Getting Ready for Guests

As I prepare our guest room for my sister and her family, I remembered two things she did over Thanksgiving when our family stayed at her house.

1. She Cleared the Surfaces

I think all that stuff on the coffee table up there in our guest room is so pretty, but, realistically they’ll need that area to put their own stuff down so I’m going to clear it off before they get here. My sister even cleared off surfaces in her family room and dining room in preparation for our big family get together and it made her house seem even bigger and less cluttered.

2. She Created a Charging Area

Between Emily’s family, my family and my parents, we have 7 iPhones, 2 Kindles, 2 iPads, a few iPods and about 83 laptops.  Emily made a point to have a little area cleared off {see above} and stocked with an outlet and extra chargers.  This was something I would have never thought of but was so incredibly thoughtful and useful.  If your family isn’t as nerdy as ours maybe you are into something else that could use a designated area.  I think a designated chocolate area could be a really good idea as well.

And if you are worried your home isn’t big enough or finished enough for hosting people this season, do yourself a favor and read this post by Gypsy Mama :: Your House is Only as Big as Your Hospitality.

I’d love to hear any practical tips you have for making your guests feel more at home.


  1. What a great idea!! I keep a large, fluffy white bath robe hanging on the closet door with a note welcoming guests to bundle up and enjoy. I also keep extra toiletries in the medicine cab for their use.

  2. Thank you so much for linking to your sister. I just cried through her videos and ordered her book :)

  3. Love these ideas! I also try to determine in advance what each guests’ favorite beverage is and stock it. Personally hubby and I are not coffee drinkers but realistically many guests are so we have a coffee pot and stuff to make available (though I let them actually make the coffee so it’s drinkable!). I’ll also stock favorite sodas (though we don’t drink them). I think having your favorite drink available makes any place feel more like home.

  4. That room looks really beautiful, I’m sure you’ve been busy preparing it. I think a pitcher of water and some glasses might be nice? Maybe some common painkillers and tums, things they wouldn’t want to bother you about if they couldn’t fall asleep. And since it’s your sister, I think it would be just lovely to dig out some family pictures and leave them in a bowl for the whole family to go through. It’s nice to remember the past especially while you are all together. Have the best time!

  5. What wonderful ideas! Thank you for passing them along.

    You and Emily are a joy to know, and to observe your closeness is awesome. It’s like y’all are the example of what sisterhood is supposed to be like.

    I try to keep stuff in our guest room that people wouldn’t want to have to go looking for–an iron and ironing board, lots of toiletries, extra toilet paper, water and drinking cups, etc. I also have a couple of fluffy robes (one men’s, one women’s) so that they CAN venture out even if they forgot their own robes.

    You know, my guest room has two twin beds. It would be perfect for both you and Emily to visit me. That would be a dream come true–to have the two of you over for a slumber party! :)

  6. Love the chocolate and/or the recharging area. That’s genius! We’ll have a bunch of family over on Christmas Eve for our dessert buffet thingie, but rarely do we have overnight guests. This makes me want to scout some out. ;)

  7. The link you shared is so very true. I definitely agree, we don’t need to be limited by what we have. We should be encouraged to share all of it. Thanks for the tips to! Great ideas.

  8. The kids make welcome pictures to put in the guest room. Clear space in the closet and provide hangers. Put a basket with bottled water, favorite candies, a candle and matches for them. One of my favorite ever clearance finds was a luggage rack like the hotels have! We have a dresser that’s empty for them. Plan some of their favorite meals, and have some favorite foods on hand.

  9. We have houseguests all the time and it has never occurred to me to have a “charging station.” I love this tip!

  10. A stack of magazines and a goodie bag of late night snacks, in case they are timid fridge raiders, are always good ideas and a bottle of cold water with a good night hug. I love when my family visits!

  11. Yes! The Charging Station – what an awesome idea and one I’ll definitely be keeping in mind :)

    I keep empty dresser drawers, a basket in their room with extra toiletries, common over-the-counter meds, little snacks and some bottles of water, and hangers in the closet. I wish I had a luggage rack… one of these days!

  12. Hi! I don’t have any great hospitality tips, but I wanted to say that I love your couch! :) Is that the vintage denim from PB?

