8 Little Things to Do to Make Guests Feel Welcome in Your Home

updated May 1, 2019
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As we come up into entertaining season, a lot of us are expecting houseguests. Whether they’re spending the night or just stopping by for dinner, there are certain things you can do to make your visitors feel extra welcome in your home. Here are a few.

1. Stock up.

While you certainly aren’t expected to buy all of your guests’ favorite foods, it’s nice to stock up on a few things you know they like. Easy items like yogurt for breakfast or a couple of snacks are best. Reach out ahead of time to make sure they don’t have any allergies or other food needs you can address, and spend that extra $5 to have almond milk on hand when they arrive.

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2. Give them some space.

Not just in the day’s schedule — although most overnight guests appreciate some time alone to take in your city or just have some down time — but within your home. Make sure there’s room for them to stash their coats and shoes (if yours is a shoe-less home) upon arrival. If folks are spending the night, make sure there’s an obvious place for them to open their suitcase and stash their toiletries.

3. Offer them a drink.

Once people get through the door and are settled, ask if they need a drink. The list of options can include (but should not be limited to) beer, wine, a cocktail, and water. If your new arrivals have never been to your house, get them a drink first and then start the tour if they want one.

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4. Help them help themselves.

Make it easy for your guests to help themselves to simple stuff like water, coffee, snacks, and more. For overnight guests, have breakfast stuff out or in an easy-to-find place. If your guests will be chilling at home while you finish out the workday, make sure a bottle of wine is out or your bar cart is stocked. Consider adding an “Open me!” sign to make sure they know they can pour it out themselves.

5. Give out the WiFi password.

Even though people may have unlimited data plans, it’s still nice to be able to connect to WiFi. Write the password on a notecard and set it out on the coffee table so that people can connect without having to ask you to repeat yourself a million times. (It’s capital A5 dash what?)

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6. Swap in clean linens.

Obviously your guests are going to want clean sheets to sleep on, but go around the house to set out clean hand towels, kitchen linens, and sponges, too. First of all, it’s gross not to (because we know most of us don’t clean these things as often as we’re supposed to) and second of all, it may make them more inclined to pitch in with cleanup.

7. Declutter common spaces.

Declutter your kitchen countertops, your bathroom vanity, your coffee tables, etc. Even if you’re not going to do a deep clean, make it clear that you’re expecting guests and have made an effort to tidy up your home for them — and not like they just happened to walk in and you’re totally surprised to see them.

8. But avoid the museum effect.

If your house is totally pristine, it can be a stressful place for guests to be. They’ll be so nervous, trying not to mess anything up! Resist the urge to run after your guests straightening the pillows. If there’s anything you’re worried about getting damaged (say, a bunch of tchotchkes that happen to be at your nephew’s eye level), just put it away before they get there. You don’t want to have to police people in your own home, and they don’t want to worry, either.

What else do you do to welcome guests?