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Guest Rooms
« on: December 31, 2011, 11:15:09 PM »
I keep reading threads on here that mention Guest Rooms. Is this a common thing?

I my experience in Australia the only people who might have a "guest room" are people who have no kids living at home and live in a larger house (ie: more than one bedroom, eg: my parents have a 3 bedroom house and just them and my youngest sister still at home so have turned the other bedroom into a "guest room"). Most people with kids have just enough bedrooms for the number of people living in the house. We are a family of 5 living in a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom house. Houses may have an ensuite attached to the master bedroom, and then one main bathroom for the rest of the house, and sometimes an extra toilet (for eg a downstairs toilet if the main bathroom is upstairs), but very rarely a bedroom and bathroom assigned for guest use only.

From the threads I have read here I get the perception that everyone has at least a guest bedroom, and in some cases a "guest suite" that includes a bathroom. Is this true?
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Re: Guest Rooms
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2012, 12:49:13 AM »
It really varies.  I live in the Mid-west, and housing isn't as high as it can be on the coast.    Most of the houses around have 3 or 4 bedrooms, so it's not too hard to have a guest bedroom.  I don't know very many that have a guest suite though.


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Re: Guest Rooms
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2012, 12:57:22 AM »
It certainly can be true, but I think it depends on a really large variety of things.

For instance, my parents never had a guest room until after both my brother and I had moved away from home.  It wasn't until then that they had a spare bedroom with a double bed that they could consistently offer to guests.  Before that, they had a foldout couch in the den (a public room without doors where our computers were) or one of us kids got kicked out of our bedroom when someone stayed over.

However, I know that I personally will always try very hard to make sure I have some sort of guest room available, even if it's combined with an office or some other function.  My in-laws live extremely far away, and always will, so they won't really be able to visit unless they can stay with us.  For our own convenience and their privacy, it would be nice to have an actual spare bedroom that wasn't used for anything but guests.  It's not hugely common to have an attached bath (that isn't shared) outside of a master bedroom, although if I were building my own house and could swing it, I'd probably want one attached to the guest room.

In the end, I think it comes down to priorities.  People who know they will have a lot of visitors who need somewhere free to stay are likely to prioritize a guest room of some sort if they value those visits.  People who don't have a lot of visitors, or who don't particularly like having guests stay with them, are less likely to prioritize a guest room of some sort.  And, of course, circumstances play a role, too.  If I end up living in a part of the country where housing is very expensive, I might not be able to do better than a pull-out sofa in the living room.  If I end up living somewhere that has less expensive housing, I might be able to afford a house large enough to have a dedicated guest room.


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Re: Guest Rooms
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2012, 01:00:57 AM »
I live in the US & really think it depends on the size of the house & family.  More rooms = more money, so when you build or buy a house you decide whether it is a desired feature.  My parents don't believe in letting people stay at hotels (a belief which was sorely tested when mom ended up with 30+ members of my dad's family for thanksgiving weekend, need to tell that story someday...) so they have always added on 1-2 guest rooms to our house.  I also think my mom secretly prefers having an extra room because my dad is a champion snorer, a fact to which I can personally attest to from sleeping at the opposite end of the house.  ::). Most people I know w houses keep a guest room or have designated a child's room which will be requisitioned if a guest comes.  Those on a tighter budget w apartments tend not to have an extra room if they have kids but often do if it's just a couple.


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Re: Guest Rooms
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2012, 05:24:41 AM »
I am in the USA and have never had a guest room, and that probably won't change. When my children were young, we used every bedroom for family members, and like many others, when someone came to visit for a short time, one of the kids camped out in a sleeping bag somewhere else in the house.


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Re: Guest Rooms
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2012, 07:15:34 AM »
I'm used to there being a spare bedroom (we don't tend to call it the Guest Room in the UK) *if* the family can afford it.  When DH and I first got married we had a small 3-bedroomed semi-detached house, so there was a spare bedroom and a 'little room' (big enough for a bed, basically).  The 'little room' became baby's room, in due course.

We'd managed to move a couple of times and were in this four-bedroomed house when our second child came along, although for a long time the spare bedroom was the telly room/library, and only became a spare bedroom on rare occasions, when we'd unroll the sofa into a bed.  It suited us better to use the sitting room for reading and socialising and listening to music, hence the television being somewhere else.

A guest room with ensuite bathroom is a very nice thing to have, but it's unusual because it's hard to fit an extra bathroom in.  Houses these days are often being built with more than one ensuite bathroom, though.


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Re: Guest Rooms
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2012, 07:36:16 AM »
I'm in the US. Most of the people I know who have guest rooms that aren't used as other rooms are either young and just starting to have their families, or older with kids grown up and out of the house. So they have a spare bedroom that can be set up as a guest room.

My brother and SIL had a guest room until their third child was born. He took over the guest room as his room. Now, when I stay with them, either one kid moves into another kid's bedroom, or I sleep in the family room on the fold-out couch. My grandparents stayed in their large house where they raised 6 kids. They had lots of guest rooms.

I'd say the average house has 3 or 4 bedrooms. Depending on the number of kids a family has, they might or might not have a dedicated guest room. Most people, if they have an extra bedroom, use it as a home office or craft room or playroom. This room might also double as a guest room when they have guests--either there's fold-out couch there, or a bed, or they have an air mattress that they haul out when they have guests.

