(warning – they might end up feeling so at home that they don’t want to leave!!!)
We have family from England coming to stay with us this month, and their visits always get me thinking about our guest room and how we can make it as comfortable as possible. I miss my overseas family and friends dearly, and so do everything I can to encourage repeat visits 🙂
For that very reason, we’ve had quite a lot of practice when it comes to setting up our guest room, and through some trial and error, have got a good system in place (although to be quite honest, simply having a dedicated guest room feels like quite the luxury to me!).
Here are my top tips for creating a warm and inviting retreat that’s guaranteed to feel like a home away from home.
Make the space look and smell amazing…
1. Clean, clean, clean. A day or two before our guests are due to arrive, we always make sure that the room is totally spick-and-span. Clean bedding goes without saying, but we also vacuum, dust, wipe down surfaces and open up the windows to let plenty of fresh air in.
2. Have fun with the décor, but also keep it practical. In my mind, the space should feel cozy and comfy, but not too cluttered, so that your guests have plenty of room for their belongings. A guest room is also the ideal place to experiment with a color or theme that you might not be brave enough to try in the rest of the house!
3. Add fresh cut flowers. I think that flowers are a must – they instantly brighten up a space – and bonus points if your blooms give off a beautiful scent too.
4. Think bright and light. I like to let in as much natural light as possible during the daytime, but for evenings, having a pair of nice lamps by the bed can give a cozy feel and also makes it easier to do a spot of bedtime reading.
Pamper your guests…
I try to remember all of the things that I appreciate most when I’m staying in someone else’s home, or even at a hotel or B&B… those thoughtful little extras that make the visit even more pleasant.
5. Make snacks readily available. I love to put out a basket filled with goodies for our guests to munch on. I typically include items such as fresh fruit, chips, granola bars, nuts etc.
6. Set up a coffee station. We always have a coffee machine ready to go, just in case our guests happen to wake up earlier than us and don’t want to go rummaging around in our kitchen. And as a bonus, they can look so cute! Just check out Pinterest for all the inspiration you could ever need.
7. Provide bathroom supplies. While a plentiful supply of clean, fluffy towels is essential, I also like to provide extra toiletries such as shampoo, conditioner, soap/body wash, toothpaste and a spare toothbrush. Hotel freebies or samples/travel size products are great for this.
Anticipate their needs…
8. Make space for luggage. If you have the room, then dedicated closet space (with plenty of hangers) is ideal. I also added a luggage rack to our guest room… not only does it look nice, but it makes packing/unpacking much easier too.
9. Provide the WiFi password. These days, most guests will be asking for this… having your password available and even on display will mean that they can get connected right away. (Bonus tip – we also make sure that at least a couple of outlets are easily accessible, so that nobody is having to crawl around furniture to plug in their phone!)
10. Set out extra bedding. It’s a good idea to leave a spare blanket within easy reach, just in case the room gets chilly. I also layer the bed with extra pillows so that it’s super plush and comfy.
Provide plenty of good reading material…
11. Create a mini library. We leave a stack of current magazines and a selection of classic books in the room in case our guests want to do a little bedtime reading.
12. Stock up on local travel guides and maps. We have a great collection of guides that we’ve picked up on our own travels, and have also founds lots of good stuff at local visitor centers.
All of this of course takes a fair bit of time and effort, but it’s a also process that I really enjoy – the notion of good ol’ Southern hospitality must be rubbing off on me!
For some additional inspiration, “The Art of the Visit” by Kathy Bertone is a fun read. Not only does she provide lots of wonderful tips on hosting, she also gives many helpful hints on how to be the perfect guest!
How do you prepare for hosting guests in your home? I’d love to hear your ideas.
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