Are you expecting guests over the holiday season? When you’re up to your elbows in wrapping paper and ribbons, work obligations and family events, trying to find the time to make your home feel extra cozy for your guests can be a real challenge.
You’ve already cleaned up the guest room, put fresh sheets on the bed and scrubbed down the spare bathroom, but something still seems like it’s missing even after you’ve put out the spare blankets and plumped up the pillows. The warmth and charm you want your guests to experience in your home just aren’t quite there — yet.
That’s okay: We’ve got you covered. You don’t even need an interior decorator on speed dial to make this happen! Just follow these tips and you’ll soon create an atmosphere in your home that’s positively delightful.
Going Beyond the Guest Room
The trick to a truly cozy experience for your guests is thinking beyond the basics. While the guest room serves as a place to retreat or sleep, your guests will probably spend a considerable amount of time in other parts of the house. You can make your entire house feel like their second home, however, with just these simple steps:
1. Make Room in the Closets and Drawers
Your guests are coming loaded down with bags, boxes, coats and shoes, so they need somewhere to put them. Make sure that you’ve cleared enough space out of your coat closet to accommodate their needs.
There should be room, too, for them to unpack. If you have a spare dresser in the guest room, make sure that the top drawer is empty for their use and clear plenty of space in the closet (but leave extra hangers).
2. Clear off a Nightstand for Use by Your Guests
Whatever you use as a nightstand next to your own bed probably sees a lot of use — and your guests probably find their own nightstand indispensable, as well. It’s the spot virtually everyone uses to hold their glasses, phone, journal and reading materials at night and the first place they reach for in the morning.
Make sure that you set up a small table or nightstand within reach of your guest’s bed. For added convenience, make certain that there’s an electrical outlet or an extension cord close by so that they can charge their phone, laptop or e-reader with ease.
3. Put a Miniature Necessity Station in the Bathroom
What do all the best hotels have in common? They try to anticipate the needs of their guests before their guests can even identify what those needs may be. You can take your cues from your favorite resort and set up a little “necessity station” in the spare bathroom for their use.
Stock up on a few spare toothbrushes, some toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoo and conditioner. Add in some lotions, tissues, a few candles for ambiance and some fluffy towels. If you have one guest who will be staying for a while, you may want to even set out a roomy bathrobe and spare pair of slippers for their use.
4. Leave a Welcome Basket with Holiday Goodies on the Kitchen Counter
Have you ever been a guest in someone’s home and woken up before your host? It’s disconcerting and awkward to wander around a strange kitchen when the owner isn’t present. It’s also frustrating to wait around until they wake up for that first cup of coffee or tea.
Alleviate any discomfort your guests may feel by setting snacks and other items out for their use (and make sure they know to take what they want). Set out a few of your favorite holiday mugs and pack a basket with a small array of coffees and teas for the choosing. Add some gingerbread cookies, chocolates, nuts and other treats so that they can grab a bite whenever they’re so inclined. (Remember: A big basket of holiday muffins never hurt anybody’s feelings.)
5. Pay Attention to the Sights, Sounds and Smells Throughout Your Home
When setting a mood, you want to involve all of someone’s senses. Details count. Drape a few soft, warm throw blankets over the couches and chairs and pile up the holiday books and movies nearby so that your guests feel encouraged to sit down and relax.
Buy some holiday incense and candles (peppermint, chocolate, spiced apple and other seasonal favorites come to mind) and sprinkle them around the house so that every room literally smells like Christmas when you enter. In the evening, put a little holiday music in the background to set the mood and let those candles twinkle to add warmth to your home.
6. Leave a Note with All the Details That Make Life a Bit Easier for Your Guests
It can be frustrating and awkward for guests to have to ask about every little thing, so take all the pressure off their shoulders (and yours): Write down the information they may need on a holiday card and leave it on their pillow.
Include the internet password, instructions on how to use the remotes and information about what streaming services or cable system you use. If they need a code for the garage or a spare key to use during their stay, that’s also a great place to leave it.
Playing host to your extended family or closest friends during the holiday season can be wonderful, especially when everyone feels comfortable and welcomed.