When you’ve got an active social life, a huge family, or friends that are always popping around to see you whenever they can, you’re going to need your house to stand up to the test of the guest. Most people will love to be in your presence anyway, but there are ways to treat them to a stay to remember, one that is fun as much as it is comfortable. A good rule of thumb is to consider the kind of escape or retreat experience you'd like to have when visiting friends, and create that for them in your home. Use these tips as inspiration for guest friendly and welcome visitor hosting at your house!
"I'm a fan of creating the mood and vibe with flowers, candles, and music. I love making my guests feel like it's not formal and they can relax in my home."
- Karen Elson
1. BEAUTIFUL BEDDING
Make the spare bedroom feel not so spare by dressing it with the care of your own. Of course, take care to keep it the room in line with the rest of your home's decor style but with a calmer more considered approach to other's needs. Think lush hotel bedding, layered and soft, with several pillow and extra blanket options for every kind of sleeper. Classic white is a win as too is great quality sheets and the option of a silk pillowcase takes the luxe factor to the next level and won't go unnoticed. Too many decorative pillows, however, will become a chore for you and your guest so choose to add interest in the pattern and texture of the bedding layers instead, sticking to 1 or 2 main colours overall.
Don't forget some bedside lighting and storage, cute hangers in the wardrobe or a coat hook on the wall and some kind of luggage bench so they can unpack or organise their belongings with ease. And compliment any extra seating in the bedroom with a slim side table for drinks or reading complete with a basket and extra throw to snuggle with should they need it.
2. A THOUGHTFUL BATHROOM
Some thoughtfulness in the bathroom will go a long way to impressing your visiting guests, whether they are staying the night or not. The bathroom is a personal space and when you consider all the activities one requires a bathroom for and accommodate for maximum comfort in carrying out these activities, everyone will be grateful, especially to avoid potential awkward requests. Think extra toilet paper and soft toilet paper, tissues, band-aids and a mini emergency kit of hair bands, bobby pins, safety pins, cotton buds, cotton tips, hand lotion, sunscreen, and basic pain killers. I like to supply items from my beauty brand of choice such as cleanser, makeup wipes, moisturiser and a clay mask for the counter and shampoo, conditioner, body wash and a fresh loofah in the shower.
And finally, never scrimp on the towels - a luxe hand-towel and a spare; a few soft face washes come in very handy; a thick and absorbent bath mat; and several quality bath towels are a must. You can still imbue character in multiple ways through beautiful or fun patterns on towels and shower curtains, flowers, artwork, and right down to the scent of a candle, the hand-wash or the body wash you provide, but just like the rest of your home, keep it cohesive.
3. ACCOMMODATE FOR WORK & PLAY FOR LONGER STAYS
Whether in the actual guest room or not, allocate a quiet space in your home for your guests to work if they need to. Include a stand alone or pull down desk space, smart chair, pens, paper and access to a multi port power point. If you have what I would deem the dream guest 'wing' or suite in your home, you may decide to set up a dedicated office cum studio for your visitors to attend to business, stretch out on a yoga mat and perform their morning routine in peace and private. This would be especially useful if you are frequently hosting people or hosting guests for more than a night or two. It's less disruptive to yours and their normal daily method of operation and means you can all gather in the kitchen, lounge or dining room to celebrate, entertain and enjoy a meal together at the end of the day.
4. EASY ACCESS SNACKS ON HAND
If you've ever arrived anywhere after a long trip feeling tired and hungry you know the importance of feeding your guests upon their arrival to your home will be greatly appreciated. Keep it simple with finger foods and cheese platters, including healthier options such as vegetable sticks and hummus. Make them easy to eat too, as no-one wants overflowing vol-au-vents dripping all down their shirt, when it’s their first time in someone’s home! A chocolate on your visitors bed or box of chocolates and chilled champagne in their room can also level up the welcome and memorable moments made.
In the kitchen - or in your guests kitchenette if there is one - provide a basket or tray of snack options they can access whenever they feel peckish, or for popping in a bag for a day trip around your local area. Similarly, fresh fruit on hand and various drink options, perhaps displayed on a bar cart, ensure everyone has what they need to feel nourished and hydrated. Make mealtimes easy with some pre-prepared portions, frozen ingredients on standby just in case, or depending on the type of guest or reason for visiting opt for quick BBQ's and tacos for fun and friendly, or a catered meal or big family effort for a more formal occasion. Better still, book your favourite restaurant and enjoy a night out for yourself as much as your guests!
"That's what life is all about: Let's have a party. Let's have it tonight."
- Lilly Pulitzer
5. CREATE SPACE OUTSIDE
Our outdoor spaces are generally an extension of our homes and a great entertaining space, so it makes sense to give them the guest treatment too. Besides general garden maintenance, consider creating a cosy nook with pillows and throws for sunshine reading or set up a hammock for those absolute getaway vibes. Add to the chilled ambiance with a station of supplies like a water dispenser filled with lemon and mint, a few chic glasses, extra snacks, magazines and sunscreen.
If there’s no room inside to host guests then you might have to get creative and turn to the great outdoors for more than just play! With enough notice, home building kits can help you very easily set up a guest room or studio space in the backyard, and have it be just as functional as the rest of the house. Have your guests and have a functional spare room for later too!