How often do you have houseguests? We actually have them kind of a lot, and I love it. I love hosting people and having family and friends visit. Even though all our friends and family were a country away we had tons of people visit in San Francisco. And, now that we’re back in our home state we’re much closer but live in amazing mountain town that’s a vacation destination for many people, so we’re getting just as many visitors.
I often hear people say they don’t feel like they can have houseguests for various reasons: their house isn’t big enough, it’s not nice enough, it’s not finished yet… The list really goes on and on. And what I want to tell you today is that none of that is true! There are very few situations where you truly can’t have houseguests if you want to. In that spirit I put together this list of 5 things to do when entertaining and preparing for guests at home.
Tips to Prepare for Guests at Home
1. Tidy up – this goes without saying, but almost any room will be a hit if you’ve cleaned, organized and put fresh sheets on the bed. We still don’t have a bed frame in our current guest room and so the mattress is on the floor. I’ve made the bed up nicely, added bedside tables (or makeshift bedside tables) to each side of the bed and cleared the room of any moving clutter. We’ve had several houseguests since we moved in and they’ve all had a great time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if you embrace whatever your situation is 99% of the time so will your guests. And even though our mattress is on the floor and we don’t have any other furniture in our guest room our friends and family still had a great time.
2. Orient them to the room – this is especially true if they’ve never been to your house before, but even if they have if there have been any changes it can be nice to do. Give them a tour of the house and then explain to them where everything in the room is. Point out the towels, where the outlet is, show them the hangers in the closet and where you’ve made a space for their suitcases. This will immediately make the feel more comfortable and take the awkward guesswork out of their visit.
3. Think like you’re the guest – what will they need during their stay? Well, more than likely they’ll shower so towels and washcloths are a must. Enough pillows and blankets are important – and make sure they’re comfortable! A light that can be reached from the bed is necessary too! They’ll need to charge their phone or computer or camera or something else during their stay so make sure at least one outlet is easily accessible. I like to put extra phone chargers in our guest room so they don’t even have to get theirs out. They may want to hang some of their clothes to get the wrinkles out so leaving hangers in the closets is also helpful. And I like to leave earplugs and an eye mask. Everyone is used to different sleeping conditions and there are more people in the house than normal. So, if someone’s snoring, there’s an unfamiliar noise, or an unfortunately placed street light everyone can still get a good night’s sleep.
4. Make room for suitcases – I can’t tell you how much I love going to a hotel that has two luggage racks, it makes such a huge difference to me for Xan and I both to have a place to put our suitcases. It’s such a small thing, but I think it’s really important. It always makes me more comfortable because I don’t have to hunch over and dig through my suitcase and leaves more space to move around the room. Of course it doesn’t have to be actual luggage racks, it could be a pretty bench or a wide dresser. Just as long as you have a place.
5. Provide personal touches - This is totally the icing on the cake. Adding sweet little elements that show you thought about your visitors make all the difference. Last weekend right before we left for Louisville a family friend had an emergency, some of their loved ones came to visit and since we weren’t there we offered our house as a place for them to stay (thanks to the keypad lock they were able to stay even though we never actually saw each other!). I made sure to follow all the rules above and I also put out our coffee and French press. I knew this would be a stressful time for them and thought a warm cup of coffee in the morning might be a small comfort. Leaving some water and glasses, a little snack or something else that might make them feel extra comfortable is always so welcome.
Let’s face it, staying somewhere else is never quite the same as being at home and going the extra mile to make someone feel more welcome can make their stay so much more enjoyable and memorable.