After years of living in a tiny apartment, where having houseguests was a hassle for all involved, I was elated when my man and I bought a house that had an extra bedroom — in the finished basement with its own private bathroom. Bring on the visitors! This past week, one of my dearest friends came to Seattle, and I strived to make her stay as pleasurable as possible.
Last night, after a delicious dinner, I found a guide to hostessing on Martha Stewart. Over leftover Halloween candy, I read the checklist off to my houseguest and we giggled at all the things I'd done — and at the things I hadn't.
Some of Martha's tips are a bit much — like a bow around a stack of fresh matching towels (which would require new matching towels, in my case) — but many of them are exactly what I did to make my friend feel welcome. Here are a few of my favorites, and make sure to click through to Martha for more.
• I put together a hotel-like basket stocked with tiny bottles of shampoo and conditioner, as well as a small sewing kit, a shower cap, and other niceties. Since I stay at hotels fairly often, I make a point of stashing away the goodies they provide for my future guests. I also put out a fancy chocolate and a bottle of water.
• I buy or cut fresh flowers from my garden and place them in a small vase on the bedside table. The arrangement is always simple and affordable, but adds such a lovely touch.
• A notecard jotted with important info like Internet username and password makes it easy for guests to get online.
• There's a tall stack of Seattle guidebooks by the bed and magazines throughout the house, which I encourage my guests to take to their room and enjoy at their leisure.
• Every morning, after everyone's up and about, I dry guests' towels and replace their washcloths with fresh ones.
Martha has plenty more great suggestions, from color-coded bath towels to a chilled carafe by the bedside. I'm not sure I'll ever be the consummate hostess, but I'd love for my guests to feel as welcome as Martha's, so I'll keep trying!
What are your best tips for houseguests?
Image: Martha Stewart