Things to Do to Make Guests Feel Welcome in Your Home
Not to brag or anything, but I’d totally be a guest in my own home.
After years of being single and going away for many weekends, traveling, and hosting my own guests, I’ve got this down to a science. I’ve spent years surveying guest rooms and preparing them, thinking,
if I were a guest, what would I want to have in here?
Ask yourself these questions:
What qualities would you expect to find in a 5-star hotel?
What is the epitome of comfort while you’re away from home?
Whatever it is – do that!
Hospitality is a dying art, but you can revive it (at least in your home). That’s why I came up with the below Hospitality Must-Haves. I guarantee that if you are a conscientious host, your guests will remember their time in your home for all the right reasons.
Of course, you know your guests better than I do, so use your judgment. However, some things apply universally, and they’ll appreciate how thoughtful you were and all the small details you paid attention to.
Read on for some of my favorite tips!
1) The Magic is in the Details: Remember the Little Things They Forgot, and the Conveniences They Never Thought About
- Power Strip and USB Chargers
People have phones, laptops, curling irons, shavers, and who-knows-what-else. And they’ll want to plug them in or charge them. And if they’re like me, their chargers will be at home on the counter because they forgot to grab them at the last minute. Buy extra Apple and Android phone chargers to have on hand for when a guest inevitably forgets. (Use a sticky note or try to write your name on it with a Sharpie so they don’t mindlessly toss it into their bag when packing up!)
Also let’s not forget the outlet strip – imagine your guests fighting over a plug-in LOL).
- The Medicine Cabinet
I would hate for my guests to feel guilty or embarrassed for disturbing me for some Advil, and I certainly don’t want them to suffer in silence all night! Therefore, I keep a small stock of the following, easily in sight and available should they need it. My top picks:
- Heartburn Relief
- Cough syrup
- Pepto Bismol
- Cold and Sinus Medicine. (My favorite is Advil Cold and Sinus)
- A small First Aid Kit with band-aids and ointments
- Squishy Ear Plugs (especially if your guest room is near the playroom…or your roommate snores!)
This will be much appreciated for those nights when they’re not feeling their best but are unwilling to disturb you.
I know, everyone has an alarm on their phone. But there’s something nice about having an actual clock in a room. If it has lights and/or a radio, so much the better: during Shabbos, they won’t have to fumble with their watch, or leave the room to figure out what time it is.
Just make sure the clock is not too loud – no one wants to slowly lose their mind listening to the ticking all night.
• Trash Can and Plastic Bags
If your guests are eating snacks and helping themselves to coffee (more on this in a minute), etc, they’ll need a place to discard the wrappers and napkins.
I know when I’m traveling, garbage mysteriously materializes out of thin air. I never know where it all comes from. It’s a mystery! Not to mention all the random receipts from traveling.
Therefore, a wastebasket is a godsend. Seriously. Also, have several of the little plastic grocery store bags available too. They’ll probably use them to hold other things, such as laundry, shoes, etc.
• Toilet Paper + Tissue boxes
It has happened to everyone. Only after you need the toilet paper/tissues do you realize there are none. The empty roll stares mockingly back at you as you fervently hope you can find a new roll somewhere.
A literal nightmare.
Don’t let this happen to your guests.
Lots of toilet paper.
Everywhere. Just do it.
Tissue boxes should be in the bathroom for Shabbos. Also, keep some on the night tables so your guests don’t have to get up in the middle of the night.
Hospitality extends beyond ensuring their physical comfort. No matter how welcoming a host is, it feels a little strange staying with someone in their home. So ask them, and follow their lead: Is there anything specific they’d like to drink, eat, have, or do?
Sometimes a simple question is enough to make guests feel welcome in your home.
2) Share the House “Secrets”
The first thing I ask for is the WiFi password after I get settled in. This is one of those things your guests will want, too. Please make sure that it’s easy to remember and type in!
I stayed with a friend once who dug through her filing cabinets to locate a little card with the Wifi password on it, and then she proceeded to read off approximately 243 random characters. She had to repeat it three times before I finally entered it correctly.
It was awkward and I felt like a huge inconvenience to her. So save everyone some time and make sure you have the password ready!
This is a good excuse to get one of those letter boards and maybe a mini-easel to put it on. #FANCY
- House Key, Garage or Door Combination, Parking Information, etc.
Make sure that your home is accessible to your guests. It feels weird to stand at a gate and not know the code, to be unsure if there is alternate side parking, or be worried you’ll wake your hosts up late at night by knocking.
Have a house key ready for them when they arrive, and make sure they have the necessary combos and codes to navigate their stay with you.
3) Make Food / Refreshments & Water Easily Accessible
- Make Sure Food and Water are Waiting for Them When They Arrive
You’re probably well aware of my love affair with food. That love is multiplied when I finally arrive at my destination after a long day.
I know I’m not the only one, so if your guests arrive at mealtime, make sure a nice meal is ready for them. If it’s a non-meal time of day, have some snacks or light refreshments on hand (May I recommend my ChezChaya Caramels?).
And water! Bottled water in the fridge, along with their favorite drinks, is a must! They will be SO grateful!
