Whether it’s a loved one you’ve known for years or someone you’ve never actually met, preparing your home for guests can be an extremely stressful experience with a lot to consider. There are some key questions you need figure out before starting planning; including, “what’s the occasion?”, “do I want to introduce a theme?”, “who and how many people are coming?” plus many more. Once you figure out the fundamentals of what your guests stay will be, you can then crack on, building an environment and experience they’ll adore.
We’ve put together some brilliant suggestions for how you can become a supreme host, meticulously impressing your guests throughout. These tips will help you devise a space where your guests not only feel comfortable but want to stay, whether that be for dinner or overnight. A lot of guests you host will be those you’ve already got a good repour with, so it is important to retain your personality within the home and not treat it like a hotel, even if your visitors might.
Declutter and Decorate
There’s nothing worse than entering a home filled with junk and miscellaneous items dotted around the place without a semblance of thought or care. Clearing clutter should be the first step in preparing for guests, going from room to room with a bin bag and duster. As there will most likely be more people present than usual, the safety of your home should be a key consideration.
The kitchen is an area that undoubtably attracts a hefty amount of disorganisation. Sorting out mess as you cook is a simple way of maintaining a constantly clean kitchen, not allowing it to all build up until the very end. Spillages should be dealt with as a priority. This is because they become harder to clean the longer you leave it, with the possibility of a lingering odour. Having a specific location for all utensils and food items maintains the organisation of a kitchen and prevents items getting lost or going stale.
If you’re serving a meal, the surroundings in which you and your guests dine heavily impacts on whether the experience is enjoyable or not. Think about the amount of space at your dinner table and if you might need to move things around to accommodate your guests. Mopping or sweeping the floor and giving your dining table a wipe down are essential steps in creating a desirable eating space. Even if you think it might not need it, it certainly makes a difference. There’s a lot of elements that make up successful dining décor such as napkins, tablecloths, and centrepieces, with a constant theme throughout creating an aesthetic display.
Provide sophistication to your dining table by adopting the formal way to set your table that alters depending on what you’re eating. Supplying your guests with all the utensils they will need at their fingertips streamlines the dining experience for your visitors. If you want to add extra elegance to your set up, place cards are both a decorative component but also a practical device that helps your guests find their seats. The colours and ornaments you use to decorate your dining table will vary depending on the theme or occasion. If there isn’t a particular event you’re celebrating, choose a couple of bold colours and impress your guests by showing off your artistic and creative side to create a display full of texture and life.
It’s All About the Ambience
At its core, ambience comprises of creating an experience through a spaces character, atmosphere, appearance, feel and mood. Certain attributes from a person’s experience remain with them, reminding them of the time they had. The more unique the setup is through décor and furniture, the more memorable your evening will become. It’s all in the detail; from the food to the dress code and even the music. The first step in preparing an unforgettable environment is deciding on what kind of ambience you wish to provide; whether that be relaxed and informal, glamourous and deluxe, or a combination of both.
A home shouldn’t just be visually pleasing, but a multi-layered sensory experience. This ranges from the textures on a dining table to the scent in the bedroom. Creating an immersive experience in every room through sight, touch, smell, taste, and sound allows you to form a specific environment that’s fit for your guests. Replacing unpleasant and overpowering lighting for warm bulbs or candles will provide a relaxing space that your guests feel comfortable in.
When leaving your residents to stay elsewhere, you might find yourself longing for some home comforts that provide you with a warm fondness. This is especially true when travelling great distances for a long period of time. If you already know your visitors then it shouldn’t be too difficult, just get what you know they like. However, if you aren’t too familiar with the person or group of guests that are staying with you, do some research about their background and what they like; this can be done by simply asking them, but you will lose the surprise aspect. Collating a selection of food, drink, and artwork that is symbolic to the people visiting is an excellent way of personalising their stay and subsequently improving the relationship between the guests and host. Present these items in an interesting, innovative way with a hamper basket an option that’s sure to bowl over and impress. Retaining a balance is still important, as you don’t want to come across obsessed.
