Everyone I canvassed for this feature was united on providing good lighting to make your guests feel catered for. And so, if by some fluke your spare room needs rewiring, then the winning formula is a combination of wall lights and side lights for reading – all of which are controlled from a central toggle switch on each side of the bed. “But a plug-in reading lamp, one on each bedside, is ideal,” reassures Harding.
Of course not everyone has the luxury of a dedicated guest room, and that is where the sofa bed comes into play. Emma Valerio, home design stylist at John Lewis & Partners, says sofa-bed sales are up 46 per cent on this time last year. “When buying one, it’s best to consider what it will be used for the majority of the time,” she says. “If it’s for the living room, then go for a design with arms, a supportive back and a fold mattress; if it’s for occasional use and will live in an office or small space, then a clic-clac style commands less room and offers a more streamlined aesthetic.”
John Lewis has just launched the Clapton (with the aforementioned easy clic-clac release mechanism), which starts at £299. Part of the retailer’s purse-friendly Anyday range, it has garnered a four-star (out of five) rating. For those with a heartier budget, Gunning suggests looking up the Isaac from sofa.com, the Sophie from Love Your Home, and the Pudding from Loaf. “They’re comfortable and don’t look like a rigid, generic sofa bed. And remember: a two-fold mattress is more pleasant to sleep on than a three-fold.”
Gunning is also a fan of vintage screens to zone-off the sleeping area and offer privacy. “They are charming additions to living rooms and great for dividing open-plan spaces,” she says. “Etsy, eBay and vintage marketplaces such as Pamono and Vinterior have lots.”
Perhaps controversially, Harding is of the view of doing away with a sofa bed entirely. “I would opt for a good quality, blow-up mattress instead, as they don’t take up much space. Argos and John Lewis have great ones, and it’s worth getting an electric pump to save the hassle of manually pumping.” She also champions double beds in children’s rooms: “Guests get a whole bedroom to themselves and kids love the novelty of camping in their parents’ rooms on yoga mats or blow-ups. They’re also much easier to read bedtime stories in!”