Hosting guests is one of my favorite things to do, and with the holidays around the corner (I’m sorry to break the news, but it’s TRUE!), it’s time to start planning ahead for making your casa into a welcoming, hospitable nest for your beloved visitors.
Here are some of my favorite ways to help guests feel more at home in my home.
1. Outfit the guest room
We shall start with the basics, because while your guests might not complain about a sleeping bag on the floor in the living room…it certainly won’t make them feel at home.
At a minimum, a guest will need:
- Comfy pillows
- Access to extra blankets and/or a fan
- A nightstand or ledge to set water, glasses, etc.
- A light for reading
Bonus points for:
- A pitcher of water and a glass by the bedside
- Turning down the sheets
- Mints on the pillow
- A space heater
- A lit candle by the bathroom sink
- Waking up to the smell of hot coffee and pancakes
2. Don’t apologize
This one might be the hardest on the list. (It’s an active practice for me, always.)
When your guests arrive, don’t apologize if your houseplants are dying, your closet is a mess, the dinner isn’t perfect, or you don’t have HBO.
Instead, give them a warm smile, a hug, and share your space with them freely—exactly as it is. It sets a completely different tone, and contrary to your first instincts, they’ll feel much more comfortable and welcome to enjoying your hospitality if they’re not constantly responding to your apologies and trying to make you feel better.
3. Give them a space in the bathroom
I went to visit my sister, she had placed an empty basket on the shelf next to the sink. Imagine my delight when she said it was for me, to store my toiletries for the duration of my stay. This lovely offer meant I didn’t have to schlep my toothbrush, make-up and such back and forth from my room all week. It was a tiny gesture, but went miles in making me feel like I was in a home away from home.
Plus, isn’t her bathroom adorable?
4. Leave entertaining reading on the nightstand
Books on the nightstand are a sweet & subtle way of saying, “I planned ahead for your visit! I want you to be entertained!” After your guest retires for the night, they will have some lovely light reading to look forward to before they close their eyes for sweet dreaming.
I like to choose books that can be easily skimmed, preferably with short stories so they can start and finish in one sitting. Here are a few of my personal favorites:
- The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh
- The Five Minute Iliad Other Instant Classics: Great Books For The Short Attention Span
- Insults & Comebacks
- Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps
- Found: The Best Lost, Tossd, and Forgotten Items from Around the World
- Where the Sidewalk Ends
5. Have a great time
When you are at ease, relaxed and engaged, it paves the way for your guests to also be at ease, relaxed and engaged. Even though having guests can mean extra errands, more cleaning and going out of your way, be sure to also make time to tend to your own needs so you feel well-rested and taken care of. This might mean getting a little extra sleep, planning far ahead, asking for help, or taking five minutes to yourself to have a little quiet time (bonus points for a smooth transition: Talk amongst yourselves. I’ll give you a topic!)