Entertaining guests can be the most enjoyable and stressful part of being a homeowner.
But what if I told you there was a way to alleviate some of the pain and anguish that comes from guest preparation? As in, you don’t have to scrub your baseboards with a toothbrush. There is no need to garnish every table with freshly cut flowers. You don’t even need to splurge on life’s finer amenities—unless it is spending a bit more on a 3-ply toilet paper upgrade. That’s a priority.
There are really only a few details to pay attention to when it comes to entertaining guests. Here are a few ways to guarantee a good time for your guests.
What Guests Notice: Make a Grand Entry
A clean entryway is an obvious priority when it comes to hosting guests. Just like shooing them away when they try to help you clear off the dinner table.
Let’s start off the grand tour of what guests notice as soon as they enter your home. Whether you’re choice of greeting is to shake hands, hug or break out into a Bollywood song and dance, unless you make it super awkward, it’s pretty irrelevant. What’s important is after welcoming someone into your abode is what you should do afterward— especially if they’ve traveled a ways to get to where you are.
You should always offer to take their coat. And, if you don’t have anywhere to hang it, there’s a big issue. Your guests don’t want their belongings tossed aside or crumpled in a corner with other jackets. By offering them a nice space to neatly hang their belongings, they will feel welcome in return.
With that said, make sure to get rid of any clutter. Tables, especially in the entryway, are clutter magnets. When your guests enter your home, they will notice the old newspapers, envelops and crumpled up bills — even if they are stacked in a neat pile.
Creating an ideal entry goes beyond the visual aspects. We all love our furry, four-legged friends. Unfortunately, this also means your home smells like dog. Even if you don’t think it does, it probably does. Cat owners are not immune to this issue either. Especially if you are behind when it comes to cleaning out their litter box. At the least, make sure to light a candle prior to the guest’s arrival. Spray some Febreeze, especially on your sofa or your pet’s favorite furniture. Speaking of which, don’t skimp on the lint rolling. Don’t let the cat out of the bag about how much your pet rules your roost.
A mess can happen regardless of if your child walks on all fours or just two. While most people don’t expect a parent’s home to look child-free, consider making an area of the house designated for playtime. That way, the dumping out of toys and mess can be restricted to one area and not all over the house.
Most importantly, especially if your guests plan on staying for a few days, make sure to forewarn of any repairs that could potentially cause a hazard for your guest. That is, if the second step on your staircase is undependable half the time, warn your guest. Don’t make them enjoy the rest of their vacation with a sprained ankle. Or, tell them if a door knob is loose and falls from time-to-time. That way, if it does fall your guest won’t feel guilty assuming they broke your house.
What Guests Notice: Liven up the Living Room
First and foremost — clean your floors. Nothing is worse than a dirty floor. Not only does it suggest you didn’t prepare properly for the guest, but it also shows how you are okay with living in filth.
Granted, accidents happen. It’s a way of life. It’s more about the large, noticeable stains that say you chose the “slob life.” Make sure you vacuum before the guests come. Try to clean up or cover any large stains with appropriate carpet cleaner. Try being European and spend the week prior removing your shoes before entering your home. Or, ask your guests to do that for you to show how important clean floors are to you.
For furniture stains, consider investing in new cushions or coverings. Nobody wants a quizzical look, especially from your mother-in-law, wondering where and what this stain came from. If time is running out, consider flipping the cushion if plausible. Cover the stain with a blanket until you can figure out a solution.
And, while some might consider dim lights a plausible solution for avoiding guests getting the dirt on your dirty home details, this in itself could prove off-putting to guests. Nothing screams enjoyable conversation quite like having to squint through one. This can also be the opposite where too bright of lights can make your guest feel like they are in an interrogation room. Don’t blind them or make them uncomfortable.
What Guests Notice: Clear Out the Kitchen
Dirty countertop? This could make a house guest’s stay pretty crumby. As the place where the majority of the magic happens, it’s imperative the kitchen remains the tidiest room of the house.
