The kids might be running around the house in school holiday-induced excitement, and friends and relatives popping round with all the gossip – but chances are you’ll hear nothing as you single-handedly fight your way through the clutter in the spare room.
Unfortunately, all too often we haven’t even got a clue what’s accumulated in there and dread clearing it.
In the New Year you could take advantage of the sales and invest in kit which could significantly improve the room and render any more of those frenzied seasonal sort-outs unnecessary.
Follow our guide to bringing style to the spare room - with short-term and long-term solutions.
A comfortable bed is a vital ingredient for the spare room - guests who’ve slept properly will be much better company than those who haven’t.
“The popularity of the fold-away bed rocketed in 2012 and is tipped to continue in 2013,” says Jamie Dean, head of design at Betta Living, fitted furniture and storage specialists.
Their fold-away beds start from £1,494, and can be bought as part of a room design.
“These beds are now very affordable, comfortable and robust and have the great advantage of allowing the room to be used for other purposes,” says Dean.
“Many people want to use the spare room as a craft or ironing room, exercise room or home office for most of the year and don’t want the space cramped by a bed.
“While they often have to be practical spaces it’s not expensive to bring the ‘wow’ factor with small touches such as plinth or headboard lighting.”
A sofa bed is another easy way of increasing sleeping space and can be used anywhere in the home but works particularly well in a room which doubles as an office. John Lewis’s Bizet small sofa bed with a foam mattress is currently £799 online.
Sofa Workshop’s Cairo Stool-bed, £679 for a single, £924 for a double size, is available in range of attractive furnishing fabrics.
Spare room snip: Ikea’s smart, single PS Lovas chair bed, on wheels, is £190.
Go beddy buys
A bedroom with a well-dressed bed - think cuddly textures like wool, velvet and cashmere - will instantly turn a spare room into a comforting retreat.
This time of year, many shops are already running sales, and it’s a great opportunity to bag bargain bedding. Just don’t get overwhelmed by sale fever and buy a luridly patterned duvet set simply because it’s on offer - there’s probably a reason why the store’s got loads left.
Bedding featuring silhouettes of robins is nice and wintry and an Anorak Kissing Robins duvet cover is well-priced at £45 a single duvet cover, £14 a pair of pillowcases, John Lewis.
Debenhams currently has up to 50% off on selected bed linen sets bought online. It’s always worth browsing HomeSense stores which are a good source of discounted designer bed linen. Brilliant lemon and pink lightweight quilts, £68, from online company Reason Season Time can’t fail to brighten a dull space.
Spare room snip: Dunelm Mill’s Red Fairford bed linen collection, with a bold rose print pattern on white, starts from £22.99. Add punchy colour with a cable-knit throw, £40, in either orange or green, part of the new House range by John Lewis.
By the bed
It’s key to have everything in easy reach of the bed - visitors won’t appreciate stumbling around in a strange room in the dark to locate a glass of water.
If style’s paramount, and your guests are truly special, you could splurge on a bedside chest upholstered in lush pink velvet, L’Amour 2-drawer chest, £595, Alexander & Pearl.