There are larger houses with more bedrooms, where even a family with lots of kids might have a guest room. And some of those guest rooms will have attached baths. But those houses are very big and usually very expensive.
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Re: Guest Rooms
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2012, 07:48:50 AM »
In the UK, it's quite regional I think.  In London, almost no-one has a spare room - unless, as you say, their kids have left home (or, sometimes, if they're trying for a baby and have bought a larger house in advance) - because property is so expensive.  When we were living in our previous place, we worked out that it would basically be cheaper for us to rent a one bed place and pay for guests to stay in hotels than to rent a two bed place, even if someone came to stay once a fortnight.  (Actually, they usually stayed on the sofa but you see my point!)

In other areas of the country, property is pretty cheap - I know single people who can comfortably afford 2-3 bedroom houses so, why not?


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Re: Guest Rooms
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2012, 08:01:08 AM »
My parents built a house in 1979 for themselves and their two kids.  The plans were for 4 bedrooms, one of which would be a "guest room".  Then they found out little sister was coming along and the guest room turned into the baby's room.  Then baby sister came along and little sister moved in with me while baby sister got the "guest room". At one point, when grandma was living with us for a while, the dining room was turned into her "guest room" because it was on the ground floor and didn't require her to go up and down stairs.

Now that we are all out of the house one room is the  computer/guest room and one is the pack n play/guest room for when the siblings come home with their familes.  The third extra room is kinda storage at the moment.


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Re: Guest Rooms
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2012, 08:33:14 AM »
We do have a "guest suite", ie guest bedroom with an en suite bathroom. There's just DH and I in a large four bedroom house -- we are in a rural area where property is a fraction of London prices.  When we moved in, we opted not to use what was then the master bedroom as our room, because I actually dislike an en suite*. So that room and all its built in wardrobes was mainly used as my dressing room most of the time, and given over as the guest room. It is great to be able to say goodnight to guests, where they have all the necessary facilities, and then not have them wandering the hallways in the middle of the night.



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Re: Guest Rooms
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2012, 10:49:24 AM »
We have a fairly spacious apartment in Brooklyn, NY.  The place has two bedrooms and two full bathrooms. 

When we first moved in, 30 years ago, the second bedroom was a combination den and guest room.  It had a sleep sofa.  Over the years, it has morphed into our computer room and Mr. Thipu's man cave.  It's very convenient when I want to watch the opera and he wants to watch Ice Road Truckers. 


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Re: Guest Rooms
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2012, 12:58:40 PM »
This very much depends on the personal situation of the homeowner.  We've always tried to have a guest room, but it hasn't always been possible.  Our current home had only three bedrooms, and since we have two kids, the house was full, so we built a guest house behind the main house.  We entertain a lot, so we thought it was necessary, but someone who doesn't entertain, or who is fine with their guests staying in hotels, wouldn't have a need for a guest house/room.
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Re: Guest Rooms
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2012, 01:06:29 PM »
It is certainly not universal, but it is not uncommon either.

My sister has a 5 bedroom house with no guest bedroom she has the largest of them and she has 3 kids, each with their own room, the smallest bedroom is used for storage, crafts, and piling up junk (she admits it is mostly useless stuff, so I am not being mean here).

I have a 4 bedroom house that has a guest room (which is also where most of our books live), an office where we can put a blow-up bed and my glass room.  But it is only DH and I and the boy-cats.

My mom has a 3 bedroom house with 1 spare bedroom, an office and a den that is used as a second spare bedroom if needed.

Neither mom nor I have an en suite for the guest room.  I have a 2 story house-so there is an en suite for the master bedroom and a hall bathroom for everyone else, plus a half-bath (toilet, sink) downstairs.  Mom's place is a single story-she has an en suite for the master and a hall bath for everyone else.

My sister doesn't have any en suite bathrooms.  There is one  bathroom for the upstairs bedrooms and one for the downstairs bedrooms and that is all.

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Re: Guest Rooms
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2012, 01:47:02 PM »
The average house in the US (in non-urban areas) has three bedrooms and somewhere between one and two bathrooms.  That's the median - you'll certainly find a lot of smaller houses and some which are much bigger  :P  However, to be a "bedroom" a room has to conform to certain legal standards - must have a closet, must have a window of a certain size for a fire exit, must open off a main hallway instead of through another room, etc.  (These standards may be by state - I just know the ones for where I live.)  The size of the room doesn't really matter, as long as it fits the requirements.

As a result, you'll find a lot of homes which have a room that can't legally be a "bedroom" but is usable for other things: dining room, study, exercise room, workshop, craft room, etc.  We recently added on a new room to our house - it can't be a bedroom because it doesn't have closets and you have to go through the previous "spare bedroom" to get to it.  However, we do plan to use it for the baby's room, and in the meantime it's a guest room.  Right now the previous "spare bedroom" (which can't be a bedroom either, since the window is not legally large enough to be a fire exit) is my home office, and once the baby is born we will move the futon in there and it will be a combination office / guest room when needed.

A house is a pretty major long-term purchase, so I guess it's not surprising people often end up with one more or fewer bedroom than they really need at the time.  DH and I bought this 3-bedroom house before Babybartfast was born, because we planned to have two kids.  If Baby-on-the-way has turned out to be triplets, we would probably be looking at moving  :-\  If circumstances had conspired to prevent us from having a second child, we would have just had an extra room (and probably a permanent guest room).


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Re: Guest Rooms
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2012, 03:18:53 PM »
At my parents house my bedroom has always been the 'guest room', meaning that when we had guests I slept with my sister or on the sofa.  :(
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