For many years, my husband and I never had overnight guests, and I mean never. Living in New York City meant that we had no extra bedrooms to offer up for out-of-towners. Now that we live in North Carolina, we often have guests. And while hosting overnight guests may seem like a daunting charge, it can also be a great opportunity to further bond with family and friends. After all, these people have taken time out of their busy schedules to travel to your home to spend time with you! We might as well make it worth their while!
My parents were always very thoughtful when it came to guests in general so some of the things that I do for my overnight guests come naturally to me. Below are 5 things I do to make our visitors feel extra welcome.
1. Create a space your guests want to stay in.
Even if you can’t hire an interior designer to design your guest bedroom, provide your guests with the best possible accommodations you can afford. Treat your guest bedroom like you would any other room in your home. If you’re on a tight budget, don’t splurge on an expensive bed. Instead opt for a nice upholstered headboard, a bed skirt, and a bench or chair. Divert most of your budget to getting a comfortable mattress, fluffy pillows, and high thread count bed sheets. And of course make sure the room is as tidy as can be! For an extra special touch, add a vase with fresh flowers.
2. Put out fresh linens every time.
One of my favorite things about staying at a hotel is the fresh linens/towels. After overnight guests leave our home, I strip the bed of everything, including the mattress pad and throw them in the washing machine. I replace the used hand towel with a new one and I stash clean towels, washcloths and alternate bed sheets in the linen closet. If you don’t have a linen closet in your guest room, leave a stack of fresh towels and washcloths in a visible place in the bedroom. To add an extra special touch, provide a terrycloth robe for your guest.
3. Invest in an extra iron and ironing board.
I learned this from watching one of our guests using their own iron. Although we of course have an iron and an ironing board in the house, the truth of the matter is that guests hate to bug their hosts with multiple requests. Now we have two irons and two ironing boards (we keep one set in the guest room) because after all carry-on luggages aren’t big enough to prevent your clothes from wrinkling.
4. Think ahead of toiletries that guests may forget.
I have a basket for my guests that I stuff with things that I myself at times forget when packing (and I am actually a pretty good packer). This basket has things like body lotion, body spray, deodorant, and extra toothbrushes. If your guests have children, put out kid size toothbrushes as well. When your guests see the basket, they will know you took out the time to think of them. Side note: I use to place all of these products inside of the guest bathroom vanity but then I realized that most of my guests failed to look in there. By exposing the basket, my guests understand that I prepared it especially for them.
5. Provide at least one meal for your guests.
From my experience, there is nothing that makes guests feel more welcome than getting a home cooked meal. As stressful as this may sound, it doesn’t have to be. In my home, we pretty much make all of our guests at least one meal per day and that meal usually ends up being breakfast. I am great at making French toast and my husband is really great at making pancakes so those are our staples. If you don’t enjoying cooking, you can make or purchase a simple fruit salad, provide some yogurt, muffins, bagels and hard-boiled eggs for your guests. Disclaimer: Before you provide food, be sure to ask your guests if they have any allergies or things they do not eat. For instance, one of my very good friends only eats turkey bacon so I make sure to pick that up when I know she is coming into town.
In our home, we set the table family style. We put everything we’ve cooked in platters or bowls with serving utensils so that our guests can decide for themselves what they want and how much they want. We use carafes with chalkboard labels to provide multiple beverage options too. Consequently, this time around the table becomes a good opportunity to connect with our guests, catch up or plan our activities for the day.
It’s the little things that touch people. Whether you leave a water bottle by the bed because you know your mother-in-law has to take her medication or you pick up some Splenda because your best friend doesn’t eat sugar, people like to feel cared about. Don’t we all want to be treated this way when we stay with family and friends?
What do you do to make your overnight guests feel welcome? Please do share in the comments section of the blog!
Written by Karina Jones
– Superior Interiors by Karina Jones