- Midnight Snacks/ Mini Bar
You know I’m all about the Midnight Crunch. You haven’t seen my night table drawer, but you’ll have one of your own if you stay at my house!
Set one up for your guests when they visit! Bottled water, some crackers, chocolate, cookies, granola bars, etc. The options are endless – I like setting up snacks in a cute tray (like this or this!) or a container.
Sometimes guests are hungry and there’s an hour before dinner. Or breakfast is later than they’re used to. Or it’s a case of the Midnight Munchies.
Whatever it is, set up some small snacks for when they need them!
I love it when hotels have a mini coffee/tea tray set up in your room next to a fancy little machine. I like going through and picking out my coffee pod and making a cup. You can mimic the exact same thing in your guest room with an assortment of little packs of coffee and tea arranged in a cute little dish. Set it next to a teapot or small coffee maker and include little packets of cream or sugar if you like (don’t forget the stir sticks!)
If you want to take it to another level I’d push for a mini-fridge. How FUN is that?!
There’s something about being able to help yourself: it’s comforting somehow, like being back in your own home where you don’t have to ask!
4) Set Them Up for Luxury
• Fresh, Luxurious Bed Linen:
I’m a firm believer in sparking joy whenever possible. I mean, why not?
Life is short. Buy the satin pillowcases!
Buy them for your guest room, too.
Sure, your guest rooms aren’t occupied every night, so it would be easier to justify lower-quality linens to save some money.
Your guests are important enough that you invite them to sleep overnight in your home; therefore, they’re important enough for the investment in delicious quality linens.
You’re worth it, too! Have things in your home that make you happy and spark joy every day.
Get some good-quality, delicious, and cozy linens for your guests!
You won’t regret the satin pillowcases, I promise.
• Make sure There’s a Comfortable Place to Sit
I don’t mind sitting on the bed (I’m usually only in a guestroom to sleep anyway), but a lot of people feel better having an actual chair, so we should have one for them. It’s also a great dumping space for clothing (not that I would know).
Set up a comfortable chair next to a table or lamp so they can go through their email if they wish. A recliner would be great too if you have one, and bonus points if there’s an ottoman.
- Declutter and Remove the Random
If your guest room doubles as an extra storage room when you don’t have visitors, make sure to remove everything before guests arrive: clear out closets, remove accumulated clutter, and the other random things you tossed in there.
If it wouldn’t be in a hotel room, it shouldn’t be in your guestroom. It’s also a good idea to clear a space for their suitcases while you’re at it. Bonus points if you have a luggage rack!
No one likes tripping over their suitcase and face-planting at 2 am.
• Add Bedside Lighting
I like to wind down with a good book or magazine, and I bet I’m not the only one. Having a convenient, accessible reading light is one of those little things that make a huge difference to your guests.
I don’t want to walk across the room when it’s time to turn out the light, so I prefer to use task lighting vs overhead. Your guests will be worn out after a long day – let them turn out the light from their comfy bed!
Let’s also talk about Shabbos lamps: the traditional Shabbos lamps aren’t my favorite aesthetically. I prefer buying my own lamps that go with my decor and replacing the bulbs with the Shabbulb. It still looks great, and my guests can still use it on Shabbos and holidays.
Check this out if you would like a more traditional Shabbos lamp, which comes in several colors.
5) Think Like a Hotel
Remember our “what would you expect in a 5-star hotel” discussion at the beginning? We’ve come full circle now, my friends. Providing the necessities, plus some extras, are critical for that 5-star experience.
Check out these suggestions for what people wish they had (but forgot to pack) when traveling.
• The Travel Necessities.
We’ve all forgotten something during a trip. Your guests will too, so stock up on some essentials and leave them in the guestroom or guest bath:
- Toothpaste and Toothbrush
- Mouthwash and Dental Floss
- Deodorant Spray
- Travel-size Deodorant
- Q-tips and Cotton Balls
- Shampoo & Conditioner (please not the 2 in one)
Other Stuff That Doesn’t Fit Anywhere Else, but I Still Think is Great.
- Candle with Matches (if no kiddos around!)
- Mirror (Full-Size!)
- Sound Machine
- Fresh Flowers
- Wig Head
- Books. (I always keep a few of my favorite bestsellers and self-help books – I can’t travel without books.)
- Small Dish for Jewelry
- Hook for Jacket, Purse, or Towel
- Shades or curtains and please make sure they are room darkening or provide eye masks. (I love this one from Amazon!)
- Fresh Bars of Soap to Dispose of After Guests Leave
- Diffuser (but not an overwhelming scent – something soft and citrusy)
- Always have Pack-n-Play for Little Ones Close By
- Extra Blankets and Pillows
I hope you find this list helpful. Although traveling and visiting are exciting, it can have its own stressors on your guests. After all, there’s no place like (your own) home, and sleeping overnight elsewhere will never be as comfortable.
However, you can make it a little easier for your guests. And it IS easy, with a little planning ahead.
With these tips, you can make your guests stay as comfortable and close-to-home as possible. Without having to worry about all the “little needs,” they can focus on enjoying their time with and have an experience to look back on and remember.
You’ll be sure to get 5-star reviews!
Now I want to hear from YOU! What was the one thing you truly enjoyed having when staying in someone else’s home?