Because we have moved around so much (thanks mainly to Connor's years in the army), we have really close friends scattered all over the country. I count myself blessed that some of them regularly visit us each year- in fact it's those treasured visits and phone calls that have helped us transition with each of our (nine) out of state moves. As such, it's extremely important to me that they know how grateful I am that they spend money and vacation time on us. Hospitality is something I love and am always striving to improve on, and with the holidays approaching, I've compiled some ideas for making your guests feel welcome and at home.
1. If nothing else happens besides a clean house and grocery shopping, I always try to make sure that I at least have clean towels set on their bed. Guests may feel awkward going through your linen closet, and it's nice if they don't have to ask.
2. I love the idea of a carafe filled with fresh water to greet guests (such as the vintage one above that I used in my in-laws bedroom). I have yet to implement this, but I normally try to set aside a bottle of water next to their towels.
3. My mother-in-law bought bathrobes for visitors that she keeps hanging in the guest closet. This touch makes guests feel like they are not just visiting friends, but on a mini get away.
4. I'm the first to use our guest room closets for storage and we even had a nursery/guest room in Indy (seen below) for those of you who cannot spare a bedroom for guests, but I try to make the room as decluttered and minimal as possible. It's hard to relax if there is nowhere to put your suitcase!
5. It's nice to have something home baked goodies in the house....it can be bread, granola, or paleo cookies if you want a healthier option.
6. I always try to consider diet restrictions of guests ahead of time- what do they typically eat at home? As someone who really appreciates when hosts serve a healthy option for dinner, I want to make that available to them. I also realize not everyone stays away from carbs. So, when I host dinner guests, I will often have a tortilla/bread option and a healthier option. I want everyone to enjoy themselves.
7. Fresh flowers in the house are always welcoming.
8. Another thing I try to put next to the towels and water bottles, is a small snack like a Kind bar, and a small gift like a bar of soap. Ive been known to raid Anthropologies clearance closet for soaps for guests.
9. I always keep an extra hair dryer in the guest room and shampoo/conditioner in the guest bathroom, just in case they were short on space in their suitcase.
10. A decent pillow goes a long way- throw out the ones you've had for twenty years, and get a cheap one at Costco or Ikea for $15. I guarantee you it's better.
11. Make sure there is a fan and blanket accessible.
12. The most important thing is to not be stressed. All of these ideas are nice, but if the host is so stressed about everything being perfect, guests will not feel at ease. People over perfection.
What are some of your favorite ways to make a guest feel at home?