10 Things You Need to Do Before Houseguests Arrive

Bottles of water on bedside table

Preparing for houseguests doesn't have to be hard, but there are some simple things you can do to make a big impact. The Southern hostess wants her guests to feel welcome from the time they arrive to the time they say their goodbyes. You will want to make a good impression from the moment they step through the door. An impression that your mother would be proud of you for making. During the holiday season, preparing for houseguests can be an after-thought. It is important to make sure you've checked these things off your list before they arrive. You'll need to prepare the room where they will be staying, while also planning for the time they're with you. The trick is making sure they don't feel bored but do feel relaxed. You'll want to make them feel at home, but also taken care of. From a stack of extra blankets to a simple handwritten note, it is easy to make your houseguests' stay enjoyable.

01 of 10

Break Out the Mrs. Meyers

Mrs. Meyers Dish Soap

Deep clean the bathrooms, and remove all traces of your yellow lab. A clean house is a welcoming one.

02 of 10

Make Room For Your Guests

White Bedroom with Blue Comforter
Photo: Laurey W. Glenn

Is your guest room closet crammed with wrapping paper, 1980s evening gowns, out of season clothes, and moth balls? That won't do at all. People need room for coats in the closet, empty dresser drawers, and a luggage rack in order to comfortably settle in.

03 of 10

Declutter, Declutter, Declutter

Packing Boxes
Van Chaplin

The reason hotel rooms feel so dreamy? They're stripped down to the essentials. Think of your guest room as a boutique hotel with slightly more personal touches. And remove anything embarrassing or personal—even a robe on the back of the bathroom door—from shared baths.

04 of 10

Write a Welcome Note


A handwritten note shows that your guest's visit is a delight, not an imposition. And it's just plain Southern.

05 of 10

Stock the Bedside Table

Bottles of water on bedside table

Bottled water, some well-chosen reading material, dried fruit or chocolate, and the all-important wi-fi code are truly thoughtful essentials. Fresh flowers—or even greenery clipped from your yard in a vase—add a magical touch.

06 of 10

Remember the Things They Forgot

Toothbrush and Toothpaste
Van Chaplin

Make a just-in-case basket with extra toothbrushes, small bottles of shampoo & conditioner, lip balm, and hair ties. Place it on top of a stack of fluffy towels at the end of the bed.

07 of 10

Pile on the Blankets and Pillows

Blanket and Pillow
Ralph Anderson

Better to give too many than too few blankets—people can always remove the extra layers to their comfort. And with pillows, some folks like thin wafers and some like big, squishy ones, so a little variety is nice.

08 of 10

Prepare a Welcome Snack

Microwave Snack Mix
Van Chaplin

There's nothing like a simple meal—even a sandwich paired with a glass of Champagne—to help weary travelers shake off the journey and make them feel at home.

09 of 10

Set Up a Self-service Coffee Station

Coffee Cup
Beth Dreiling Hontzas

Some guests rise early, some stay up late. But no one wants to knock on your door because they can't find the coffee filters. Make it easy for them to help themselves.

10 of 10

Have a Loose Schedule in Mind

Six Pence Pub Savannah, GA
Peter Frank Edwards

As the host, it's important to have an idea of how the days and nights will unfold: Which meals are you preparing, and what time will they be served? You may want to involve your guests in activities and outings and show them around. Or you may want to give them the space to nap and read or explore on their own and meet up for dinner. Either way, having a plan—and communicating it to your guests—enables everyone to look forward to things and relax.

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