All of us who have had houseguests know that it can be a bit stressful preparing for their stay. We need to clean the house, wash their sheets, stock the fridge and plan meals that are a step above our typical fare. While there is definitely work to be done, you might consider adding a bit of play to the prep by creating a guest room that reflects your personality with tidbits placed specifically with your guests’ needs and comfort in mind. Take it up even another notch by adding a few frivolous surprises. Here are some ideas to make your guests feel especially welcome.
Build off the basics
A comfortable bed is key. Choose a quality mattress. Even if you don’t have company all that often, it is still a good investment. When your home is guest-free and family members are feeling under the weather, they can retreat to a private, comfy space and let their partner or sibling sleep undisturbed.
Soft bedding and a variety of blankets let guests adjust to their own comfortable temperature. Provide plenty of pillows so they can build their own head base. Consider allergen barrier pillows.
A guest room should feel welcoming but not overstuffed. While a large bed is nice, it shouldn’t compromise the floor space. No one wants to bang their shins on the bed frame trying to maneuver around the room. Tables with lamps should be placed on either side of the bed. If possible, place the bed so that electrical outlets for phones, iPads, or other tech pieces are easily accessible.
A comfortable chair with a throw is perfect for relaxing and enjoying a bit of downtime. A small dresser or armoire is all that is needed to let guests unpack and feel like they are settling in for a while. Although you might include a luggage stand should guests prefer to skip unpacking. Closets, if available, or bottom drawers are prime locations for extra pillows and blankets so that guests don’t have to seek you out and request them at bedtime.
Consider hanging photos of family gatherings or vacations with friends on the walls or place them on end tables. Your guests might be thrilled to spot themselves in a few of the framed photos found throughout their room.
The bedroom should have an alarm clock, paper pencils, and maybe a sewing kit and safety pins. A sound machine, or box fan, can help mask noise both inside and outside the home. A nightlight will provide just enough light to safely guide guests from their bedroom to the closest bathroom. A covered pitcher of water with glasses, or water bottles are easy touches.
It’s a good idea to have your guest bath stocked with a few essentials, in case they were overlooked when packing. Arrange personal care items in a basket or fun container. Including soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, conditioner, lotion, cotton swabs, disposable razors, bandages, and the like will be a relief for guests who don’t want to inconvenience you or run to the store themselves.
A box of tissues in plain sight and a stack of towels are always appropriate. Make sure there are extra rolls of toilet paper. And you can’t go wrong having a blow dryer handy.
If you plan to include a television, select a model that is easy to operate. If multiple remotes can’t be avoided, mark the important keys with bright fingernail polish, or type up a simple list of step-by-step instructions. Also, think about leaving a stack of books in a variety of genres for your guests to enjoy—and possibly take home with them. A full-length mirror is a great perk, especially if your guests are in town for a special occasion and they might want to check their look. And finding a luxurious robe in the closet will make your guests feel like they have arrived!
The extra mile
Make it personal by adding a few of your guests’ favorite things. Fresh flowers, a box of chocolates, a current issue of their favorite magazine, candles, salt scrubs, locally made food or wine—whatever you include will be an unexpected treat.
Having—or being—a guest is never totally easy. But these extra preparations will tell your guests they are welcome. Enjoy your company and don’t underestimate the power of a mint on their pillow.
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Article originally appeared in November 2023