There are many things you can do to make guests feel welcome, even if you have only a small amount of space to offer. The ultimate goal is to make your houseguests feel comfortable, welcome and to be able to discover their own little place for privacy.
When outfitting your guest room, think about those things that made your stay at someone’s home or at a hotel especially pleasant or memorable. And consider what particular needs your guests might have in order to avoid having them ask you for something. Most guests don’t want to burden their hosts by having to ask for things such as towels or hairdryers.
It’s also a good idea to try and keep your guest room free of your family belongings so that visitors feel completely welcome and not like an intruder.
Try incorporating some of these hospitality touches to make your guest room a visitor’s “home away from home”:
- Place extra blankets, towels and pillows in the room or within easy access.
- Make sure there are blinds on the window so they have the option of sleeping late.
- Use crisp, pretty linens on the bed.
- Provide drawer and closet space (with ample hangars). If your guests prefer to live out of their suitcase, have a luggage stand or surface space for them to easily access their belongings.
- Place an empty decorative tray on the dresser top so your guests have a visible place for keys, jewelry and other easy-to-misplace items. They’ll be less likely to leave anything behind if they keep small items together and in sight.
- Have a full length mirror in the room for your guests to check their appearance.
- Make a bathroom ‘guest worthy’ by placing a toothbrush and toothpaste, bottle of shampoo, conditioner, a comb and hand lotion in a basket in the guest bathroom. Don’t forget to provide a hairdryer—one less thing for them to have to pack.
- Extra bath and facial tissue, as well as additional bars of soap should be stored in the guest bathroom. If you are sharing a bathroom with guests, liquid soap is preferable, otherwise provide guests with a bar of packaged soap (travel size works well) for their own personal use.
- Electronically equip the room (or sleeping area) with a reading light, a radio and a nightlight. If there is a television in the room, show them how to work the remote control(s). Place a small flashlight on the nightstand for possible loss of power.
- Have books and magazines, as well as information about your town and state available. Add a small fresh flower arrangement or have live plants in the room to make it more inviting.
- Provide bottled water or a carafe of water with a glass on the nightstand or in the guest bathroom as an additional welcoming touch.
- A simple, welcome note accompanied by a couple of wrapped mints on their pillow or next to the bed is a charming touch.
- Hang a plush, clean robe on a hook in the guest closet or bathroom, along with a pair of slippers.
- Providing a bench at the end of the bed or a cozy chair in the room allows guests to relax without having to sit on the bed.
- Have stationary, a notepad, postcards of the area, pens and a wastebasket close by. Add a few postage stamps too.
- Have a small electric fan available and show them where and how to work the thermostat.
- If your guests are staying awhile, give them a house key (and share the alarm code, if applicable).
- Show your guests where you keep your coffee, tea, breakfast and snack items in case they are early risers or have a midnight craving. Have a small bowl with a couple of pieces of fruit, crackers and cookies in their room when they arrive.
The next time you are entertaining overnight guests, be creative and incorporate some (or all) of these ideas. Your guests will remember their stay with gratitude and fondness.
Remember, it doesn’t matter whether you dedicate an entire room to guests or simply adapt a sofa in a family room…it’s not the amount of space that counts; it’s the imaginative details that matter most. Happy hosting!