Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Making your house guests feel welcome

We tend to have a fair amount of houseguests over a year’s time. Jeff’s family lives out of town and they visit a couple times a year and then various other friends and family come to stay for a night or two. Over the years, I feel like my preparation has evolved and I am constantly tweaking the “accomodations” to make them as enjoyable as possible. My guests often tell me how comfortable their stay was and how special they felt with all the little touches. As a hostess, there is nothing better to hear!
This past weekend we had a long time friend come to stay on Friday night and then my mom on Saturday night since she watched Reed while Jeff & I went out with some friends. I felt like we were a B&B, as soon as the first guest left, I stripped the bed and laundered everything again and freshened everything up for Saturday night’s guest. Whew!
Whenever we are having overnight guests I always try to go the extra mile and make things as comfortable as possible. I try to anticipate any need they may have and want them to feel special.
Here are some tips to accomplish that-
I always clean the guest room extra well and freshly launder all the bedding so it’s fresh and crisp. If the sheets are too wrinkled, I often will do a light press especially on the pillow cases to make them look nice.
On the bed currently, there are sheets, a light blanket and duvet. This way they guest can use as much or little covers to make them comfortable. I love the look of a duvet-it just is so full and lush looking, it makes you want to snuggle in for a nap. I also have 2 sets of pillows, the standard medium firmness bed pillows and 2 down euro pillows which are great for reading in bed.
We have a ceiling fan installed in this room, but in previous homes, I always provided some fan for comfort and noise control.
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There is also a luggage rack for ease of getting into their luggage and I have several nice wood hangers in the closet to hang anything that might wrinkle.
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Gosh, looking at these pictures it confirms that this room is so in need of being painted (that’s already on the fall To Do list) and I am wondering about those drapes. The “taupe” is in the bedding, but on camera they seem to look pinker than they should…
On the bedside table there is a lamp (that is tied to the switch so they don’t have to enter a dark room), clock, carafe I fill with ice water before bed and magazines that the particular guest might enjoy. I also have both wood blinds and drapes that close shut for maximum light control for sleeping in. Plus, this room is at the front of the house which has a south west exposure so there isn’t any bright morning light glaring in.
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I also make sure there is a nightlight in the room and leave the hall sconces on in case they need to find their way overnight.
With the layout of our upstairs, it worked out that the guest room is at the front of the house next to the bathroom whereas our room is at the other end of the hall at the back. It’s nice to allow a little privacy for your guests.
Here is a close up of the battery operated sconces that I leave on. (Good ole QVC flameless candle sconces).  They have a soft glow so the light is not jolting but it helps you see. We love coming up the stairs at night with them on-it gives such a warm cozy feeling to the upper hall and put off enough light we rarely turn the stairway chandelier on. Best of all, they can be set to a timer so they just come on and shut off every day. I am kinda obsessed with battery operated candles these days. We have them all over the house. There are no worries with young children and you can put them anywhere. It’s so nice to walk into a candlelit room but you wouldn’t leave candles burning all over your home. You can also buy rechargeable batteries to use in them.
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This is the view from our bedroom to the end of the hall and to the right is where the guest room is. (Reed’s room is the one with the door closed across from the stairs. He was napping when I took these pictures.)
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I don’t stop making things special in just the guest room. I would love to have a guest en-suite, but guest do have to share the hall bath with Reed. Fortunately, the double-sink countertop is really long so each has their own space. In addition to making the bathroom sparkling, I set out a stack of towels for the guests if they are staying just one night or have the linen closet stocked with all the towels and washcloths they could possibly need. I also bring out an over the door towel bar when we have a house full of guests that are staying for more than a day so everyone has a place to hang their towel.
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Then, I tailor the toiletries for the particular guest in case they forget anything. This picture is for our friend who is a guy, so it’s the basics; women tend to appreciate more lotions and potions to try. There are always cotton balls and q-tips in the canisters.
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In the shower I put a small shampoo and conditioner and a fresh bar of soap!
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And lastly, a nice fluffy bath mat to step out onto after a shower and a generous hook on the back of the door to hang their clothes or jammies while they shower.

I hope these tips help you make your guests feel welcome-I know mine appreciate it!

What type of preparation do you do to get ready for overnight guests?
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