I am prepping our house for my parents’ arrival at the end of this week.  I have always enjoyed being a hostess for parties, dinners and overnight guests.  This will be the first time for my mom to visit our house so I plan to make it extra special.  Here are a few of my tips that I have learned along the way from friends and family to help you make your hosting experience a success.

1.  Don’t stress.  Your house can’t always be perfect – so don’t spend the entire time cleaning.  You will miss out on good conversation and your guests will have a hard time relaxing and feeling welcome.  Pick up as you go but remember you can always wash the dishes after you have had dessert.

2.  Give a quick tour.  Make sure your guests know their way around your home and feel comfortable doing it on their own.  You want them to feel like they can grab something from the linen closet without having to ask.

3.  Provide extra toiletries.  This is one of my favorites!  Flying nowadays, especially for my parents who rarely take anything but a carry on, becomes quite difficult when trying to pack toiletries.  Make a quick trip to Target and purchase a few $ items (toothbrush, razor, shaving cream, toothpaste, mouthwash, body wash and sponge, deodarant, etc.) and put them in a cute cosmetic bag and leave it on the counter.  Whatever is leftover and unused, save for your next guest or pack with you on your next vacation.

4.  Keep coffee, tea, cream and sugar on hand.  Coffee has always been a necessity for my family.  Make sure your guests know where you store it and how to use your coffee maker – just in case they wake up before you.  Nothing is worse than having your guests suffer from a migraine due to a lack of caffeine.

5.  Put things out.  Put towels, wash cloths and all other shower items out for your guests – you can either lay them out on a cute garden seat next to the tub or place them on a chair next to the bed.  If you have an extra hair dryer, put it in one of the drawers in the bathroom or if you have enough counter space you can leave it out – just try and make sure you don’t clutter the countertop.

Make sure your guests know where the food, plates and cutlery are located and be sure to let them know that they are welcome to whatever is in the pantry.  One thing to note, if you rarely grocery shop like my husband and I, you might consider making a special grocery store visit to pick up some extra items that you wouldn’t typically have in the pantry.  It’s better to have too much food than not enough!

6.  Turn the TV off and put away the cell phone.  I prefer to have everything off while eating dinner and socializing.  Background music is okay but the majority of electronics can be very distracting and can make guests feel very uncomfortable and unwelcome.  Focus on your guests, ask open-ended questions and keep the conversation going – rather than “liking” the cute instagram photo you just saw or texting your friends.  Most of all, be attentive and engaging but don’t be overbearing.

7.  Offer refreshments.  Traveling can leave one exhausted, dehydrated and famished!  Put some chilled water (bottle or in a crystal glass) next to the bed, add a welcome note, and lastly put out a few snacks (granola bar, banana, nuts) so your guests have something to munch on while unpacking.

If your guests like to enjoy wine with their dinner, be sure to have a bottle on hand (even if you don’t drink).  Wine can help lighten the mood but will also bring out the delicious flavors in your food!

8.  Add some special touches.  You know your guests better than me so think about what they like and add a few of those things, (within reason) such as a mint or chocolate on their pillow upon their arrival. My dad LOVES looking at real estate books whenever he visits so I’ll put a couple of those on the bed for him.  My mom LOVES to shop so I’ll hunt down some coupons for her and put those out as well.

9.  Light a candle. The last time that my best friend came into town, I put a candle in the room that smelled great…that was until I lit it.  So if you’re going to add a scent make sure you try it out first!  You might also include a candle in the bathroom along with some matches or even just a can of air freshener (especially if you only have one bathroom).

10.  Be flexible.  Remember, this is their vacation, not yours.  Yes, you might be taking vacation time but they are here to see you and visit your town.  A week before they arrive, write down some activities that you think they might enjoy and make those suggestions to them but be willing to do what your guests want to do.

These are just some of my favorite tips for hosting houseguests.  Again, I want to re-emphasize tip #1 – nothing is worse than staying with someone who is stressed the entire time so please remember to try and enjoy yourself.  Your guests are here to visit you, not your house!

I’ll add some pictures later this week!

What are your favorite tips?  Comment below!






  • Jen says:

    I love the note about leaving things out for guests! I had my husbands grandparents in for an evening and didn’t remember to put the towels out. His poor grandma couldn’t find the right closet that held them and embarrassingly ended up using a small hand towel to dry off. I was mortified!!

    • MLLAdmin says:

      Thank you!! I always forget to put out hangers for my dad…every time he ends up asking. I guess there always has to be something!

  • Kim says:

    You are a splendid hostess- you really do make people feel welcome in your home and put things at ease. Great tips!

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