Are we ever really ready for house guests? We are currently making a lot of changes in our home and all the rooms in our house are in flux. We are calling it the “7 Year Itch” and no room is safe from our remodeling and make-over-ing.
As such, when my in-laws called and asked if they could stay for a night or two, I went into panic mode. Our “guest” bedroom, if it could be called that right now, had only a mattress and box springs and a rocking chair. No sheets, no comforts, nothing. Oh, and the closet was full of random bits and bobs from other rooms in the house. The room was not exactly what I would call a hospitality suite.
I took a deep breath and started to work through what I thought of as a major problem, and as I worked I realized that there were only a few things that my guests really “need.” As I got their room together, I started to feel better about the prospect of their visit. And when they got here, they ooh-ed and ahh-ed over how nice the room was. In reality it was as simple as a room can get, but it had the simple necessities that make one feel at home. I thought I would share with you the basics for our guest room with you, so you, too, could feel the relief of simple hospitality the next time you get the call from a friend or family member looking for a place to stay.
Here is my list of the basics for simple hospitality:
The number one, most important thing when I am sleeping or staying anywhere, is good linens. I love a soft, not scratchy set of sheets and a great set of fluffy (but not too fluffy) clean towels. We have had really good results with Calvin Klein sheets in our home (they are great quality and last forever). They also are cool when you first get into bed (an important feature when you live in the desert). We bought ours at Macy’s on clearance about 8 or 9 years ago and we are still using them! And for towels, my husband and I have one specific rule – pick a soft towel with a little bit of rough to it. If you simply pick a soft towel, it will feel like you are drying yourself off with lambswool. And NO ONE likes a rough towel. This is a pretty subjective tip, but if you go to the store (any store) you will see what I mean by simply grabbing a selection of towels.
Of course you want to make sure that the sheets and towels you offer your guests are clean and smell fresh. There is nothing worse than linens that smell mildew-y. There are some simple solutions to get rid of that mildew smell. Anna wrote her solution here.
An assortment of pillows
I am all about comfort, especially when I am traveling. And one way that you can make your home more welcoming than a hotel is to offer an assortment of pillows to your guests. Having a soft pillow (a down or down alternative) and a firmer pillow available for each of your guests gives them the options they need to get the best night’s sleep possible. If you don’t have a bunch of pillows to choose from, you might want to ask your guests before they arrive what kind of pillow they prefer. Providing one of the small comforts of home will ensure they feel comfortable in your home while they are staying with you.
A Clean Space
Obviously, when you have house guests on their way, you will want to make sure to clean your home and provide a clean space for them to rest. Make sure to reduce allergens in the room, by cleaning any ceiling fans, wiping down baseboards, and cleaning pillows. But you may also want to make sure to leave space for your guests to “move in.” If possible, vacate a bathroom for the time they are there, to give them the privacy that they desire. And try to clear some space in the closet for hanging clothes and storing shoes.
Even though we weren’t able to get the room fixed just the way we envision it, we were able to add two bedside tables (of a sort) so that our guests could have an alarm clock and space for books and glasses at hand. We also placed a chair in the room so they could relax or have a place to lay clothes or a piece of luggage. It does not take a lot to warm a room enough for guests – the basics and a clean space.
A Generous Welcome
The biggest thing that will make your guests feeling at home, is the welcome. As we had our family visiting (our girls’ grandparents), we took the morning before they arrived to work on a banner to welcome them to their room. It doesn’t take much to let your guests know that you have put thought into their welcome. Other small things we did in preparation for their arrival included having K-cups on hand (instead of the refillable ones we usually use) for their morning coffee and nice smelling hand soap in their bathroom. The small things are what make your guests realize you are excited to have them in your your home.
After I got these things ready in the guest room, I felt the stress of having overnight guests slip away! I was able to provide my guests with comfort and have a great time with them, knowing they would get a good night’s rest under our roof.
Do you panic when you have guests coming over? What do you do to get ready?