10 tips for hosting overnight guests with half as much grace as my grandmothers

You may have already read my guest room tour from a couple of weeks back.  I included a peek into the room but promised a few hosting tips from my grandmothers with a decidedly modern twist, plus a couple of hostessing ideas from some other friends who always host guests with grace and ease!

I absolutely ADORE hosting people.  I love being able to have guests who can to stay up late and chat with no need to go back to a hotel room at the end of the night.  I love being able to have the early morning coffee conversations in our PJs.  I love having a chance to show my visitors how much I love them with a comfortable bed, a few good meals or snacks, and all the travel necessities.


Over the years I’ve gathered a couple simple techniques to make my home a bit more welcoming and comfortable for my visiting friends and family.

  1.  The drawer of minis.  Grammy always had a cabinet stocked with toiletries.  Should you forget anything from your dopp kit, you were covered! In the top drawer of our guest room nightstand I’ve included hair products, shower caps, razors, soap, chewing gum, oral hygiene supplies, feminine products, a hairdryer, and the ever useful baby wipes.  This is one of those little extras that (hopefully) helps to make our home comfortable for guests who may have forgotten the essentials.  This keeps your guests from having to ask or having to go out to purchase those items. Replenish the items after your guests depart to always be ready for your next visitors.img_2841-1
  2. Toilet paper. From a young age, my parents taught me how important it is to keep your bathroom stocked with adequate toilet paper.  No guest ever wants to have to come and ask you for those sorts of necessities.  I always try to keep the toilet paper well stocked (and visible) for guests in our guest bathroom. (I also try and keep a few feminine products in the cabinet near the toilet as well.)
  3. Linens. Try to have at least 2-3 days worth of guest room bath towels.  I’m a towel wrapper and a hair turban wearer, so adequate towels are super important to me. Also, you’re a grown up, GET SOME HAND TOWELS! It’s awful to visit a friend’s facilities and find they don’t have a hand towel. Being left to fend for yourself after washing your hands is frustrating! Or worse, thinking you’ve found the hand towel setup only to realize it’s your friend’s used and damp bath towel.  NO. Just no.
    To make sure bedsheets are fresh without second guessing yourself, simply make the beds when a guest departs. Don’t strip them and wash that day.  Then wash the sheets right before the arrival of new guests.  This keeps you from asking “wait, did I wash those already?” and will keep things from smelling stale.
  4. Sink supplies. I like make sure to keep a jar of cotton balls, one of cotton swabs, and a stocked soap dish on the bathroom vanity.
  5. Comfort measures. I keep a few spare throw blankets and extra pillows in our guest room.  Everyone sleeps differently, so it’s nice to have the ability to adjust accordingly.  My former boss, Lori, used to always have a fan in the guest room.  It allowed for air flow control and also doubled as a white noise machine.  I keep meaning to grab one for our guest room.
  6. Modern necessities. I stole this idea from my friend Hillary (I believe) who had a chalkboard with her WIFI network name and password in her guest room.  Ours is posted it in a little dollar store frame.  It’s one of those niceties that keeps friends from having to ask when they visit.  It also keeps you from having to search and write it down for the 29th time!img_2881-1
  7. The closet. For most people, a guest room closet is the overflow storage for the entire home (it’s our Christmas decor closet and also houses my wedding dress).  Take a quick look and make sure it’s relatively tidy and has a few spare hangers for your guests to use if they choose.
  8. Fresh flowers. Lori was the queen of flower arranging.  She always made a point to clip some fresh hydrangeas or arrange some flowers for a nightstand bouquet before guests arrived. I don’t always find the time to do this (plus I have an already crowded nightstand in our guest room) but I try!
  9. Planning. A little preparation when guests visit allows for a much more relaxed time. I’m guilty of over-planning when we have company. I can admit that.  But texting ahead a list of possible attractions or activities is a great way to gauge what sort of things your guests want to do while visiting.  They may want to see the sights or they may want to just hang at home and visit.  Planning and communicating with your guests manages everyone’s expectations for the visit.
  10. Relax. I promise that your house is not the messiest home anyone has ever seen.  I promise that providing a free, well planned, and hospitable place to stay is all your guests expect. (Maybe wipe down the toilet and change the sheets in their room- just don’t stress over cleaning!)  You may not have the budget or time to do any of the things on this list, but I promise you that if you’re a courteous host, then your guests will enjoy the time spent in your home.  The only thing I can say will definitely ruin your guest’s visit is a harried and stressed host! I’m placing this on the list as a way of reminding myself.  Take a deep breath and enjoy what is probably an overdue visit with old friends or family.  That is your most important job when hosting.

Join me next week as I talk about one of my favorite ways to show love to my guests through food.  I’ve learned that hosting overnighters doesn’t have to be expensive or demanding- IF you do a little advance planning. I’ll go into more detail in that post.

I’d love to hear your best hosting tips for overnight guests. Leave them in the comments!


One thought on “10 tips for hosting overnight guests with half as much grace as my grandmothers

  1. Love all of these! I need to remember to get a fan for my guest room too. So smart about it doubling as white noise!

    I can’t wait for your post about food ideas. Over the years, whenever a recipe becomes beloved in our house, I jot it on a little list I keep of “company go to meals” so when I’m thinking through my menu for the visit, I can consult that for things I know are easy and foolproof.

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