lounge as we bought a luxury airbed and there is plenty of space. I think at the end of the day it is your space and you should do as you wish with it. The only person who snubbed our airbed was my Mum who stayed in a hotel. It meant I got to go and join them for breakfast the next morning and they were quite happy to do so.

    • katy 31st May 2014 / 8:30 am

      Just a little bit, Claire ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’ve been getting a few requests from friends and family for some of the things I make on the blog, like quilts, blankets and cushion covers, so I thought there’s no harm in trying to sell a few. I’m going to have enough time for it, that’s for sure!
      P.S. I can not tell you how impressed I am that you guys use all the rooms in your house to their full potential. Love that x

  3. Louise 30th May 2014 / 12:47 pm

    Probably a very wise decision. Although we recently moved house and do have room at present for a spare room, I still couldn’t bear to have the space fully occupied by a double bed that would hardly ever be used, but we have elderly parents for whom a sofa bed is no longer an option. Instead we bought a single bed with a truckle bed that goes underneath (from John Lewis if you want to check it out). You can use it as a single, twin or zip them together to make a kingsize. I have plenty of space to cut out fabric, use it as a drying room in inclement weather and can even put up the massage couch should I get a booking at home. Problem solved!

    • katy 31st May 2014 / 8:27 am

      Hi Louise! I looked at exactly that John Lewis guest bed and seriously considered it but our guest room isn’t huge so it would still have taken up too much space. We do have a fully sprung sofa bed in the sitting room (that I used to sleep on every night for three years when I lived in a studio flat) so that will have to do! Glad you can get everything you need out of your spare room ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. mary 30th May 2014 / 9:01 pm

    firstly-I’m just about to retire after nearly 40 years teaching & really admire you for taking the leap I wish I’d taken years ago! As to the spareroom-go for it!I did just that several months ago to enable me to have a work/craft space of my own, as you say to be able to leave ongoing projects out. I bought a deluxe airbed (from Achica) which my girls, when they visit, assure is very comfortable. Ikea also do a very nice day bed which pulls out to make a double bed & has storage underneath for bedding. Have fun & good luck for the future

    • katy 31st May 2014 / 8:24 am

      That’s so lovely to hear, Mary. I have to say I have never met anyone who regretted leaving their job so I hope it will be onwards and upwards. I do love teaching in many ways but the external pressures from government have become so great and all consuming that the job has changed so much in the ten years I’ve been doing it. Thanks for the airbed advice, too x

  5. Karen 1st July 2014 / 11:13 am

    Could not agree more with you. We are getting rid of our guest room to create a nursery/playroom for our soon to here baby. We have a tiny box room which we uses as an office but it’s minuscule – you would struggle to get a cot and chest in there and it would leave no room for a child. Are parents are all for it but I’m dreading my sisters reaction (she has 2 kids) as we won’t be able to have them sleep over. Still it has to be what’s best for you & you’re family not the odd visitor. X

    • katy 8th July 2014 / 11:50 am

      It didn’t go down too well with some of our family either. But on a day-to-day basis it will make such a difference to us so I hope it will be worth it x

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