Yall, I love to entertain. It gives me great joy to have people over, cook them a meal, and make sure they are comfortable in our home.
When Zack and I lived in Nashville, we would have friends and family over often–for dinner, parties, or just to hang out. It was always a joy of ours to be able to grow these relationships while opening up our home to our guests. Since moving to Florida, we don’t entertain as much as we used to. However, we live in Florida! We barely have a month where we don’t have house guests of some sort, and I love it! It is almost like my love for entertaining is magnified because now I get to really create an atmosphere of peace, relaxation, and comfortability for our friends and families who come to visit. We use the phrase that Zack’s grandparents always said to us, “Use us as a hotel!” We truly mean that! I am this close || to making comment cards. As Zack would say, “the Monica is strong within her.”
Now, I am not to the comment cards yet, but I have learned so much over the years from countless women in my life–my mom, mother-in-law, sisters, grandmothers, cousins and aunts about how to really be a dedicated and well-rounded hostess. I am not even close to perfect, but I am excited to share my top tips for making a guest feel comfortable in your home!
Decorating doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive! (My post about 25 farmhouse decorations under $25 is a perfect example of thrifty decor!) However, I highly believe that the first thing any guest will notice is how you have decorated. Hang some art or signs on the walls, put some frames or plants on your side tables and dressers. Clocks are an excellent and useful decor. Throw pillows and blankets add color and comfort. Make it comfortable and simple, but do something!
Fresh Bedding + Linens
Is your comforter clean? Do you have a pet that likes to sit on the comforter and shed fur? (Guilty!) How about your sheets and towels? Make sure they look and smell clean. This also doesn’t have to be expensive! If you have a cruddy set of linens and want to upgrade, head over to Walmart or Target! Get some affordable linens and take care of them! They aren’t used as often, but you want to make sure to clean and store them properly so they last a long time. I would say dirty sheets and linens are the biggest turn-off when it comes to being comfortable staying in someone else’s home, so make sure that if you do nothing else, take care of the cleanliness!
Fresh flowers are an easy addition that adds an extra pop of joy to a room. Fresh flowers show your guest that you’ve been thinking and preparing for them. If can’t get out to grab a fresh plant or bouquet, consider moving a succulent or faux plant into your guest room. Greenery has a way of really making people feel calm and happy.
Now, I know you obviously cannot change dimensions of a room (without a sledgehammer and thousands of dollars). However, consider keeping space available in the dresser and closet (with ready available hangers) for your guests to utilize. For guests who are only staying a night or two and do not want to fully unpack, I really enjoy luggage racks or benches that can suffice as a luggage rack. That brings their suitcase up high and off the floor. It is convenient for a suitcase while your guest rummages through their items without them having to bend down to the floor and lose walking space.
Also, don’t clutter the side tables with too many things. Having space for a guest to place their personal items within arm’s reach of the bed is a really nice bonus that we don’t really think about.
You know how you go to a hotel and forget your razor or contact case? You call down to the receptionist and they send you the toiletries you mistakenly forgot? Yeah, it’s super convenient, isn’t it?! It is so easy to forget items while packing for a trip. You can’t always help when someone forgets a pair of shoes or pants, but when it comes to basic essentials, you have the ability to be prepared. I also keep these items in the guest bathroom/closet. It is nice to keep these in a guest area so they feel completely comfortable to grab whatever they need.
You never know what little thing would help or make someone’s moment easier, so I always keep my guest bathroom stocked with these extra items just in case:
- toothbrushes + toothpaste
- feminine products
- body wash
- bars of soap
- body spray
- air freshener
- contact cases
- shower cap
- cotton balls
- hand soap
- toilet paper
- first aid kit
You just never know what someone will need, so make sure you have some basic essential items on hand for your guest!
I am not going to say that a welcome basket or tray with goodies is a necessity because I know it can be just another thing on top of everything else you’re already doing for your guests. However, I think this one is 1) the most fun to do and 2) it really makes snacks and drinks accessible for your guests. Typically with my welcome baskets, I will put a variety of items, so even if I don’t know a guests’ favorite snacks, I am likely to hit something they like. This basket below includes a handwritten note, several bottles of water, some sort of nuts or trailmix, popcorn, granola bars, honey buns, oatmeal pies, Starbucks instant coffees, and two individually wrapped flavored coffees (they can use here or take with them).
The welcome basket benefits are two-fold.
- A welcome basket is a visible sign that you were thinking specifically of your guest.
- No matter how many times you tell your guest to make themselves at home, sometimes people get nervous or uncomfortable to walk into your kitchen and grab a snack.
This doesn’t have to be big or even cost any money. Here are a few of my favorite ways to personalize your room for your guest:
- A handwritten note can take 30 seconds and cost 10 cents. I get 8-10 packs of cards from the Target dollar bin for $1! This is the most simple way to personalize!
- I do know some people who will get embroidered trinkets or clothing for their guests, but I, personally, think it should depend on the event.
- A friend of my, Elizabeth from Within the Grove, posted once on her blog about how she loves to have a rotating picture frame. She will change out the pictures to photo memory of her family with their guest(s). I think that is so special! Definitely in my goals category for hostessing!
- I love this message board that I can easily change depending on who comes to visit! So simple!
Whatever you choose to do, let your guest know that you were thinking about them specifically–it makes them feel appreciated and not like “just another house guest.”
As the years progress, I am realizing how much greater this category is becoming in the etiquette list. I only have two tips for technology!
- If you have a Wifi code, post it! You can frame a printout, get a chalkboard, write it on a notepad next to the bed, or put it in your welcome card. Either way, make it known–especially if you have a complicated code! Some people need a good visual.
- Make sure you have an outlet near the bed/side table. If your outlet isn’t accessible, make sure you have an extension cord available. A charging station or a power strip is also a great way to add convenience to your guests.
I highly recommend bedside lamps. Especially if you have older guests, you really want to make sure you have some sort of lighting that they can turn on and off within reach of the bed. You don’t want any stubbed toes or bruised shins in the middle of the night! Again, this doesn’t have to be expensive, and it can even add to your appealing decor.
Whether it be a laundry basket or dirty clothes hamper, have somewhere for people to put their dirty clothes! Not only does this make a designated area for your guests’ dirty laundry, but it helps to make sure they keep the floor clean and clear. If your guest is doing laundry, it is a nice amenity to let them carry a basket to your washer without having to carry all of the dirty clothes in their arms. Check out my friend, Elizabeth’s, guest room makeover. I love that she used an inexpensive hamper that can be not only functional but also as appealing decor.
Bonus: Guest Bathroom!
Okay, I threw in a bonus–Guest Bathroom! If you have a guest bathroom, it is as equally as important for this room to also follow many of the same rules as the bedroom–appealing decor, cleanliness, functionality, lighting, technology (working outlets), space, and extra essentials on hand. The bathroom and bedroom go hand and hand and generally are the only two spaces that your guest(s) will get that is entirely their own for the duration of their time with you–make it count!
No matter if your guest is staying for one night or seven, being mindful of these tips will really enhance their stay in your home! Happy hosting!