How to Bed and Breakfast: Building Basics


Suppose that the footprint of your home contains significant undeveloped areas, which your municipality have OK'd for use as a B&B. Now you have some artistic freedom to really make a nice guest pad!



For the purposes of this article, we'll assume that you have at least 1000 square feet to play with. This is often more than enough to accommodate 3 bedrooms. Remember that garage renovations are fine if your township allows it; in many municipalities houses must have enclosed, function-specific garages. The steps I'm showing here apply to outbuildings as well.

  • Entering the Bed and Breakfast

Plan from the beginning; think about a guest driving into your parking lot. As part of your application for rezoning, parking was no doubt dealt with. If you're adding a parking area, give your guests preferential space. In bad weather, they needn't suffer any more than is necessary. A carport probably makes the most guest-frendly spot, aside from putting them in your own garage. When they step inside the guest entrance, what kind of first impression do you want to make with them?  A reception area, with a welcoming, homey feel would be nice. A dedicated foyer area also gives a sense of professionalism; a reception desk would be useful too. Place a guest book here, and if you have Point of Sale equipment like debit and credit card terminals, this is a good place. Promote local tourist attractions, and display memorabilia or paint a big mural on the wall. This is your chance to set a positive tone for the entire B&B. An example layout is shown below.

  • Go With the Flow

I like to use a schematic to show how the natural flow of a bed and breakfast can be developed. If you can establish a central area that services the entertainment and feeding of your guests, everything else should radiate from it, just like the kitchen in your home. As the host, you will be continually cleaning and sevicing rooms, so a small utilty room would be very helpful. Here you would keep linens, cleaning supplies, miscellaneous hardware etc. As we've mentioned before, it is not optimal to have guests travelling back and forth to your kitchen. A professional touch is to prepare their meals in your kitchen and serve them in the central area.

Even an inefficient layout will work over the short term.  However, you will be performing the same tasks hundreds of times; this planning stage will save many hours of your own time. Later in this series we will discuss the best design for your new bedrooms. It applies to this section inasmuch as the central area should be as far away from the bedrooms as possible. Give your guests a good night's sleep by not exposing them to the noise of other guests in the entertainment area.

The next article in this series, How to Bed and Breakfast: Bedroom Design, will discuss design and layout of the all-important bedroom.