  13. People don’t really tend to stay with us, since other family is nearby as well. We did, however, recently host our friends for just a night. Everyone wanted a blanket to hang out on the couch while watching a movie, so we had a big stack nearby. Besides cleaning, my husband got up and made the cutest Christmas-shaped pancakes for everybody. I think it was a nice (and easy!) touch to do something festive for them.

  14. Great idea! I never thought of having a charging station available. I’d say your sister is a genius :) I always have a basket with towels in the guest room and extra toiletries as well.

  15. A lot of the things that I do for guests have already been mentioned, but I also keep a basket with brochures for things to do on the night table. Even if we already have everything planned, I always enjoy reading about the area when I’m in a new place.

  16. I like to put fresh flowers in my guest bedroom. It adds a special touch and a pop of color.

  17. Clearing things out is probably the main thing (besides cleaning) that we do to prep for guests. It makes the house so much more inviting & usable!

  18. It’s always fun to have some age appropriate toys and books for young children. The novelty of new toys helps children jump right in at a new place. The books are fun for children and relatives as they connect or re-connect through a great story.

  19. What neat ideas. Thanks for your posts.

    I needed these ideas at Thanksgiving. :) Ok – so next year I have you and your sister’s ideas.

  20. Coming from a girl who used to stay in host homes all the time, I always appreciated a lamp by the bed for easy nighttime reading, a trashcan in the room, and some closet/drawer space to unpack a little.

    Love the idea of a charging station!

  21. One of the things I appreciate when I visit is a laundry basket. My mom keeps a tall wicker one with a lid when we come to visit. It’s nice to have a place to dump our used clothes without creating a pile so we can do a quick load before leaving town or at least pack a “dirty bag” when we head home.

  22. Kristina Zack says

    I like to make sure I point out a few crucial items to my guests — where to find clean bath towels and TP, and also provide a big stack of extra blankets, so that anyone who gets cold in the middle of the night doesn’t have to a) rummage through the cupboards looking for them or b) freeze all night in our wood-heated house.

    I also like to show everyone where breakfast/ hot beverage supplies are in the event that they get up before their hostess. “Mi case es su casa” is my motto.

    Loved the link you shared. I’m sharing on Facebook. Hospitality is only limited by the size of our hearts.

  23. I like to have some of my guests favorite foods. (Like my dad and mom loved Diet Squirt), and I like to have things to meet special food needs (gluten free etc.) My daughters have food allergies and it means so much when someone cooks for them.

    Merry Christmas.

  24. I save trial size soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, etc. and have them in a basket in the guest bath. It’s like being in one of those fancy restaurant’s bathroom with all of the products to use, only you don’t have to leave a tip! ;) Plus some good magazines are always nice.

  25. LOVE LOVE LOVE the charging station. We don’t get company anymore which makes me sad. However, we are going to a big family gathering this weekend at a lodge and we bring our own “home stuff” to make it homey and cozy. I will definitely do the charging station! I like to have a basket of toiletries as well~ inevitably someone forgets a razor,toothbrush or shampoo. I also leave bowls with spoons on the table along with an assortment of breakfast cereals for early risers or for those late night snackers. I like my guests to feel totally at home and not inhibited or intimidated by our schedule or stuff…I totally declutter and let the visit decide its own agenda. :)

  26. We don’t have a guest room so we give up our master bedroom. Always magazines, good reading material, and chocolate.

  27. I love having guests stay over! And I am loving all these ideas that are being shared.

    I always try to have extra toothbrushes and toiletries, GOOD shampoo and conditioner, so they won’t have a bad hair day. And shower gel, so nobody has to use someone’s old bar of soap.

    And as I am getting the guest room ready, I always pray for the people that will be sleeping there. That they will feel comfortable and at home, have a good night’s sleep, etc. And hopefully with God’s grace they won’t notice my dust bunnies and other imperfections.

  28. LOVE the charging station idea (and well let’s be honest – the chocolate station idea as well!). In our last house, we were fortunate enough to have a separate floor guest suite and so we stocked it with a basket of slippers, luggage racks, an empty small closet with hangers, a fan and a small space heater, in addition to extra blankets, and a basket in the bathroom with fresh toothbrushes, and other items guests might have forgotten. We now live in a small urban apartment and have those things available, but not as cutely displayed or left out and about year round, LOL!

