'Tis the season.
Guests are coming.
But you aren't prepared.
Your spare room is a storage locker, a temporary office, a play room or a catch-all dump for spillover from the garage.
And there's so much junk in the attic you don't need insulation.
That once yawning, guest room of emptiness called out to you looking for somewhere to toss stuff in order to keep the rest of the home neat and up-to-date.
Now, with the holidays brewing, there's trouble on the home front.
Total domestic travel expenditures by U.S. tourists is expected to rise at a rate of only 4.1 percent this year, compared to nearly twice that much, 7.5 percent last year, according to the Travel Industry Association of America and guess what?
Fewer trips, mean more trips closer to home. Yours.
A whopping 78 percent of all home owners expect overnight visitors during the year end holidays, but most of those home owners -- 75 percent -- are using that guest room as, well, a home depot.
Olympic Paints and Stains shamelessly conducted this survey to get you to go out and buy paint and other surface treatments to spiff up that extra room, but the company does have a point. No one wants to sleep on inflatable beds and sleeping bags in the middle of your family room. They'd much rather snooze in the privacy of their own accommodations.
So Olympic teamed up with The Learning Channel's "Trading Spaces" designer Laurie Smith, who just happens to prefer the Olympic brand, to help you square away that spare room -- in style.
"The guest room is not a closet with a bed," says Smith.
Well, it's not supposed to be, anyway.
It's an opportunity for a little interior design experimenting instead of shunning a room that's not frequently used.
Smith says applying her "Trading Spaces" limited-budget approach to the spare room can not only bring it to life but add value to the home.
"In just one weekend, you can resurrect a room without disrupting your entire house," says Smith.
And given the approaching holidays, one weekend is about all the time you'll have to follow her tips.
So get with it.
Place items in the guest room for their intrinsic value from a design and color standpoint, whether it's an accent pillow a candlestick or a lamp. Don't use the guest room as a recycling bin or alternative to discarding stuff you don't need. That's how it got to be such a dump in the first place.
The key is to create real living space that comes with a comfortable, relaxing feel that also offers memories of you and yours.