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Home Away from Home

How to Make Your Space Inviting for Overnight Guests

Having guests in your home, whether it’s for a weekend or an extended stay, can cause a bit of stress if you’re not accustomed to being a host. Even if you regularly entertain overnight company, it can feel like a lot of work to get everything ready and to ensure they have a wonderful visit. Use this checklist to make sure your travelers’ stay is filled with comfort and joy!

The Guest Room

A comfortable place to store their belongings and lay their heads is key, but the guest room will also serve as a getaway when your visitors need some downtime.

  • Plenty of pillows

  • Extra blankets

  • Reading lamp

  • Phone charging station

  • Trash can

  • Tissue box

  • Over-the-door hooks (no one likes a wet towel on the bed!)

  • Ideally, space in the closet and a small chest of drawers

The Guest Bathroom

  • Extra towels, including washcloths

  • Toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, soap, cotton swabs … put them in a cute basket just in case they forgot anything

  • Hand soap and extra toilet paper (easy to overlook, but so annoying if it’s forgotten)

  • Robes for each guest, if you have the means

If you only have one bathroom, having a separate set of towels just for guests and extra hooks to hold them will make your visitors feel like they’re not putting you out.

In the Kitchen

Before your guests arrive, be sure you question them about any dietary needs they may have. A lactose-intolerant guest, or relatives with a super-picky kiddo, will appreciate you being prepared for them.

  • Show them around. Make sure they know where glasses, coffee mugs, and cutlery live in case they’re up and about when you are not.

  • Coffee. Even if you’re not a coffee person, so many people are these days that it’s a good idea to make sure your guests can fix their own. Find out what kind they prefer and try to have it on hand — it’s the first step to making every day start off well!

  • Make it easy on yourself. Prep a breakfast casserole that can just be warmed up the next day. Get a box of bagels and shmears. Plan easy meals like burgers or pasta that won’t keep you in the kitchen and away from your guests too long.

  • Stock up on snacks. Especially if there’s a kiddo involved, knowing what their go-to snacks are and putting them in an easily accessible place will be a plus for everyone. Check with the parents beforehand, then fill a basket or bowl with snacks they can easily get to.

Host Tip: Put your guests to work! When you’re preparing a meal, assign them helpful jobs like chopping vegetables or setting the table. Clean up is also a great time to let them contribute. And make sure they know where the leftovers are stored!

Around the House

It’s important to remember that your guests don’t know your routine, your habits, or your wifi password.

  • Declutter. This probably should be higher up on the list, but it’s also a gimme: When visitors are coming to stay, tidy up beforehand. Put away the laundry, recycle the old magazines, and make Junior put his toys and homework in his room.

  • Frame it. Putting your wifi password in a pretty picture frame and propping it in an easy-to-find location is not only cute, it’s also useful.

  • Keep it clean. Make sure that you walk through the house each day and just take a look with a critical eye. Wipe down sinks — especially bathroom sinks! — give the kitchen and other tiled or wood-floored areas a quick sweep, and keep the vacuum handy. Staying on top of messes when you have extra people in the house is beneficial to them and to you.

When You’re Not There

If there will be times when your guests are at your home but you’re not, these tips will help them feel more comfortable in your space.

  • Demystify your tech. Have you ever been left alone in someone’s living room and tried to turn the TV on? It can be so frustrating! If you have a complicated setup, type out some instructions. At the least, label the remotes.

  • Keys and alarms. Don’t forget to give them alarm codes! Having an extra set of keys so visitors can come and go is also key, especially if they have other friends in the area they’ll want to visit or you’re working while they’re there.

At the end of the day, you want your guests to feel welcome and comfortable, and you want to feel relaxed enough to actually enjoy their visit! If things aren't perfect, don’t stress — focus on having a good time, and your guests will too.

No guest room? Try these tips.

  • A daybed or futon is going to be comfier than a couch.

  • Or try a quality air mattress. Don’t skimp here!

  • Use a folding screen to provide some privacy.

  • Make a place for luggage to be stowed.

  • Be sure to clear some room in the bathroom, too.

  • Have a reading light near the place they’ll sleep.

  • Make it easy for them to plug in.

  • Provide an area for them to put away clothes, if you have room.

  • Be considerate of their schedule, without compromising yours!


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