15 tips for hosting overnight guests

Hosting overnight guests? If so, you surely want them to feel at home in your home.

The most important thing your arriving guests need is simply to feel welcome, with a place to stay arranged and awaiting their arrival.

No elaborate floral arrangements required.

The following 15 tips will help you prepare for hosting overnight guests.

  1  provide overnight guests with a freshly made bed.

Seems obvious, right? 

But a guest bed fitted with clean sheets a month ago are going to smell a bit musty, even though they're clean. Take a moment to rewash the sheets a day or two before guests arrive so that everything is fresh and smells clean. 

Consider using only a fitted sheet topped by a comforter, especially if your guest has limited use of his hands (such as arthritis causes).

The comforter or duvet (a removable, washable comforter cover) replaces the bedspread and top sheet. As an added guest bonus it's a cinch to make - just fluff and go. 

  2  check on pillow preferences before overnight guests arrive.

Foam or down? When hosting overnight guests, ask their pillow preferences if possible, and have both options at the ready.

  3  place extra blankets in the guest bedroom.

On my father's occasional overnight visits, I got into the habit of equipping the room where I'd be hosting overnight guests with at least two extra throw blankets. He never again asked me whether I had the heat hooked up or if I felt cold.

  4  make room for guests to unpack.

Clear out a couple of drawers in the guest bedroom dress so that when hosting overnight guests, they can unpack and get rid of their suitcases.

  5  provide a bedside table and light so your guests can read before drifting off.

Provide your overnight guests with a bedside table and light so they can read before drifting off.

Make sure the table is close to the bed so this can actually happen. A good rule of thumb: The base of the shade should be at shoulder level while sitting up in bed.

No bedside table handy? A spare chair will do in a pinch. Just set a light on it, and your guest can hang her necklaces or robe on the back.

  6  over-deliver on tissues.

Allergies, colds, whatever the cause, make sure you have the solution.

  7  provide a water carafe or individual water bottles in the guest room.

Travel is inherently dehydrating.

Provide your guests with a bedside water carafe or individual water bottles.

That way, you won't have guests unfamiliar with your home fumbling about at night in search of water.

  8  provide a closet area for overnight guests to hang clothes.

Make room in a closet for your overnight guests to hang their clothes. Filled to the brim? Relocate some stuff for the weekend or week so that your guests can have things the way they like them.

Stock the closet with hangers - the plastic ones you see at home stores are a great option. Thin wire hangers from the dry cleaners crease pants and dresses and simply aren't adequate.

  9  GIve guests room to spread out.

Make sure the guest bedroom has room for your visitors' luggage. Clear floors and shelves of your stuff to make room for theirs.

  10  be sure the guest bedroom has a trash can.

This is basic, sure, but it's too often overlooked. No one likes others to see their personal trash. (And while you're at it, make sure there's a trash can in the guest bathroom, too.)

  11  provide a chair in the guestroom for relaxing.

A comfy place to sit invites relaxing. And that's what the visit is all about, right?

  12  make sure the guest room window coverings are compatible with quality sleep.

Install window treatments that provide privacy and light control for quality (and quantity!) sleep.

I have one relative at whose home I seldom stay nights because I can never sleep past dawn. The sheer floral curtains allow the sunrise into the room long before I would if I had my druthers.

One easy and inexpensive solution for keeping the guest room dreamy dark is to install blackout curtains.

You can install these just behind your current curtains by adding a second curtain rod behind the first and then hanging the blackout curtains, or you can use them to replace your current window coverings.

  13  prepare an extra set of house keys for guests.

Have a few extra sets made in advance, and code them by having each set printed in a different color. Add car keys to the sets of those who might be driving while visiting. Keep a computer or written record of who has what color key set, and mark off when the sets are returned.

  14  write out instructions for arming and disarming your home security system.

Have a home security alarm? When hosting overnight guests, tell them about when it is on and when it is off and how they can tell on their own. Provide written instructions if your guest will be turning the system on and off, and if there is a gate code or other security measures they'll need to know about in your home or neighborhood.

  15  leave a (night) night on.

A small night light is essential for your overnight guests, because they're not accustomed to the layout of the room or your home.

It's helpful to put in a few plug-in nightlights, such as en route to the bathroom, but you could also give your guests flashlights.

Finally, clear a corner spot to plop luggage down in case your guest is the type who actually likes living out of a suitcase instead of enjoying all your cozy preparations.

At least you tried, right?

› Hosting Overnight Guests


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