  29. Could you please tell my In-Laws about clearing the surfaces! Less is more when you have company. The charging station is brilliant!

  30. What great ideas! One thing I like to do is put a picture of the guest by the bed… For example, if my in-laws are coming, I put the family picture from our wedding next to the bed. If my best friend is coming, I put a picture of the two of us. I think it’s a cute touch.

  31. I wish I had a guest room! I did until my daughter was born and it was always fun to prep it for company. So true about needing clear surfaces to put your stuff on!

  32. Louise Ann Knight says

    I have family coming over tomorrow and only recently over a cold – I was worrying a little about the space, the chairs, if I would have the energy to prepare all the food. One phonecall and a festive playlist later, I’ve got some family arriving earlier and they’re going to take part in the food preparations which will actually make it more special and it gives the kids longer to play together! The coming together is the most important part, sometimes in the preparation we overlook that!

  33. I love the idea of extra outlets set out! So thoughtful. Merry Christmas!

  34. What you did there is so pretty. Your sister is one of my favorite people and I have never met her. I wish I could visit my sisters as easily. Have a wonderful visit.

  35. I pride myself on being a thoughtful hostess but that charging station idea is brilliant! Times they are a’changin’

  36. Just read Gypsy Mama’s post on hospitality. It was incredibly insightful. I need to follow in her footsteps. That post was a real mind changer for me. thanks so much for sharing it with us. Merry Christmas!

  37. I like to find the following when I’m staying :)

    A box of tissue
    A trash can
    An empty armless chair (to use as a suitcase butler)
    Depending on the stay, 2 inches of closet space with empty hangers.

    At Christmastime, my sis always had a Christmas-themes novel of some sort on the nightstand. (Maybe a mystery that has a Christmas tree n the cover.) Now, she’s more likely to leave a Home Decor or Food Network mag for me.

    And, I still like finding a nightlight in the bathroom…lol
    Can you ever REALLY outgrow feeling like a kid?
    ~ Dana

  38. charging station…duh! such a great idea!!

  39. Last time we had houseguests it was my friend, her husband and 5 kids. I used wooden clothespins with everyone’s names written on them (their family and ours) for keeping track of cloth napkins, cups, washcloths and towels – anything that you might reuse, IF you were sure it was yours. It was a great laundry/dishes saver!

  40. I love the charging station idea – how clever that sister of yours is :)
    I have toiletries available in the guest bath and lots of fluffy towels. I also like to have a stack of magazines by the bed.

  41. Oh what a dream – to have a nerdy family where we need a charging station. :) No one is spending the night this year, but we’ll host around 30 this year and it’s all going to be about comfort food and lots of it. Since I have to be at church all evening, my guest will get to our home before me, so everything needs to be done. We’ll be doing big pots of chili, soup, homemade bread, appetizers, baked potato bar and am dabbling with the idea of doing fondu and crepe stations. I think those would be a blast! (and the toppings would be the same for both).
    Have a wonderful time with the family – I know you will. :)

  42. I love it! I also love her rug under the coffee table. Would she share where she bought it from?

  43. Wonderful ideas. My wife and I will host her brother’s family for a week just after Christmas. The 2 kids are in grade school. The spare room has a small walk-in closet and on one side we have 2 deep shelves, 1 counter height with an outlet handy. Guests can charge phones or shaver etc.
    Our company will stay the week and will have access to my car during their stay. We will give them a set of keys and a card with home address, house phone # and our Cell #’s. We also have wireless internet access and listing the access code lets them log onto their own phone/pad/thingys.
    One item we like to have on hand is an asortment of muffins. Great for snacks or first thing in morning and such a treat. Your ideas got me thinking more too. Thanks

  44. what great ideas…..
    I usually try to have water bottles in the rooms where my guests will stay…just in case they need something in the middle of the night.

    I also try to have towels and washcloths very handy for my guests so that they never have to wonder where they are.

    I always think it’s great to have mints, snacks, etc in a basket for people to easily grab from your kitchen counter… they don’t have to ask.

    I love hosting!

  45. We travel/move a lot. I love the idea of the charging station so much I’m adding one to our computer bag. Thanks, Paige

  46. I work in a real estate in paranagua and thank you very much for its content, I really seek to deliver the best of homes

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