There’s nothing better than coming back to your hotel room and seeing fresh, fluffy towels and a little chocolate on the pillow. The little things really go a long way while traveling, but top notch service and attention to detail doesn’t have to stop on vacation. If you’re having guests over, whether it’s for dinner or a weekend visit, you can make your home as inviting as any five-star residence — and you don’t have to break the bank. To get the best advice for making your guest feel like the best host ever, we tapped interior designers and home experts. Read on for their easy tips.
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It is important to be warm and inviting as soon as your guests arrive. If they stay overnight, Kevin Wang, interior designer and co-founder of Inyouths LED Mirrors, suggests creating a welcome basket that you can give at the door or at a spot in the room where they’ll be staying. It can include items such as toiletries, water bottles, small snacks, or a small note. “This will make your guests feel thought of and cared from the start,” he says.
If you’re only having people over for the evening, it’s still important to make them feel right at home right away. Make sure you know their arrival time and meet them at the door with delicious refreshments in hand. “Welcome them with a smile, offer to take their coat, and show them where they can put their belongings,” he says Stacy Lewis Interior designer and owner of Eternity Modern.
You probably won’t be able to completely revamp your space, but a simple upgrade of one or two walls in your guest bedroom can go from room to room stunning. And you can easily tackle these projects in a day or two.
Christina Crane, founder of Perpetuum Designs, suggests creating an accent wall, either by painting it or adding wallpaper (stick-on wallpaper is easier). “They’re not very expensive and can add a ‘hotel’ feel to your room.”
Crane also says that adding large framed pictures on the wall will go a long way in warming up the space. Black and white art or photos will stand out against a colored wall, and if the wallpaper isn’t too bright, bold pieces will complement the room nicely.
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“Your guests should be able to relax in your home, so make sure they have everything they need to be comfortable,” he says. Jane Stark, founder of Happy DIY Home. This includes plenty of blankets and pillows. Not only are they useful (especially if guests are staying the night or if it’s cold outside), but they add that perfect cozy atmosphere to a room.
Try to find a place to store your blankets and pillows where your guests can easily access them. It can be an ottoman in the living room, a bedside table or a basket in the guest room. Stark suggests coordinating colors and patterns with your existing home décor and exploring different materials like velvet or faux fur if you’re looking to maximize the space.
By chatting with your guests before they visit, you’ll understand their expectations, and you can tailor their stay accordingly.
“Find out if they have any allergies or special needs so you’re prepared,” says Wang. This also makes your preparations easier, as you’ll know exactly what to pick up at the grocery store or drugstore.
Lewis believes that it is also important to know their hobbies and interests. “This will help you plan activities that they will enjoy while they are staying with you,” she says. Once you know what they like, you can locate your favorite local restaurants or stores to take them to.
Read this next: 6 last-minute things to do before guests are over, experts say.
While you can’t control everything, you can do your best to get all of your preparation work out of the way before the guests arrive. Doing small tasks like vacuuming, washing linens, making the beds, and stocking the fridge will ultimately simplify the process.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, create a simple to-do list. “If you know your guests are coming, take some time to plan ahead,” says Stark. “This includes preparing food and beverages, as well as making sure there are no potential hazards in your home.”
Aside from standard cleaning and shopping tasks, little things like opening windows to let in fresh air or organizing a playlist for when guests arrive can make all the difference.
A good host knows it’s important to balance your time with the guests. “Be available if they need anything, but give them space to do their own thing,” Lewis advises.
However, that doesn’t mean you should skimp on the little details that make guests feel comfortable and excited. “When they’re ready to leave, send them a little something they remember you by, like a homemade candy or a small token of your appreciation,” Wang suggests. If you’re having a lot of fun, leave a guest book in the room that everyone can use to share their favorite parts of their stay.