The holiday season is upon us, which means spending quality time with family and friends — possibly even overnight visits. If you’ve never hosted overnight guests in your home before, you may find yourself stressed about preparing for their arrival. Whether it’s your in-laws coming to visit for a weekend or friends spending a week in town, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you make guests feel right at home.
Clean the House
This may seem obvious, but there are particular cleaning measures you’ll want to take if you’re having a guest over for more than a day.
- Wipe down the microwave. Guests may want to heat up food, so make sure any old food stains inside the microwave are scrubbed away.
- Clean the stove burners. There’s nothing less appetizing than the smell of smoke when a guest is trying to cook eggs in the morning.
- Clean your front door. Depending on the time of year, your front door may have pollen, ice or just general dirt and grime clinging to it. The front door is the first part of your house your guests will really encounter, so make sure it looks as nice as the rest of your house does.
- If you have children or pets who are prone to being messy, you may need to touch up on cleaning common spaces like the living room or kitchen the day your guests arrive. Continue touching up throughout their stay as needed.
Stock the Fridge
Even if your guests plan to spend most of their time outside of your house, it’s common courtesy to have snacks and drinks available. Stock up on a variety of drinks, including water, soda and juice. Have coffee and tea available and in plain sight on a kitchen counter — and don’t forget sugar and creamer! For food, keep it simple — eggs and bagels for guests wanting breakfast, and light snacks like chips, nuts and fruit. Ask your guests if they have any allergies or dietary restrictions before they arrive so you can plan for appropriate snacks.
Prepare the Bedroom
The best way to make your guests feel at home is to have a well-prepared, cozy bedroom waiting for them. Here are some ways to prep your guest room:
- Give it a good cleaning, especially if you haven’t used the guest bedroom in a while. This includes removing any trash, dusting the tables or nightstands and providing clean linens.
- Stock the bed with extra pillows and blankets. It’s better to provide too much rather than too little; this way, guests can choose how much bedding to use without having to ask for extra.
- Double-check the light bulbs in any lamps. Guests shouldn’t be left in the dark, even if the bedroom has plenty of windows. If you’re not sure how old the light bulbs are, swap them out just in case.
- Write the Wi-Fi password down on a card and place it on the nightstand table. Your guest will appreciate not having to ask for it.
- Provide guests with their own towels, neatly folded on a chair or at the end of the bed. That way, there’s no question about which towels are theirs for their visit.
- If your guests are visiting from out of town, provide a handy list of sights, entertainment options and good restaurants in the area. Even if they have a rigid schedule to adhere to, they’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and insider tips on the city.
Prepare the Bathroom
The second most important room to prepare is the bathroom, especially if you have only the one that everyone will share. But even if you have a guest bathroom, you still need to get it ready:
- De-clutter the bathroom sink counter. Try to store items you won’t use to make sure the guests have ample room to store their toiletries.
- Clean the toilet, shower and the floor before your guest’s arrival. Don’t forget to wash any bathroom rugs!
- Provide extra toiletries in case your guests forgot to bring some. Good items to offer include shampoo, conditioner, soap, body wash and lotion. These can be travel-size and displayed in a basket to make it eye-catching. Extra toothpaste and a toothbrush can be stored in a cabinet or drawer.
- Stock up on toilet paper! Have a fresh roll installed and keep other rolls in a cabinet for use. Keep a plunger beside the toilet in case it’s needed.
Provide Instructions for Electronics
Whether you have cable TV or streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime, you should offer it to guests. Not all remote controls are very intuitive, and not all of your guests may be tech-savvy enough to navigate these devices on their own. To prevent frustration and anxiety, provide a list of available electronic entertainment as well as details on how to use and access it. Make sure to let your guests know that if they have any questions even after reading your instructions, that you’re happy to answer them. Or better yet, walk them through the steps.
Start your guests’ day off on the right foot with these tips:
- Keep the noise level to a minimum. You don’t want to fire up the vacuum cleaner, lawn mower or stereo first thing in the morning. Speak quietly to any other guests or individuals you live with to make sure you don’t disturb those still sleeping.
- Offer breakfast. If you’re cooking and your guest is due to wake up soon, make some extra food (allergies and dietary restrictions taken into account, of course). Some good home cooking will make them feel, well, at home! Even if they decline, you can save the leftovers just in case they change their mind, or enjoy them yourself the next day.
- Provide coffee or tea. Just like with breakfast, if your guests are awake or will most likely wake soon, make extra coffee and keep it warm for them. Or set out a kettle and a selection of teas they can choose from. If you’re rising much earlier than your guests, be sure to provide instructions on how to use any coffee makers.
While having guests over can be stressful, properly preparing your house is the best way to combat that anxiety and ensure everyone has a great time. Read over the list, create a game plan and enjoy the company!
Sarah graduated from Trinity University in 2012 with a degree in International Relations and Political Science. She writes blogs on new homes, decor, communities, and more for NewHomeSource. When she’s not writing, you can find her spending time with her three cats.