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How To Prepare Your Home for Guests

With the holidays rapidly approaching, tis the season for traveling and get-togethers. Catching up with long-distance friends and family is one of the great joys of this time of year. If you are the one that typically makes the trip to be close to loved ones, you are well aware of the time and financial investment it takes to be able to celebrate with everyone. Having a comfortable landing spot can make all the difference when traveling for the holidays, so if you are hosting guests, that responsibility is on you! Now our hosts deserve a lot of credit as well, since hosting guests also requires a lot of planning, effort, and investment. For those hoping to create a memorable holiday season for everyone traveling in, we have put together a few suggestions to help our hosts prepare their homes for guests.

  1. Ready Your Entryway

Your first interaction with your guests will likely be at the entryway to your home. This first impression is an opportunity to set the tone for your guests’ stay. Think of how different it would feel as a guest stepping into a cluttered entryway full of shoes while you’re trying to drag in luggage after a long day of travel versus someone opening the door and grabbing your coat to throw on an empty hook while you sit and take off your shoes. To give your guests a warm welcome, consider gathering up your own coats and shoes that you won’t be using during their stay and putting them away in another closet for the time being. If the space allows, have a drop zone to either set down a bag or a sitting area to remove your shoes to ensure a smooth entrance. It may seem small, but from your guests’ perspective, you’re giving them a place to relax and recoup from their travels.

Gravel Lane Design Studio - cubbie lockers for guests, storage mudroom - Eureka, IL
Gravel Lane Design Studio - bench with storage, window seat bay window seat with pillows, Eureka, IL

2. Prepare the Guest Bedroom

If you have guests staying overnight with you, your number one priority should be to prep the guest room. Whether it’s for one night or a whole week, this is the space your loved one will call home during their stay. First and foremost, make sure the room is clean with enough space for your guests’ luggage and clothing. Put on fresh bedding, including extra throw blankets, and provide clean towels for the bathroom. If you’re able to go the extra mile, additional details such as small toiletries in the bathroom, a cozy candle on the side table, and maybe even an extra phone charger in the drawer will go a long way to ensure a comfortable stay. Anticipating things that your guests may have forgotten to pack ensures they feel cared for and may save them (or you) an emergency trip to the store.

Guest bedroom design Eureka, IL
guest bathroom design walk-in shower - Eureka IL

3. Stock the Basics

Going along with anticipating guests’ needs, having a stockpile of grab-and-go snacks and drinks readily available is a great way to make your guests feel welcome in your home. You may already be responsible for preparing a few meals, so having easy snacks for guests to serve themselves takes some prep work off your plate while equally making it less awkward for your guests to have to ask every time they need a beverage, for example. Also consider stocking up on things like paper towels, toilet paper, paper plates, etc. as these items tend to get used more often when entertaining guests.

kitchen bar design Eureka, IL

4. Decorate

You probably already have a seasonal routine for decorating your home for the holidays, whether that’s a few décor items or a whole house full. Start with whatever you normally do for the holidays (whether entertaining or not). There is no need to go out and spend a fortune on all new décor items (unless you want to, of course) just because you have guests coming over. Instead, consider adding a few details that will make your house feel welcoming, such as fresh flowers as a centerpiece, lighting a few seasonal candles, and cozy throw pillows and blankets on the couch. If you do feel like going all in, try getting creative with place settings and tablescapes that match the vibe of whatever you are celebrating for a unique dinner experience.

living room design with holiday decor Eureka, IL
ottoman design Eureka, IL

5. Create Moments

Speaking of creating experiences, that is exactly the opportunity you have as a host. Especially around the holidays, there is a good chance that you are creating lasting memories for the guests that enter your home. Lean into this role of creating some holiday magic by planning activities or meals with the intention of engaging with your guests. Some ideas include a baking night, creating themed cocktails, involving everyone in the kitchen cooking a family recipe, having a movie night with a hot chocolate bar, or playing a group board game. The activity itself isn’t as important as getting everyone mingling and enjoying themselves as that is what will truly be remembered.

Gravel Lane Design Team collaborating and laughing, spreading joy - Eureka, IL

We wish everyone safe travels this holiday season and hope that those who open their homes to loved ones are filled with nothing but joy. For more ideas for hosting, check out our blog post on how to design your home for future gatherings.

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