12 Easy Tricks to Make Overnight Guests More Comfortable
These small touches will show visitors they’re welcome in your home—not an inconvenience.
Provide all the necessities
Keeping toiletries—sealed toothbrushes, coordinating shampoo and conditioner, razors, cotton swabs, and a hair dryer—in your guests’ bathroom will be a relief when they don’t need to approach you to ask about extras. “Those things you’d forget to bring—I try to provide all that,” says Jennifer Dyer, interior designer and principal of Jeneration Interiors. “It’s like if you went to a hotel and needed something.” Here are last-minute things good hosts do before company arrives.
Prepare guests for when you’re not home
If you’ll be out of the house at any point, leave visitors with all the information they might need in your absence. Dyer keeps a binder with takeout menus, a map of the area, the house’s Wi-Fi password, how to set the alarm—basically “everything someone would ask,” she says.
Give their sleeping space a test run
Test out your guest room to make sure it’s comfortable—you might even want to crawl in the bed. Consider adding a night-light, or if the room feels cold, place an extra blanket on the foot of the bed in case your guests need more warmth. Keep in mind that some people like firm pillows while others prefer soft ones, so provide a couple options.
Have water on hand
If visitors get thirsty at night, they’ll appreciate having a glass and a pitcher filled with filtered water by their bed, Dyer says. Want to get fancy? Try one of these lovely flavored water recipes.
Find out their dietary needs
Check with your guests about any dietary restrictions—meat, dairy, gluten, or food allergies—and make sure you plan meals around those needs. If you know guests are watching their weight, be respectful of that too. Burgers and ice cream might be go-to menu items in the summer, but those tempting foods could cause anxiety for calorie-counting guests. Another tip: Ask about their coffee habits. Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, you might want to pick up some beans to keep caffeine addicts happy in the morning. Or, on the other hand, if you’re a coffee nut, but your guests are more the tea drinking type, it would be nice to have a box of their favorite variety on hand.
Unless they have dimmers, ceiling lamps don’t diffuse light very well, Dyer says. Lamps, on the other hand, provide a nice ambiance. “Lamps are more decorative, kind of like jewelry for your home,” she says. Placing one next to a lounge chair will give guests a go-to spot to cozy up with a book at night, she says.
Let them do some of the dirty work
You might try to be polite by telling guests not to help you with cooking or cleanup, but they might feel awkward watching you work. If they offer to help, take them up on the offer. If you’re less frazzled, they’ll probably feel less anxious too. These are little etiquette rules all house guests should follow.
Make your home feel like a hotel
A pullout bed with old sheets is convenient, but to make guests feel more appreciated, consider pulling out all the stops. “I get all the sheets laundered and pressed, so when I they’re put on the bed they’re really crisp, like a hotel,” Dyer says. At the very least, make the bed before they arrive so guests feel like they’re staying in a cozy, well-maintained spot in your home.
Offer special towels
iStock/#169 Leah Marshall
To keep guests from getting confused about whose towel is whose, give them towels in different patterns or colors. Dyer has a special set that says “guest” that she uses for company.
Make an air mattress comfy
No guest bedroom? An elevated airbed is a pricier but comfier alternative to a typical air mattress that might help your visitors sleep better. Placing an air mattress in front of the couch will create a makeshift headboard if your guests want to do some late-night reading. To give them more privacy, put a folding screen in front of their sleeping space.