How To Create A Guest-Friendly Home

According to famed etiquette consultant Emily Post, there are plenty of rules about being a gracious houseguest. They will sound familiar to most of us, including not overstaying your welcome, cleaning up after yourself, and offering to help your host around the house. It's always a good idea to send a thank-you note. However, what about when the situation is the other way around? How do you ensure that your home is just as welcoming when it's your turn to host?

Creating a guest-friendly home can be an art form, but, in essence, there is just one simple rule that applies. Whether your guests will be staying for two weeks or just an afternoon, you need to think about how you would like to be treated in someone else's home and apply it to your own space. You can decorate a foyer to make a good first impression, but in the long run, you will also need to think about keeping your home stocked with guest-friendly furnishings and amenities. To help you get started, we've put together a few things to consider when preparing your home for guests.

Purchase a comfortable couch

Back in the old days, when you had guests over, it was pretty much a sure thing that they could expect a poor night's sleep on an ugly, uncomfortable pull-out couch in the living room. The good news for you and your guests is that this is no longer the case. You don't have to sacrifice space or style for your guests to get a good night's sleep.

According to New York Magazine, futon couches are now some of the most comfortable options available. They come in various colors and materials, meaning they can match almost any existing decor. Some newer futon models might feel more comfortable than your own bed, leading you to envy your guests when you all turn in for the night. Of course, in addition to having a cozy sofa bed for overnight visitors, you'll want the seating part of the couch to be comfortable, too. This way, your guests will feel at home when lounging about in the daytime.

Keep guest toiletries on hand

When you go to a hotel, there are always a few extra toiletries in the room to use if you leave something important at home. When creating a guest-friendly home, it's a great idea to have some of the most-used toiletries on hand for your guests, just in case. This way, your guests can be sure to have a luxe experience and also be saved from the embarrassment of admitting they forgot something.

According to Her Packing List, there are a few essential toiletries items to build the perfect guest basket. You'll want to make sure you have shampoo and conditioner (remember to get two separate bottles, not a combination of the two), plus a nice smelling body wash. If you want to get fancy, provide a cleanser for your guests to use on their faces. Plus, a body moisturizer and more sensitive lotion for their face. In addition, you'll want to create a small dental kit with a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash. And you can't forget a travel-size deodorant, just in case. It's a good idea to have multiples of each item on hand. You can store them in a specific drawer in your bathroom and direct guests to take what they need. Or, if you want to be more personalized, you can put together a basket or box for each guest and leave it in their rooms.

Give them their own linens

When you stay in a hotel, experiencing luxurious linens is often one of the best parts of the trip. So, when putting together the same experience at home for your guests, making sure they have clean, comfortable sheets and blankets will upgrade the experience. According to Crown Linen, you'll want to purchase sheets with a higher thread count to ensure comfort. Higher thread count options have more threads per square inch and typically feel softer to the touch. However, keep in mind that materials like silk, bamboo, or even cotton sheets will always feel soft and be more comfortable than combination fabrics like polyester.

Once you've selected the best linens for your guests, remember to change the sheets for every visit. When they leave, you can ask them to strip the bed to make things easier for you, or you can go in behind them and do it yourself once they go. Even if a guest only sleeps on a bed for one night, you need to change the sheets. Never let another guest sleep on used bedding.

Have enough chairs for everyone

When guests visit your home, they will feel more welcome if they have a definite place to sit and enjoy. According to Home Decor Bliss, you should have at least four or five places to sit in a living room. This number includes the couch, so depending on the size of your sofa, the number of chairs you need to add might change.

However, the great thing about hosting guests is that sometimes it's okay to change things up. For example, if you are hosting a major holiday at your home, most guests wouldn't think twice about sitting in a folding chair. So, if you don't have enough armchairs to go around for a visit after a holiday meal, don't panic. It's possible to borrow chairs from your neighbors, a local furniture rental place, or even ask guests to bring a few of their own.

