We LOVE having our friends and family come and stay with us! Over the eight years we’ve lived here in sunny CA, we've hosted so many loved ones. (Might as well call our house the “Hotel California!”)
This holiday break we had 9 extra people stay at our house, so 15 people total! It it felt just like the movie Home Alone, without actually leaving our 9 year old at home. All break we kept repeating the mom’s quote to Kevin saying “there are 15 people in this house and you’re the only one that has to cause trouble!” But we had no trouble, nobody sleeping on rubber sheets, nobody sleeping in an attic and our house was full of JOY.
We've had a great amount of experiences hosting people over the years and have picked up on a few tips to make the stay cozy for all our guests. Even the small, little things can make a huge difference when hosting!! Here are some of my BEST tips on how to be a good host… these are ways to make your overnight guests feel comfortable and right at home, in your home.
In a hurry? Go straight to my picks below!
A warm welcome
The first tip on “how to be a good host:” after a long day of travel, let your guests get all settled in! Help them feel comfortable by showing them where they’ll be sleeping, where they can put their luggage, where to freshen up and shower, etc. Give them a minute to put their stuff away and freshen up – I know when I’m traveling I just want some time to relax and get settled!
Right away, give them the wifi password and any codes that might be important to know, like the keypad on the door, so they can come and go as they want.
Also, let them know of any routines or things they might want to be aware of. For us, our littles nap from 1-4 p.m. so we might let our guests know that we try to be quieter during that time. OVERcommunicate if you have to!! The more they know, the more comfortable they’ll be in your home.
Have a game plan (& a backup!)
Let's take a sec to talk about how to be a good host when it comes to activities. When my guests arrive we usually sit down and make a game plan – ask them what they want to do while they’re visiting, what plans they already have, what plans you have, etc.
I’ve noticed that it can be overwhelming for visitors when you halt your life and plan to just hang out with them the whole time (obviously sometimes that’s appropriate)!! But often if your guests didn’t come alone and have their spouse or family, give them the option of having alone time to do things they want – maybe a walk on the beach or a day at Disneyland! Basically just be flexible.
And HAVE IDEAS! The last couple of times my sister visited, I realized I could be better about having ideas for my guests to do when they have free time. Since you’re the host and are familiar with the area, they might look to you and ask what they should do or where they should go.
I’ve learned how important it is to make a list of at least 3-4 things you can all do together if they have time where they haven't made plans. No more wasting vacation time and hours trying to decide what to do!
The little things
It’s in the details that your guests will feel comfy and right at home!
In the guest room, it’s super important to have really accessible places to plug stuff in. I hate trying to search my hotel room or Airbnb for outlets and having to dig behind the bed in tight corners – so I try to make it super easy for guests to have convenient outlets. Easy tip: have an extension cord with USB ports!
I also like to have a small alarm clock in my guest rooms. I found this one that’s slim, low profile, and very clean looking! Just nice to have a clock for guests to glance at or set an alarm. It has USB ports, too!
Now, this isn’t a must have, but a nice to have: a bedside lamp! We love these little dimmers that are SO easy to install (peep them in my what's on my nightstand post too). It’s perfect for guests to be able to adjust their lighting and use the lamp for reading at night or just more light in the room.
There are always little things we have to throw away whether it’s a wrapper from a bar, a tag from a new shirt, or some plastic packaging. Create a clear place to put trash with a small inexpensive trash can in each guest room!
Create a cozy guest room
A MAJOR tip on how to be a good host: if your guests are in an area with their own control over the temperature, show them where they can change the temperature and how. If one thermostat covers the entire house, ask your guests what temperature they prefer! If there’s a fan show them how to turn it on, or if you open the windows let them know. Basically, help them get all comfy at night!
And… EXTRA blankets!!! I love putting an extra blanket in each room for a cozy touch. You can never have too many blankets in my opinion! And this will ensure that your guests will NEVER get too cold sleeping.
I first tried this highly rated mattress from Amazon and it was TERRIBLE. I have absolutely no idea how they found more than 1,000 friends to say it was awesome because it was anything but that. We unrolled it and laid on it and immediately sank to the ground – literally felt thinner than a foam mattress topper.
So we spent a tiny bit more on one of our tried and true FAVE mattresses! My brother and his wife didn’t have enough good things to say about it. My brother Jake literally said at the end of his stay, “Hey Corrine, you SERIOUSLY undersold how amazing that mattress was when you told us you just bought it. Seriously it was SO COMFY.” Providing a comfy night of sleep is SO important when we host guests!
With the mattress, we used our favorite Cariloha sheets (use code MINTARROW for 30% off). All throughout the house we had these sheets or Beddy's on each of the beds! You know how much I LOVE Beddy's (use code MINTARROW at checkout for 20% off!) and it makes it so easy for guests to just zip up the bedding to make their bed each morning. If you're wondering how to be a good host when it comes to sleeping arrangements, I promise that Cariloha and Beddy's will change your hosting game!
TIP: When setting up kids’ bedrooms (like Lyla's old room, that's now Millie's room!) get a queen size bed if you can fit it! So, when guests come, your littles can double up and your guests can use their bedroom. We were able to have my sister and her husband stay in Millie's room because it had a queen bed, and Millie bunked up with her big sisters!
Some guest room essentials
A must have – at least when my parents come – is having an accessible amount of tissues in their room. They have them all around their house and so we always make sure they feel right at home with tissues on their bedside table, and I like making sure they look cute, too!
I just bought THIS super fluffy set from Amazon and they're AMAZING.
Along with towels, it's a NECESSITY that you have shampoo, conditioner, and body wash in each bathroom. Don’t expect your guests to bring their own. I even have a blow dryer and curling iron available, so my family knows they don’t have to pack any of that!
Having a mirror in your guest room is so nice to have (but not a must-have)! I try to make sure that we have a full-length mirror by the door in our guest room, so our guests can get ready and check their outfit before leaving their room. We got ours from Target and it isn’t too expensive!
Something we added this last time was a very cheap laundry basket for our guests. Perfect for when you have guests staying for a longer period of time, so they can just throw their dirty clothes in the basket and bring it to the wash! Makes it SO easy for them to do their laundry.
How to be a good host: prepare & relax!!
Hosting overnight guests can be intimidating. But with prep beforehand, and following some of these tips, you won’t have to worry when your guests arrive. Remember, if you’re stressed, your guests will be, too. So relax – with these tips I promise they’ll feel right at home in no time!