Bedroom and Bathroom
There are numerous elements to examine when forming a guest’s bedroom design. This ranges from ensuring the bedding is of high quality and clean to making space in the wardrobe and drawers. No one wants to stay in an untidy room so it’s essential you have a thorough clean, removing any dust and dirt you find. Creating space for your guests’ luggage and belongings helps to improve their organisation, enabling them to hang and put away clothes ready for the next day. If your guest has something important to do during their stay, placing clothes on hangers prevents creasing and will likely be something they will want to do. When decorating the room, it is important to keep it simple and not go overboard with the wall art or ornaments. Less is more in this case, allowing your room to be used for a variety of guests. However, you don’t want it to feel like a prison, so touches of character that balance the room make your guest feel welcomed without it feeling overbearing.
When it comes to guest bedrooms, many people tend to ignore the space until a guest is set to stay, proceeding to do what they can with little contemplation. A method to ensure your guests room is up to par is by simply staying in it for a night or two. Doing this allows you to gain a true understanding of what the pros and cons of the room are, empowering you to make changes as you see fit. When you’re cleaning the room, creating a checklist that should be adhered to every time you’re getting it ready for a guest. This allows you to set standards and consistently meet them.
Without regular cleaning, the bathroom can become an extremely dirty area that can contain as much as 450 bacteria per square inch. Firstly, you should remove all clutter and replace nearly empty bottles. This ensures your guest will have everything they require without having to inspect multiple products. Most people prefer to bring their own toiletries, but it is easy to forget the odd item. If you stock supplies ready for your visitors, it can be extremely convenient for your guest that relieves any potential stress. Next, you want to go from top to bottom in your bathroom, thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting every surface. You’ll want to pay particular attention cleansing the toilet seat and mirror whilst also making sure the bin is empty and has a fresh liner inside. Checking that everything functions properly should be your next port of call by examining the bathroom sink, light fixtures, shower, toilet and even the cupboards. After all, the last thing you want is for your guest to be without hot water or a toilet that flushes. After doing all of this, your bathroom should not only be sparkling but also have a fresh scent that is largely dependent on what cleaning products you are using. To create a spa-like experience for your guests you can choose a peppermint, ginger, or eucalyptus type fragrance.
Plan, Relax and Prioritise Your Guests
There are plenty of factors to consider once agreeing to host and it can certainly be a nerve-wracking endeavour. Ensuring you have a plan that includes a timeline of what needs to be completed before your guests arrive will put you on the right track for success. Each person’s plan will be unique to them and their home, with the end goal often the same; to create a warm and welcoming space for your guests to enjoy and relax in. A good place to begin your preparation is focusing on the first impression. Make sure your home is well lit and easily accessible with parking space available is necessary. You don’t want your visitors scrambling around searching for your front door or somewhere to park else you’re already off to a bleak start. The first impression really comes into play once your guests enter your hallway. Design an interior where they can put their shoes, coats, and other belongings so they don’t feel like they’re invading your personal space. Offering slippers upon arrival will make your guests feel relaxed and comfortable from the minute they step into your home.
The way you act around your guest can be massively influential to how they behave and enjoy their experience. The most important advice is to be your true self. When someone’s visiting your home, they are aren’t expecting to be waited on hand and foot as if they’re in a five-star hotel. You’re more than entitled to have a to have a good time as the host, with the hope being that your guests feeling comfortable enough to approach to you if they need anything or have an issue. If you appear frantic and unorganised, your guests will become uneasy and feel like an inconvenience. So, relax, handle any problems in a clam demeanour and your guests are sure to have a laid back and delightful experience.
Being yourself doesn’t require much preparation, but you can certainly do your research on your guests. Find out what similarities you might share, any dietary requirements they have and what they’re planning to do during their visit; potentially organising other activities around what they’ve already got on. You want to find the balance between being caring and attentive whilst also giving them their own space. Each guest will differ in their expectation and behaviour, so treating it on a case-by-case basis is a pragmatic solution.
Whilst there is a lot you need to keep in mind when preparing for guests, the more you do it the easier it will get. Create checklists that can act as formulas for future hosting opportunities, learning from past experiences. It’s likely you won’t do everything perfectly, but calmy resolve and take on board what went wrong, focusing on how you can improve next time. Going the extra mile is always a good way of ensuring your guests feel valued and well looked after. Devise a list of activities in the area or leave snacks in their room, adding a personal touch that will make your visitors stay extra special. You can have your guests eager to stay all year round by following some basic steps, remembering to learn and adapt along the way.