Today I'm continuing the series on Creating A Welcoming Home, and focusing (probably because it's on my mind!) on Welcoming Overnight Guests! There are several easy and inexpensive ideas that you can do yourself to ensure that when guests stay at your home you create a welcoming & pleasant place to visit!
First, your guests need a comfortable place to sleep! Whether you have a separate guest room, your guests may be using another family member's room, or they'll be sleeping on the pullout couch, make sure the "bed" is as comfortable as possible. Best way to check it out? Spend a night there yourself! You'll discover if that mattress eventually needs replacing, a room is drafty, or if the sofabed could use another layer of padding to feel more comfy. You'll also be able to see firsthand what other needs your guests might have--a lamp to read by at night, a table to place glasses and glass of water on, etc. Check it out beforehand, and you'll have happier guests!
Place freshly laundered sheets, a variety of pillows (fluffy, firmer, non-allergenic), and coverlet on the bed. Place an extra blanket or cover folded at the foot of the bed in case your guests get a little chilly. A little fan in the corner of the room in case your guests get warm. Take time to make it a clean, beautiful place to stay! Add some tissues and a single flower on the bedside table. An alarm clock that lights up with the touch of a button at night is great. Put a few recent magazines or a book or two that might be of interest to your guest in the room as well. A little carafe or tiny bottle of water on the nightstand (and maybe a little chocolate if you're feeling fancy!) may be greatly appreciated. A cute touch is a framed picture of you with your guest! They'll feel so special!!
Clear a little space for your guests' personal things. They would appreciate a few drawers or a bit of closet space to call their own for the visit. Put a ring dish or pretty tray or platter on the dresser to catch jewelry or little personals.
In the bathroom leave extra-fluffy towels, a clean, soft robe and a basket of extra toiletries. I have a basket filled with soaps, shampoo & conditioner, shower caps, plastic wrapped toothbrushes, disposable razors, lotions, q-tips, toothpaste, etc. These are all things I've gotten from hotel travels or buying razors in bulk, or the 5 extra toothbrushes the dentist gives, then supplimented with the travel/mini section from Target! Believe me, this basket gets a LOT of use--guests usually always forget something! :) Another tip is to place a little nightlight in the hallway and one in the bathroom in case guests need to make a "trip" during the night!
Keep the needs of your guests in mind when determining the AC/Heat setting for your home. Guests needs should take priority over your usual routine in this matter--it's just a couple days, right?! Older guests (and some younger ones!) are often chilly, and it may be physically uncomfortable for them to have a house too cool. "Just use a blanket" doesn't work too well at the dinner table, thanks! Or if your guests have seasonal allergies and are sneezing left and right, please close the windows and put the AC on--don't make your guests suffer! Trust me, I've been there, and it does NOT a welcoming visit make!! The more comfy your guests are, the better time everyone will have together! :)
Make mealtimes simple and enjoyable. Be sure to ask if there are any food allergies or special preferences. Simple meals are the best. They are obviously easy to prepare, and will leave more time for enjoying your company. For breakfast, try a breakfast casserole prepared the night before. Yogurt & berries with a nice slice of banana bread is another easy but oh-so-yummy light breakfast! Dinners like lasagna can be prepared ahead of time, frozen, then baked when company comes. Easy-peasy! My dad likes Diet Coke--a LOT!! :) I am sure to have some in the fridge when he comes for a visit. Let guests know where snacks are, and encourage them to feel free to help themselves to a snack & drink whenever they get the munchies!!
Well, that's about it for today! Remember, making guests feel welcome is really about thinking of their needs and having a fun time together! The decorating book "Charming Guest Rooms" says it well: "It's more about grace than space." So, give your guest and hug and say "Welcome--I'm so glad you're here!"!!