Provide a variety of pillows

To get a good night's sleep, different people prefer different pillows. Due to these preferences, you should have a few pillow options on hand for your guests. According to The Sleep Doctor, the perfect pillow keeps your body in alignment throughout the night. This way, you wake up rested without a crick in your neck or pain elsewhere in your body. Even if you have the best mattress, a poor-quality pillow can still ruin your sleep.

The best pillow for you depends on whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach for most of the night. For side sleepers, a thicker, firmer pillow is your best bet. However, if you sleep on your stomach, you will need a softer, thinner pillow (and sometimes no pillow) to be comfortable. Finally, back sleepers require a medium pillow to support their neck and shoulders without tilting their head too far. To create a guest-friendly home, buying pillows with at least two different types of firmness for your guests is a good idea. This way, no matter their sleep preferences, they are more likely to wake up rested and enjoy their time with you.

Invest in a good air mattress

Sometimes you run out of room on the pull-out couch, so having an air mattress on hand for extra guests means they are more likely to get a good night's sleep. In addition, having a designated place for them to sleep makes guests feel more welcome in your home. According to The New York Times, there are a few things to think about when choosing the best air mattresses for your spare bedroom.

The most important is whether or not it actually holds air. Nothing is worse than waking up on a deflated air mattress in the middle of the night and wondering if it'll be too loud to turn the pump back on so you can get a decent night's sleep. Something to think about is that sometimes even the best air mattress can fall victim to leaks. So, check with your guests each morning to ensure yours is holding its air okay, just in case.

Keep the air crisp and clean

Keeping the air in your living space clean and breathable is essential to creating a guest-friendly home. By adding an air purifier, you can help reduce the overall allergens in your home and even prevent diseases. According to Accuweather, an air purifier should have High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters (HEPA) to ensure the best results. The filters work by removing even the smallest particles from the air we breathe, ensuring better long-term health. The filters can also help reduce sneezing, sniffling, and sore throats since they keep the air clear of pollen and dust mites.

In addition to reducing the allergens, germs, and other pollutants in your home, an air purifier can remove unwanted smells. This benefit is particularly great if you have pets, family members who play sports, or even if you burned the dinner for your guests and need to air out your space.

Create a local guide

When you have guests in your home, you'll notice you often verbally repeat the best things to do in the area and popular local amenities. However, there are only so many times you can give someone directions to the gas station or art museum before you tire yourself out. So, to save yourself time and ensure your guests have the best possible experience, consider putting together a local guide. According to Airbnb, this collection of local tips and tricks can help your guests navigate your home and neighborhood.

When making recommendations for your guests, keep things short. You don't need to put together a personalized tour of the art museum. Your guests just need to know it's in the area. You also don't need to list every restaurant and every type of food in the neighborhood either. Just jot down a few of your nearby favorites. Keeping things short and sweet will make things easier for you. Brevity will also make things less overwhelming for your guests. Finally, remember to include a section in your guide about how things work in your home. You should add information like the Wi-Fi password, the gate code (if there is one), instructions for the shower, and how to adjust the thermostat.

Clean out your refrigerator

No guest wants to open a fridge and be greeted by mold, old food, or other oddities. In addition to keeping some guest-friendly food on hand, you'll want to make sure that your food storage facilities aren't, well ... gross. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can clean your refrigerator in five steps. The first is to check the expiration dates on everything and throw out expired food. For personally packed items, like leftovers, if you can't remember when you had them, it means it's been too long, and it's time to trash it.

After you've tossed old and expired food, you are ready to set aside the rest of the food in your fridge so you can access the shelves for cleaning. Once your fridge is empty, wash the inside of your fridge with a clean rag or sponge, soap, and warm water. Pat things dry once you to prevent mold from growing. Finally, take care when restocking your refrigerator. You can organize foods for easy access with fruits and vegetables in the crisper drawer, sauces on the door, and dairy items on one shelf. Also, note whether or not bottles and other containers need cleaning before placing them back inside.

