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Get Your Home Ready for Guests

It's hard to believe but that time of year is upon us again when out of town guests and family come to visit. The Holiday season can be stressful enough without adding in-laws (and out-laws) to the mix. Here are some ideas for making your guests more comfortable. Think of the things that you enjoy when you have visited others homes and try to incorporate them into your home. 

One of our recent guests couldn't stop talking about how lovely and cozy our home smelled and that she never wanted to leave! I simply put some wax tarts (unmelted) throughout the house; tucked them into baskets, floral arrangements, a dish of seashells, on a shelf and the back of my towel cabinet.  Each room smelled wonderful without having to worry about lighting candles or spraying room sprays each day. I used the same fragrance throughout and made sure that I picked something that wasn't irritating such as a floral. Many people can't smell floral scents without going into an allergy attack so I stuck with a soft vanilla-based cinnamon fragrance.  You can pretty much not go wrong with Vanillas either.

Clear a Path
De-clutter the entry area so there's room for you and your guests to greet each other and bring in suitcases without tripping over shoes, book bags, or awkwardly placed furniture. A front entry needs enough furnishings to provide a sense of transition -- a table with a piece of art, for example, acts as both a focal point in this entry and a visual connection to the living room beyond. The front entrance is the formal one that guests use, while the family entrance may be on the side of the house, through the garage, or at the back door. You don't need the same kind of functional storage here that you do at those entrances, so the furnishings can be minimal and decorative.

Keep the Decorating Simple - Avoid over decorating the guest bedroom. You want it to be comfortable and welcoming but not so full of decorative objects and furniture that guests have no place to put their things. Leave room to make this their home for the duration of their stay. If you have only one guest room, choose twin beds over a double or queen-size bed; that way friends, children, or couples can occupy the room comfortably. A shared table serves both beds as a place for an alarm clock and personal items.

A Place to Unpack ~ Guests will greatly appreciate having a flat surface to rest their suitcases for unpacking -- here a woven hamper holds extra blankets but can also support a suitcase. An ottoman doubles as a surface for resting a carry-on bag. Clear tabletops and dresser tops, too, so your guests have a place to put their reading material, toiletries, and belongings.

Make Space in the Closet ~ Even if the guest bedroom closet normally serves as your out-of-season storage, move the clothes elsewhere for the duration of the visit, or at least push them to one side to make space for your guests' clothes. Provide plenty of hangers for skirts and pants as well as shirts and blouses. And if you have clean, fluffy robes available for your guests to use, you get five stars as a host/hostess.

Provide Bedside Lighting ~ While bedside lamps are essential for safety reasons (if a guest needs to get up in the night, you don't want him to have to stumble to the door in the dark), wall-mount lamps offer added convenience and comfort. Install one over each bed, high enough to illuminate the headboard and pillow area for bedtime reading but low enough that the lamp can be switched on or off easily. The right height will depend on the height of the bed.

Provide Privacy with Window Treatments ~  While you may have a bare-windows policy for the rest of your house, dress the windows in the guest room so that guests have the option of covering them for privacy or blocking light if they wish. The combination of woven blinds and fabric draperies here allows guests to lower the blinds in the daytime to filter light and block views. At night, they can draw the draperies for greater privacy.

Some other useful articles:  Make Overnight Guests Feel Welcome in Your Home and Holidays: When Guest Come A Callin'


  1. I wish our guest room was as pretty as these--it is the most neglected room in the house. Plain walls, plain bed, and no window treatments.

  2. I actually went to garage sales and thrift stores this summer and purchased 90% of the items for my guest room (curtains, chest of drawers, framed poster, bedspread). I even found clearance paint at Home Depot which had been poured in the wrong color for someone but I loved it. I spent $80total and have a nice relaxing room...sometimes I wish I was a guest ;o)

  3. I want that house. I love the entry shot. Actually, all the photos are beautiful. Great writing. Great article with easy-to-follow tips.

  4. My sister and I produce decorating, craft and cooking books so I really enjoyed and identified with your blog. Your blog is so well done and professional, tho. I always leave mine 'til the end of the day when I'm too tired to really do it. Then I just throw it together. It's more like a diary and not so informative as yours. How do you find the time?

  5. Barbara ~ I have NO idea how I find the time. I don't watch much TV so that frees up some time I guess! LOL!

    I easily bore as my brain is always thinking of new things to do. I certainly appreciate your kind words. I've been to your blog and enjoy it thoroughly!

  6. Absolutely with you it agree. In it something is also idea excellent, agree with you.

  7. I love your idea about spreading the scent throughout the house without lighting a candle! Especially with two little ones in my house right now!

    P.S. I am a newbie blogger and am SO HAPPY that I found this blog with the FMBT blog hop! I follow you and would love if you could follow me back! Thanks!

  8. Great tips.. but can I just have the house please..?

  9. Great ideas and I love the photos!! Have a wonderful Holiday Season!!

  10. These are all fabulous and essential tips, since I'm the one who is usually off visiting others, I'll have to pass this on to my relatives. I'll do this anonymously, of course.

    Thanks for dropping by, I've missed you! Let's do "get together" more often, lol.

    Merry Christmas Marie to you and yours!

  11. I've never heard of wax tarts...what are they? It sounds like the perfect scent solution!

  12. Good advice about the vanilla. It's one of the few strong scents that doesn't cause problems for my sister with severe asthma. She can even burn vanilla candles in her home. Luckily, it's my favorite scent :-)

  13. I love the smells of the holidays. I have a live Christmas tree every year just so I have the smell of pine in my house. I also leave a popourie of cinnamon sticks and cloves simmering in a tiny crock pot which everyone comments on, and I love. I'm not sure I want my guests as comfortable as you are making them though — they'll never want to leave!


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