I love having company. No, really, I do! Now that we’re in a house large enough to accommodate a few extra guests from time to time without everyone tripping all over each other, I really look forward to friends coming to town to visit and family coming for the holidays. Yes, it requires a little extra cleaning and pillow-fluffing, but let’s face it, I probably needed to do those things anyway! One of my favorite things to do is to come up with some creative ways to make my guests feel personally welcomed and at home in our home (a la “Hotel Monica” on Friends). I’m happy to share a few of those tips with you today! (Remember, tailor these things to your personal guests. The more personal, the better!)
Personal Touches to Help Any Guest Feel Welcome
1.) Find a knickknack or picture that your guest will connect with. Whether it’s a picture of the two of you together, a place you went on a trip, or even a little knickknack that represents an inside joke…having something that they recognize automatically makes it seem like it’s their room. I keep 2 frames in our guest room and regularly rotate pictures out depending on who’s coming…a family pic when my parents or in-laws are in town, a pic of the kiddo and his cousins when my SIL visits, a pic of me and Cass from Oklahoma whenever she comes to visit. And when she was here for Halloween, I laid out a little treat that coincides with an inside joke about a quote from a movie we always use (props to you if you can name the movie!).
2.) A seasonal accent. It may sound funny, but having some sort of seasonal decoration makes your guest room feel fresh and contemporary. For most of us, that room is one that really only gets used when people are in town…so it’s easy for it to feel that way to them, too…like they’re staying in that generic extra room. You don’t have to do anything fancy at all! I keep a classic glass vase in our guest room and fill it according to the season…mini pumpkins and gourds for fall(might cost you $5 at Michaels and these can be reused), mini Christmas balls for Christmas, Easter eggs for spring, fake fruit or flowers for summer…you get the idea. And if you don’t want to go that route, fresh flowers are always a win (added bonus: automatic air freshener).
3.) Hotel-like amenities. Of course, when you have a guest, you’ll want to make sure you have fresh sheets on the bed and clean towels in the bathroom. And probably an extra bottle of shampoo and conditioner in case they forget theirs. But I like to take it a step further and provide some extra little toiletries, both as a replacement for forgotten items and also as just a nice gesture. I’ll always save my hotel lotions, mouthwash, and body wash for just that purpose. Free samples from places like Clinique or Sephora are also great. Find a cute glass jar, fill it with these treats, and set it next to the sink in the guest bath. As an added bonus, this also gives them a place to store their toothbrush while they’re there.
4.) Aromatherapy. Hear me when I say, this DOES NOT mean that you have to spend a ton on plug-in air fresheners, scented candles, or anything like that. In fact, I’d steer clear of those in favor of something a bit more natural and subtle…have you ever noticed that most large hotels have a distinctly Lysol-y type smell? If you have access to a good quality essential oil (my favorite is DoTerra), a little bit goes a long way and really helps to make the room feel clean and relaxing. Five to ten drops distilled into some water and then spritzed onto linens, carpet, pillows, and voila! Scents like vanilla, lavender, and sandalwood promote relaxation. Peppermint invigorates. Tea tree, lemon, and wild orange smell clean and crisp. Choose according to the mood you’d like to set.
5.) Special Needs. Keep in mind any specific needs your guest might have and try to accommodate them before they come. My FIL loves to read the paper every morning, so I try to have one on the nightstand when they get here. Some people like to take a glass of water to bed at night…I’ll set out glasses for that purpose on the nightstand. Consider yourself the concierge and try to anticipate what might make them feel more at home.
Well, there you have it! Don’t be intimidated and think that everything you do has to be Pinterest-perfect. The important thing is just to put some thought into each guest that comes to visit…whatever you do to accommodate them, the fact that you took the extra time to ensure their comfort will mean a great deal. Having some stand-bys at the ready helps to make changes for each guest a little bit easier.
What are your favorite things people have done for you as a guest? What little tips do you have for welcoming company? We want to hear from you!