6 Sure-Fire Ways to Make Overnight Guests Feel at Home

published Jul 25, 2014
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(Image credit: Kathryn Bacalis)

When we moved from Atlanta to Tallahassee, we were glad to discover that our new location was an ideal spot for friends from Georgia to come over for a little getaway. With some of the country’s top beaches just a couple of hours away from us, friends love to come and visit for a few days of catching up and catching some sun and surf. Here are a few ways I’ve found to make everyone feel welcome and comfortable.

  • Have sleeping arrangements ready before guests arrive. When guests see you shuffling bedding around, it probably makes them feel a bit inconvenient. Make sure guest beds have fresh sheets and that any additional bedding (portable cribs for babies, air mattresses, or sleeping mats) is set up before guests arrive. For tips on hosting guests in a small space, don’t miss Small Space Hosting: Tips for Welcoming Guests When You Don’t Have a Guest Room.
  • Provide the necessities. A set of towels for each person and toiletries nicely set out prevents guests from having to ask you for them. I save personal items from hotels and keep them in a lined basket that I pull out and place in the guest room or bathroom. Make sure toilet paper is well-stocked as well. You certainly don’t want your guests to have to ask for more of that.
  • Provide some extras. Little touches elevate the mood from “we’re ready for you” to “we’re so happy you’re here.” Put some flowers in a vase, and set out a water carafe. Provide books or magazines for reading material, and turn on a little lamp for when guests enter their room. I also love to turn on a battery operated candle in the bathroom. Consider the weather and provide extra blankets and slippers if necessary.
  • Plan ahead with food. Of course, you’ll need to shop and plan for the extra people you’ll be hosting. Make sure to ask ahead of time about any food allergies or aversions so you can be prepared in a way that’s tailored to your guests. Also see how many coffee drinkers will be staying with you. As a coffee lover myself, I love knowing ahead of time that my hosts will have hot coffee in the mornings (and maybe afternoons!). Make-ahead casseroles are great because you can just pop them in the oven in the morning and they are almost a complete meal. This overnight blueberry French toast is easy to make and definitely memorable. Also check out 10 Delicious Breakfast Casseroles and this Make-Ahead Brunch Recipe. Leaving a basket of fruit and cereal bars out also gives guests easy access to snacks without them feeling invasive.
  • Include them. Some of the best conversations happen during meal prep, at least in my experience. Make guests feel at home by asking them to wash some lettuce or chop some veggies. They’ll probably ask how they can help anyway, and bringing them into your routine will make them feel like they’re contributing to the household — and you really probably could use the help.
  • Think beyond their stay with you. Consider how you can help make the rest of your guests’ trip a little more comfortable, even if it’s just a car ride back home. Offer access to your washer and dryer so they can go home with clean clothes, and pack some snacks and treats for the road.

What are some ways you make your guests feel truly welcome?