There’s nothing quite as warm and meaningful as opening up your home and welcoming a guest to stay a while. Whether it’s an overnight or an extended vacation, take the time to create a truly comfortable space for your houseguests, and you’ll both have a happier experience.

  • Clean up! It should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how much we relax our standards when we’re cleaning and organizing just for ourselves. We often joke that if it weren’t for occasional houseguests, our home would never be clean. Of course, that’s an exaggeration (sort of)… When preparing for guests, at the minimum, be sure the guest room is vacuumed and dusted. Clean the mirrors. (While you’re at it, clean the bathroom, too!)
  • Make the bed. Take off the old sheets and replace with freshly washed sheets – the lingering scent of fabric softener or detergent sends a subtle message to guests that care has been taken. Be sure to plump up the pillows and even turn down the coverlet or bedspread – the idea is to create a bed that looks inviting and relaxing.
  • Make some space. If you’re lucky enough to have a dedicated guest bedroom, good for you! (We bet you store some of your off-season clothes and things in the closet, right?) If you’re devoting an existing bedroom or corner of your den or home office, that’s OK – you can still create a welcoming and comfortable spot. Be sure to clear out a couple of drawers and part of the closet (leave some empty hangers!)
  • Details for convenience. Take a few lessons from the best hotels you’ve visited. A basket of toiletries such as sample size toothpaste, a fresh toothbrush, hand lotion, tissues, etc., is a thoughtful touch. Place fresh towels and an extra blanket in plain view. Make sure there’s an alarm clock and, if there’s a TV in the room, consider jotting down any special instructions on how the remote works.
  • Special touches. A reading lamp, plus a couple of magazines or books are a nicetouch. Perhaps a bedside carafe with fresh water, or simply a clean glass. Fresh flowers are nice (as long as your guest doesn’t have allergies… a big mistake we once learned the hard way!). What the heck, why not go all out and add a nice chocolate on the pillow?

The bottom line is – think about the convenience items and special touches that would make you feel comfortable when you’re away from home. Think from the point of view of your guest, and go just a bit above and beyond the basics. Your guests will feel more comfortable, and you’ll get a reputation as a hospitable and thoughtful host!