It also might be the first room your guest seems after greeting you in the entryway. Especially if you’ve shown common, proper host etiquette and offered them a drink upon arrival.
That’s also why you need to pay extra attention to your refrigerator. Throw away any old leftovers. Make sure you haven’t adjusted to the week-old rotting fish tacos in your fridge. Keep a box of baking soda on hand. If time, take out as much food as possible and wipe down the interior of the fridge.
Walk across your kitchen floor barefoot prior to guest’s arrival. You need to make sure there isn’t any type of weird, sticky substance that could raise alarm. You want your guests to feel comfortable walking around in your home without shoes on. Make sure to use the appropriate cleaning product for your floor type.
Kitchen tables are the best make-shift home offices. Pick a temporary spot to sort through bills and paper. Once the guests are gone, you can move back any clutter to its original spot.
What Guests Notice: Throw in the Towel(s)
It’s inevitable your guest is going to, at some point, end up in your bathroom. Whether or not there’s a designated guest bathroom, you should have more than one prepared.
This is an area for dirty work, and often taken for granted. Try entering into the bathroom with a clean perspective. You don’t have to go crazy, but try noticing the basic amenities. Check basic resources such as the sink, toilet and that there’s toilet paper.
Use a bit of vinegar to quickly get rid of any lime or residue on your faucets. Leave it on your sink for about 2-3 minutes and wipe clean. These stains will be noticed by guests who aren’t going to feel any cleaner washing up using a dirty sink.
Put away any dirty towels. These are a hygienic nightmare and an eye sore to boot. Damp and dirty towels can create mold and wreak havoc on your overall health. Instead, wash all towels and put out fresh ones in accessible places. This is especially pertinent if your guests plan to stay for a few days.
While you’re at it, make sure to make some basic bathroom amenities, such as shampoo and soap present and available for your guests’ usage. Speaking of which: make sure all guests are given plenty of bathroom privacy. There’s nothing worse than feeling as if you’re space is invaded when trying to get changed or use the restroom.
What Guests Notice: Make Some Room
A guest bedroom doesn’t have to be pristine. In fact, experts say it’s a waste of time, money and resources to feel the need to buy all new linens to ensure your house guest feels comfortable.
While bedding needs to be clean, you shouldn’t be embarrassed by the way they look. Frumpy or not, even sheets tell a story about who we are. And, people actually find comfort in sheets someone has had for a while. Just make sure they are free of questionable stains and rips.
Pillows are imperative for a good night’s sleep. Your guest shouldn’t feel as if their sleeping on top of a bunch of flimsy cotton stuffed inside of a burlap sack. If they are losing shape, replace them. When in doubt, test them out. If you find them unbearable there’s a strong chance your guest will as well. Go easy with the softener and linen sprays just in case your guest is an allergy sufferer.
Clear out any clutter from the guestroom. Make sure there is enough closet space for comfortably hanging clothes. Leave a few empty hangers to give your guest the option to hang their nicer clothing. Clear out clutter from the various drawers in the room. It’s important to create a comfortable environment with a soft bed and space for storage.
What Guests Notice: Be your Own Guest
When it’s all said and done, the easiest way to figure out what your guests will pay attention to is to literally adapt their mindset.
Do a walk-through and recreate the scene from the perspective of your guest. This will vary depending on who you are expecting to walk through your front door. Your mother-in-law is going to provide a much different scenario than that of your best friend from college. Think long and hard about what you notice when you’ve been a guest at someone’s home. What stood out? What didn’t? Anything you’ve noticed about someone else’s home that grossed you out? What about any positive traits you could incorporate into your home?
Often, it is the little things that make a world of difference. For example, leaving an extra house key for guests who plan to stay for more than one evening. Providing a list of important details such as alarm codes, Wi-Fi passwords and a neighbor’s phone number for emergencies. Provide a power outlet for charging devices. Keep a well-stocked refrigerator of water and snacks.
What are the types of things you do to prepare your home for guests? Feel free to leave any interesting tips and tricks in the comment section below!