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Story by Sarah Ruppenthal

get-the-look-dining-setWhen my husband and I moved to Maui, we packed light.

Fresh out of college and on a shoestring budget, we made do with the bare necessities: a bed, desk, television and a sturdy pair of lawn chairs in the living room.

We were content with our minimalist lifestyle — that is, until my parents announced they were coming to stay with us for the holidays. Suddenly, we were in a mad scramble to transform our humble dwelling into a guest-friendly — and budget-friendly — space.

If that scenario sounds familiar, you may be wondering, with the holidays right around the corner, what you can do to make your guests feel at home.

According to Amy Tatik and LeeAnn Lawrence of Lifestyle Maui Furniture, you can give your guests the five-star treatment without spending a fortune.

Whether you are sprucing up a vacation rental, hosting a holiday soirée, or making room for friends and family to stay for a while, Tatik and Lawrence say that it’s important to distinguish “hospitality” from “entertaining.”

“Accommodating is not the same thing as decorating,” says Lawrence. “It’s about focusing on your guests and making them feel comfortable.”

A logical place to start is the guest bedroom. If your mattress is old and lumpy, now may be time to invest in a new one. If you’re in the market for bedroom furniture, Tatik suggests a unified bedroom collection, which typically includes a bed, dresser, mirror, night tables and media chest. It’s one-stop shopping at its best, especially for the cost-conscious consumer.

No guest room? No problem. Sleeper sofas are a staple in the furniture world, says Tatik. These versatile, convertible pieces maximize space without sacrificing comfort. Forget about the rickety, steel-coil-and-spring foldout couches of yesteryear; contemporary sleeper sofas come in all shapes, sizes and fabrics, with decadent, inches-thick air or memory-foam mattresses.

Of course, food is at the heart of the season. If the head count at your table will expand over the holidays, Tatik advises purchasing a table that expands, too. Round or square, a table with extender or drop leaf is a space-efficient way to bring everyone to the table. (Yes, size matters.)

For smaller rooms — or if you don’t mind spreading out a bit — consider adding a bistro table, buffet or console to your dining collection. And what childhood is complete without the memory of having sat at the requisite kids’ folding table?

If space is truly at a premium, bench seats are a great option; they require less space and accommodate more people.

Over the years Tatik and Lawrence have helped many customers get their homes ready for the holidays, and while situations vary, time is almost always of the essence. That’s why they recommend seeking out stores like Lifestyle Maui, where, says Lawrence, “Everything advertised is in stock and ready for delivery.”

Remember, too, that while you’re focused on hospitality for your guests, you are also giving yourself a gift, says Tatik. “These new pieces will be a part of your home long after your guests leave.”

Or until they return next year.

Lifestyle Maui Furniture is located at 703 Lower Main Street in Wailuku; 242-1863; www.lifestylemaui.com.


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