Train all of your pets

It's a hard pill to swallow, but unfortunately, our guests might not be as in love with our pets as we are. Nevertheless, we can still ensure that our animals don't cause active harm or discomfort to visitors. Dogs, in particular, can have a hard time when new people come over. However, there are a few ways to help them adjust and ensure everyone has a good time.

According to Cesar's Way, you need to be firm with your dog's behavior, even if your guests love dogs. While they might not mind that Fido jumps on them when they enter your home, others will, so you need to be consistent in enforcing boundaries with your pet so that they don't get confused. In addition, for guests who have aversions to animals, our pets should be well-trained before they arrive. Your pet should listen when you command and have a safe, out-of-the-way place (like a crate or bed) to retreat when they need to leave the room.

Deep clean your bathroom

A dirty bathroom is really gross. One of the worst things you can encounter during a stay is your host's hair, or worse, bodily fluids in their bathroom. To keep things welcoming for guests and save both of you from embarrassment, ensure your restroom is in tip-top shape before they arrive. According to CNN, achieving a clean bathroom doesn't have to be an all-day ordeal. If you have last-minute guests on their way, you can get things ready in as little as 10 minutes. The best way to achieve this is to clean your bathroom just a little bit at the end of each day. This tip prevents the mess from building up and becoming overwhelming. If you give the toilet a once over with the brush and take out the trash each evening, you'll find your bathroom hardly ever feels dirty.

In addition to cleaning, you'll want to invest in a multi-purpose surface cleaner, a roll of paper towels, and a small broom and dustpan for your bathroom. If your guests are on their way, spray down all hard surfaces with the cleaner, wipe them off with a paper towel, and give the floor a quick sweep. Things will look good as new before you know it.

Consider using an autonomous vacuum

Even when you don't have guests staying over, keeping up with vacuuming your home can be exhausting. A great way to keep things clean and your sanity intact is to purchase an autonomous vacuum. Your home will almost be cleaning itself, and you don't have to worry about dirt and dander.

According to Homeowner FAQs, these household essentials are sometimes called robot vacuums and have been around since the 1990s. They are easy to set up (you need to plug them in), and after that, they are self-sufficient. The same vacuum works just as well on tile as wood and carpet floors, so you don't have to worry about one area of your home not being cleaned. Finally, robot vacuums can be programmed to avoid certain areas of your home and can even recognize stairs and other elevated areas, so they won't fall and break themselves.

Stock up on household supplies

In addition to extra toiletries and food for guests, you'll also want to have household staples on hand. Think about it this way: if you were staying at a mid-level hotel and the front desk would provide you with an item, you should also have it on hand for your guests.

According to 101 Days of Organization, items like toilet paper, paper towels, tape, envelopes, stamps, and period supplies will help you build your kit. In addition to these items, it's also a good idea to have a fully stocked first aid kit available. If you don't want to have a separate kit for your guest room, consider restocking your medicine cabinet. You'll need to have things for wounds like gauze and bandages, as well as pain relievers and fever reducers. Add remedies for allergies and an upset stomach, and you will be off to a great start.

Purchase an air diffuser

Essential oils can provide several health benefits, plus they smell really great — in a more subtle way than most candles. So, if you don't want your guests tending to an open flame in your home, consider purchasing a diffuser for the guest room instead.

According to Martha Stewart, there is a reason aromatherapy makes us feel so much better. Good smells can trigger a warm response from the amygdala, the part of the brain that regulates our emotions. This effect leaves us feeling calm and relaxed. This stress reduction improves our overall mental and physical health. Of course, aromatherapy should always be part of a complete health plan. Keep in mind that you can have too much of a good thing. For example, if you run your essential oil diffuser without breaks, the oils and vapors might irritate your lungs. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for best use.