Are your in-laws a drag or a delight? Are they excited for any excuse to visit their favorite child-in-law, or are they always looking for new ways to criticize you? Whether your relationship with your in-laws is good or bad, hosting them for the holidays can be difficult. Perhaps you're short on space. Or maybe you rise and retire on completely different schedules. Or you could have home improvement issues that make life difficult even without guests. This list could go on and on (trust me).
Whatever your situation, there are manageable home improvements you can do to make the in-laws' visit easier on you and on them.
- Easy Entry
Forget hide-a-key rocks, trying to beat rush hour, or staying up until 3 AM. There's a better way to let guests into your home. To make coming and going easier on everyone, consider swapping traditional door locks for keyless, wireless systems. With these tech-savvy entries, you need neither keys nor physical presence to usher guests into your home. Depending on your system, you could give your in-laws a guest code for the duration of their stay or unlock your home remotely if they arrive while you're out. Guest code options make it easier for guests of all types not only in-laws to maintain a level of independence. Now they can come and go as they please. Also, you no longer have to worry about guests walking off with a set of your keys.
- Worry-Free Lighting
Some in-laws love to nitpick your lighting options: brightness, sources, styles, you name it. Others like to ignore the cost because they don't have to foot the bill and leave every light on 24/7. That's not light on your wallet either, considering that lighting accounts for 12% of the cost of running your home. To make life easier on aging in-laws, consider exterior updates like path lighting or motion sensors. These improvements can help guests feel more at ease on unfamiliar walkways when arriving at night. To minimize fights over interior lights, consider updates like dimmers, task lighting and timers. Installing dimmers and layering in lighting options with task lights allows residents and guests alike to customize their lighting needs. Even the grumpiest, pickiest in-laws have to admit that it's nice to have an options between pitch black and blindingly bright. Timers are a lifesaver if your in-laws are inconsiderate, forgetful or both. No more waking up in the middle of the night to find they've left every available light on when they went to bed.
- Always Accessible
Love 'em or hate 'em, you don't want to spend every second of your in-laws visit waiting on them hand and foot. Help them see to their own needs by organizing a few dedicated zones. Pick a cabinet or counter zone in your kitchen to serve as a combination hot drink and breakfast station. Keep it stocked with mugs, bowls, spoons, tea, coffee, oatmeal, an electric kettle and any other must-have items you can think of. Use a cork board or a picture frame to leave a note for guests like: "Eggs and fruit are in the fridge, dry cereal in the far right cabinet, help yourselves!" You can carry over these ideas to other areas of house. Dedicate a shelf in your linen closet for guest towels or a drawer in the bathroom for extra toiletries.
- Guest Space
If you can, carve out a relaxing space just for guests. Clear out a spare bedroom and make it a relaxing retreat. Make sure it is clean, welcoming, and stocked with the essentials. Don't have the space for a separate guest room? Make your home office pull double duty. Just make sure you can quickly and neatly move your work into drawers or cabinets, so important items don't get lost and guests don't feel cramped by clutter. Don't forget to make sure all tables, night stands, or coffee tables are sturdy or have strong supports as your in-laws may use them to aid them in standing or sitting.
- Porcelain Palace
If you have the money and enough advance notice, consider tackling that bathroom remodel. Sharing a restroom is no one's favorite, so make the changes and add the amenities to improve everyone's bathroom experience. If you can afford it, go for a complete gut job and create your dream space. For those on a budget: no worries. With patience, hard work, a little creativity and a lot of paint, you can make a big impact on a small budget. Paint the walls, change the shower curtain, and add a new towel rack. A few simple changes can completely transform a space. Life with the in-laws may never be perfect, but a few well-placed home improvements can make visits much easier for both parties.
By: Megan Wild
About the Author: Megan Wild is a home improvement writer that catalogs her thoughts, dreams, tips, and tricks on Your Wild Home.