With the holidays fast approaching many of us are preparing for travel or preparing to host family and friends overnight.
As the host, its important to take a moment and put yourself in your guests’ shoes. Consider the things YOU would expect and appreciate when staying over at their house.
Do you recall a difficult trip where simple things, like a locating the clean towels or backup toilet paper, were a mystery? Don’t be that host.
Not everyone is Susie-Perfect-Hostess, which is why I have compiled this awesome list of ways you can make your guests welcome, taken care of, and appreciative of their stay.
For the Guest Room
If your having overnight guests, obviously the number one thing you will need is a spare bed or bedroom.
We all have experienced overnights where the guest bed was literally the residents’ old mattress.. lumpy, uncomfortable, and well… yuck. Do the world a favor, when you replace a mattress, throw the old one away! That old thing is filled with dust mites, germs and if it wasn’t comfortable enough for you then its not a good choice for your guests either. There are also some basic touches that you find in hotels that you can also add to your guest room to help make your guests feel comfortable. Some things as simple as a darkened room, a fan and an available power source to plug in their electronics.
A Comfy bed goes a long way
When searching for the right guest bed there are many options to consider depending on your available space.
A sleeper sofa or Air-mattress are great options that can be pulled out when you are expecting guests.
Air mattresses aren’t what they used to be – in such a good way! They are actually quite comfortable and quick to setup with a built-in Electric pump like this one.
If your planning on having guests stay in a living area or in an office that has room for a couch, they actually make Memory Foam mattresses for sleeper sofas now that rival real beds. We opted for this in our theater room so we could convert it into a guest room in a pinch. Benchcraft makes a great one that is super easy to convert (seriously, I can do this one-handed!) and is real cozy. We have this one and LOVE it. We have 3 of the matching oversized chairs too, for lots of snuggling up in the theater!
See! Here it is in our home theater!!! We have had it for over 3 years now and was a life-saver when we had extra guests in town for the baby shower and after little miss E was born.
If you have a real guest room
Say you have an actual guest room, and are looking for a real bed to have a permanent place there for guests.
Don’t just buy the cheapest mattress you can find, you don’t want your poor guests to feel like they are sleeping on cardboard.
Surprisingly, you can find a nice memory foam mattress, delivered in a box pretty inexpensively now. I love the Zinus Memory Foam Green Tea Mattress, it’s what we have in our guest room.
I wanted something comfortable AND sturdy that would last, as well as green and not pumped full of chemicals. As you know I’m a big believe in keeping a natural and healthy, chemical free home!
While this link will take you to the Queen size mattress, you can get any size that works for your space.
We actually bought 2 twins.. when pushed together they make a King sized bed, and in the future I can split them up to make 2 twin beds for my daughter’s sleepovers, etc..
Whatever method you choose, make sure its comfortable and something you would sleep on yourself.
Nightstand with power
When setting up your guest room, ensure there is a dedicated place by the bed they can set items on, such as phones, glasses, a glass of water. Make sure there is a power outlet nearby as most folks like to have their phones plugged in and resting on the nightstand.
If you have a real nightstand, great! If not, a fold up TV tray or even a box with a tablecloth over it will do! We have a set of 4 of these, and let me tell you these suckers come in SO handy! When we have guests, I can pop 2 up on either side of the guest bed and for a quick night stand.
Get some air flowing
Another thing guests are super appreciative of is air flow. By this I mean a fan they can control. A ceiling fan is ideal for good air circulation in any room (and to help control the temperature). However, installing a ceiling fan may not be practical for you or the space you are using to host guests.
In this case, a simple, oscillating tower fan will work great!
If your low on space or a tower fan isn’t right for your budget, you could also opt for a smaller personal table fan. We have this one for when my MIL is in town as she LOVES air 🙂 It fits right on the tray tables I set up and keeps our guests nice and cool.
Water and Wifi
Another nice touch to make your guests feel at home is to have some water readily available by their bedside. You can put a couple bottles of water out to make it easy, or put a nice glass and coaster on the bedside table and inform your guest of its purpose and make sure they know where to get filtered water from the kitchen.
Having the Wifi password posted somewhere easy to find is often forgotten but so nice for guests to not have to ask for. You could write it on a sticky note, make a cute framed photo out of it, or write it on a decorative chalkboard and leave on the night stand where guests will see it.
Set the mood and darken the space
This is especially important if you are using an open space like a living room or loft as your guest quarters. Put up some light-blocking curtains to make the space feel more private and dark enough for a good night’s sleep.
If you have a guest room, usually blinds are good enough, but the added step of hanging black-out curtains is certainly appreciated. You could even add some dim lighting or candles to make your guests feel at home and comfortable. Note – they don’t have to be black – you can get blackout-lined curtains in many many colors.
Make some room to hang
Finally, if you have guests staying more than one night, its a really nice gesture to ensure there is space in the closet with free hangers for them to use to hang up nicer items, like dresses, suits, etc..
If you are using a non-traditional space for guest room and/or don’t have a closet, you can acquire and setup a garment rack for them to use.
You don’t need anything crazy expensive or durable for that matter. Keep in mind a week’s worth of clothes is not a lot…
Once upon a time when I was running an online boutique I cleared one of my extra racks and placed it in the theater where I had extra guests staying for a week, and they were SO grateful for this.
