6 Ways To Make Your Guests Feel At Home
‘Tis the season to entertain, which means prepping your house to welcome guests in style. Here’s how to give every room a quick refresh, just in time for the holidays.
The best hosts and hostesses know a simple secret: Creating a memorable visit isn’t about being over-the-top fancy—it’s about making your guests feel comfortable in your home. And that means thinking ahead to anticipate their needs. Because when people’s needs are met—before they even notice they have those needs—they feel cared for, and important to you.
And is there really any better feeling than that?
Well, maybe one: Making someone else feel cared for and important to you. It’s easy to do that by spending a little time in each room thinking about how to make it as inviting and welcoming as possible, before your guests arrive. Here’s how:
1. Start at the Front Door
Your entry is your guests’ first experience with your home and your hospitality. So make sure it makes a good impression. Clear out the coat closet to provide space for guests’ gear; designate a spot (a basket or a rubber tray on the floor) for wet shoes or snowy boots; consider adding a bench or table for setting down bags and bundles.
2. Liven Up Living Spaces
Are your living and dining rooms up to holiday snuff? No need for a total redo, but while you’re decking the halls, consider adding new curtains (or laundering the ones you have so they look their best), layering in an eye-catching area rug, or swapping out your throw pillows for fun, seasonal styles—or soft and texture-rich styles you’ll love year-round.
3. Make Everything Warm and Cozy
Stock up on firewood and light some winter-spice scented candles for ambience and to clear the air. And give seating areas a mini-makeover, adding cushy pillows and plush throws to make them ultra-inviting.
4. Create Dreamy Guest Bedrooms
Help overnight guests feel like they’re at home away from home. Creating a beautiful and sleep-friendly bed is job number one. Consider adding a mattress topper if your mattress could use a little extra plush. Then, layer on your soft sheets and warm blankets and comforters. Make sure you have plenty of pillows, ideally in different sizes and fill-levels, so back- and side-sleepers will find their perfect match. Fold a throw at the foot of the bed for afternoon naps. And ensure that the room is adequately dark at night—you might want to add curtains with a blackout lining.
Final thoughtful touches: a carafe of water and a glass on the bedside table; a phone charger; a box of tissues; a bathrobe and slippers waiting in the closet; plenty of hangers; a bench to hold an overnight bag; good reading light; and a stack of bestselling paperbacks.
5. Give Guest Baths the Hotel Treatment
Copy your favorite boutique hotel when stocking your guest baths. Provide a stack of thick, soft towels: two bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths for each guest, plus a bath mat. Set a fragrant hand soap beside the sink, and leave shampoo, conditioner, and soap in the shower.
Consider filling a small basket with often-forgotten items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, and razors. And if your bath is looking a little tired, a new shower curtain is one of the fastest refreshers.
6. Keep the Kitchen Company-Ready
There’s no way around it: Guests love to congregate in the kitchen. So make sure yours is clean and clutter free. And why not give it a little holiday love as you decorate the rest of your house? Cheery dish towels and seasonal serving pieces can go a long way toward creating a look that’s in keeping with the holiday spirit throughout your home. A flickering candle in a yummy scent can make the kitchen extra inviting, even when you’re not baking up something delicious.
Also: Make sure guests know where to find essentials like drinking glasses, filtered water, and snacks, so they won’t have to ask you every time they need something. Speaking of snacks, it’s a smart idea to stock up on some entertaining extras, so you won’t find yourself short on crackers or cocktail napkins when you need them.
Stylist Tip: Finish your room-by-room hospitality update early, and you’ll get to enjoy the beautiful results yourself, before the hubbub of holiday entertaining even begins.