How To: Make Guests Feel Welcome

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Many of us are either visiting or hosting family or friends this weekend. It usually means shuffling bedrooms around, unfolding sleeper couches, looking for that extra comforter and madly cleaning the bathroom. How do you make people feel at home and... even special when they visit? Click after the jump for our suggestions and some things we love when people do them for us...

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When we have guests over, we like to make them feel special, rather than someone we're "making room for" (believe me, we've felt like that so we know what it means). Its our chance to fluff up the bed as invitingly as we can, dust, and make the spare bedroom look more, er, spare. Here are ten things we like to do for visitors who stay over:

  • Have a glass or carafe of water near the bed.

  • Stack back issues of favorite magazines on the bedside table or a book you think they'd like.

  • Set out a clean fluffy bathrobe if you have one to spare! Especially if its chilly.

  • Empty out a drawer or two, leave some empty hooks and some space in the closet. Make lots of room in a closet that might be stuffed with off-season clothes so that guests don't have to drape their things on the back of chairs.

  • Put a clock somewhere in the room so that they know what time it is when they wake up. This is especially useful for guests crossing time zones.

  • Try to make the bed before your guests arrive if possible. It can be awkward to stand around and watch your host clear a spot for you or put the sheets on once its time for bed. This isn't always possible if you're using a pullout sofa, but at least try and have the bottom sheet already put on the mattress. Nobody wants to look at the condition of that thin pullout mattress as you unfold the couch.

  • Have lots of extra blankets, especially if you keep the house cold at night.

  • Have the hair dryer handy in the bathroom, or tell your guests where it is so they don't have to ask.

  • Find out how they like their coffee, or what they like for breakfast.

  • Put out fresh flowers in their room if you can. Its probably one of the best ways to say "we're really glad you're here".


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    When we stay at our sister Katies home, one of her kids usually draws a fun picture or writes a "Welcome" sign on the door. What about you AT Readers? What do you do to make your guests feel at home, or what have your hosts done in the past that made your stay special?