You can get one as cheap as less than $20! This is the one that I used at the time, and it was perfect.
For the Guest Bathroom
Having a guest bathroom setup for hosting seems pretty simple as any bathroom would have the basic necessities for any human being. However, some added touches will really put your guests at ease and avoid potential anxiety if certain items can’t be found!
Towels in eye-sight
Don’t make your guests search through cupboards and closets for a set of towels to use during their stay. Take the extra step to set out a clean full set (Towel sheet, Hand-towel, and Washcloth) in plain sight.
This can be placed on the bed, so they see it as they are unpacking, or right on the bathroom counter-top (assuming you have one). Think about how hotel towels are always neatly folded and right where you can find them the second you step into the bathroom. Not tucked away in a closet!
You can also SHOW your guests where extras are stored in case they need them.
Every time my husband or I travel we always bring home those fun-sized toiletries from our hotels (usually unused because we take our own anyway). These are great for giving our own guests for convenience. Keep a free drawer or basket when guests can find them and make sure they know they are welcome to use them!
The same goes for that disposable toothbrush and travel size tooth paste the dentist gives you at every checkup. If we have a guest that forgets a tooth brush or paste, no problem!
Another extra you will find in every hotel is a hair-dryer. Let your guests know ahead of time that you have one for them so they don’t feel the need to pack one, taking up that precious luggage space.
In addition to the bath towels you have set out for your guests, you could also set out a basket of washcloths for daily face cleansing. As a woman, I absolutely DESTROY my washcloths when I wash my face. Making sure I get off all the eye-liner and mascara from my face, it inevitably ends up on the washcloth of course (mind you I don’t wear much, but it still manages to discolor my washcloths). So if you have any females visiting, take it from me, leave out some BLACK washcloths they can use to remove make-up and not feel self conscious about the stains they are sure to leave on your pretty guest washcloths.
Extra TP & Wipes
Yep, I’m going there.. make sure your guests can FIND the extra rolls of toilet paper when they need it. Nuff said.
Another thoughtful touch is to also have a pack of moist wipes available for that “ultra clean” feeling..
I actually sewed this cute wipe-cover from scrap material for my guest bath – I’m super proud of it…
Extra touches your guests will love
Ok, so far we have covered Sleeping and Primping and if you have done these items – you rock!
There are just a couple more things I have learned and want to recommend in addition.
A Sweet Coffee Bar
Let’s face it, most of us enjoy a warm cup of coffee or tea in the morning, but we aren’t always on the exact same schedules as our guests. Depending on if they are visiting from the East or the West they may be ahead or behind you in biological clock terms.
Having a nice coffee bar setup with the basics of coffee/tea making is a great way to allow your guests to help themselves to their morning cup of Jo.
For this purpose (and my own) I LOVE the Keurig.
Get the K55 model with the large water reservoir so you can fill it up with water at night, set the timer so it kicks on in the morning, and stock up on a nice variety of K-cups and your guests are all set for their morning!
If your not sure what to get, I like this handy variety box, your guests are sure to find something they will like, and it fun to try new flavors!
If you know your guests are heavy coffee drinkers, (which can get expensive in K-cups) you can also get the nifty reusable K-cup like this one, and let them pick out a bag of coffee grounds of their preference. Its also a more eco-friendly option as your not contributing extra waste with all the used K-cups .
Although! Most of the K-cups themselves are recyclable after you remove the used grounds and lid. The Kauai Coffee Co K-cups I drink are even compostable! Now if I could just get that compost bin started…. LOL.. I try!
PS – The Vanilla Macadamia Nut one is my FAVORITE… 🙂
This is my setup at home, I have this fun tiered coffee mug rack that fits 6 mugs of any size vertically (total space saver!). Which is totally great for my Disney mug collection as they are all different shapes and sizes. And my bamboo drawer organizer keeps my K-cups nice and neat no matter how hard I accidentally slam it shut – haha.
I love this “extra” because it takes NO money and hardly any effort. Yet, it can make the difference in your guests feeling comfortable and welcome as opposed to being a nuisance.
Often times we don’t even consider how different our “normal” can be from someone else’s. So take the extra step to let your guests know what your typical day looks like. Or better yet, make plans together!
Communicating routines is ESPECIALLY important if you have little ones on tight schedules.
Consider jotting down your little’s schedule (wake, eat & nap times) and posting it on the fridge.
This is REALLY helpful in the case of an emergency.
This actually came up just a couple weeks ago for us. We had my husband’s sister in town and one night I had to take my husband to the ER. He ended up having to have emergency surgery overnight. THANKFULLY I had already communicated little miss E’s schedule to his sister. So it was NO SWEAT leaving E in her care; knowing she already had the schedule and knew exactly what to do.
Enjoy this time together
To wrap this up I am going to leave you with one final thought.
Enjoy this time together with friends and family! Don’t get too caught up in making everything just right.
Your guests will love and appreciate any and all effort, so don’t sweat if you haven’t checked all the boxes.
Be present, order pizza, play games – enjoy each other’s company and relax!
I hope you enjoyed my tips and tricks for being an awesome host when it comes to overnight guests.
Having lots of close family living across the country has given me plenty of opportunities to make mistakes and learn the art of opening up my home to overnight guests.
And I’m still learning!