If you're like me, you're preparing to host guests during the upcoming holidays. And you'd truly like to be a gracious host.
The goal of hospitality is not to pamper our guests; it's to make them feel welcome. So don't be intimidated by the idea of trying to create a guest space that's comparable to a four-star hotel. Instead, try to anticipate your guests' needs and try to make them feel at home.
Here are some simple tips for preparing your home for guests.
Make sure the bed(s) are comfortable. The best way to do this is to spend a night in the guest bed! I did this and learned that my guest beds weren't quite supportive enough. I remedied that situation by placing a sheet of plywood underneath each mattress, then added a foam topper to each bed.
I like twin beds in a guest room, which makes the space more versatile. I've found that most married couples don't mind sleeping in twin beds for a night or two, and this way the space can easily accommodate others.
Be sure that your bed linens are nice and clean. Since some guests suffer from allergies, don't use heavily-scented detergents or fabric softeners when laundering linens. Instead, add some white vinegar to the rinse water. Don't forget to launder or dry clean blankets, bedspreads, comforters, and pillows as needed.
If space allows, keep extra sheets, blankets, and pillows in the guest room. Mine are on the top shelf of the closet.
While the linens are off the bed, take the opportunity to dust and vacuum the guest room thoroughly. Take a good look at the carpet or rug while you're vacuuming to see if steam cleaning is needed.
If your guest bed needs a headboard, you can easily and inexpensively make an upholstered one! All you need is a piece of plywood, some foam, fabric, and a staple gun. Click here for a simple tutorial. And if you're in need of a night stand, consider any piece of furniture you might be able to re-invent. The nightstand in this room was a small chest from Bombay--remember that store? I painted it with homemade chalk paint, and now it has a new life!
Supply the guest room with a spot for guests to place their luggage and room to unpack their clothes. Guest closets often provide necessary storage space in homes, but be sure there is ample space for guests to hang clothes. Provide plenty of nice hangers and an ironing board and iron if possible.
Provide several sources of light, including a lamp by the bed. You may also want to provide a night light which guests can unplug if it's not needed.
Now for the guest bathroom. If you're very fortunate, you have a bathroom attached to the guests' sleeping space. If not, be sure that your guests know which bathroom to use and be certain that the path to the bathroom isn't blocked in any way. If the bathroom is down the hall, you may want to place a nightlight in the hallway.
Scrub the bathroom thoroughly. If needed, wash the rugs. Check the shower curtain liner and wash or replace if necessary.
Double-check the sink and bathtub/shower drains. If they're running slow, use a drain opener to get them cleaned out. Alternatively, pour some full-strength bleach down the drains, followed by the hottest water your tap will produce. Or to clean your drains more gently, pour some baking soda followed by white vinegar into the drains, then flush with hot water.
Stock the bathroom with plenty of fluffy towels and washcloths. Towels needn't be expensive, just thick and thirsty. Taking a cue from luxury hotels, I prefer white towels, which are easy to keep clean and stain-free and work well with any decor. Be sure to provide lots of wash cloths, which you can buy inexpensively in bulk packages. If you don't have a bathroom attached to your guests' bedroom, simply place a stack of neatly folded towels and washcloths in their sleeping space.
|I had some white hand towels monogrammed for the guest bath; don't they look pretty hanging with the fluffy bath towels?|
- hand soap
- bath soap (a new full-size bar)
- dental floss
- disposable cups
- cotton balls
- disposable razors
- shaving cream
- feminine hygiene products
- hair dryer
Provide at least one mirror outside the bathroom. A full-length mirror is ideal. Be sure the mirror is close to an electrical outlet.
Once all those things are done, think about the little things guests might need while they're in your home. Gather those items and make a welcome basket. Here's mine:
My welcome basket contains:
- bottles of water
- first aid items (band-aids in various sizes, alcohol wipes, instant cold pack)
- OTC pain medications (acetaminophen and ibuprofen)
- small sewing kit
- tube of lip balm
- lint roller
- box of tissues
- extension cord (use a t.p. roll covered in pretty paper to corral the cord)
I also printed a Welcome Card with pertinent information about our home, including our wifi password, home phone number, street address, nearest cross street, and the code for our alarm system. Here's a blank form that you could customize and print with your own information:
Just before guests arrive, place some fresh flowers in the guest space. Avoid flowers with a strong fragrance, such as lilies, hyacinths, and amaryllis. (For tips on arranging your own flowers, click here.)
However grand or simple your space, your guests are sure to appreciate your hospitality if it's offered with grace and love.
Click here if you'd like a full tour of my guest room.
Now tell me, how do you prepare your home for guests? Do you have any other tips to share?
I'm joining these wonderful parties: