Do you love having out-of-town friends and relatives stay at your place when they come to visit? While most loved ones are happy enough to crash in a comfy bed and spend time catching up, there is an art to getting your home ready for guests so that they feel at home during their stay.
After all, your home and suburb may be familiar to you, but if it's the first time guests are visiting, it can be quite disorienting. The fewer questions your house guests have to ask (such as: where are the stores? Where is the closest bus stop? Where do you keep cups and mugs?), the more relaxed they'll feel, and the more time you'll have to talk about more important things. We asked a pair of experts to put together a seven-step checklist of things to do to prepare your home for house guests. It goes without saying that giving your home a quick clean before you get started will make things a whole lot easier.
1. Get the guest bedroom and bathroom in order.
Clear away as many of your personal belongings as possible from the areas your guests will be using, such as the bedroom and bathroom."Empty a drawer in the bedroom, make space in the wardrobe and leave extra hangers so they can unpack. Make sure there's space in a wardrobe or under the bed, so they can store their empty suitcases," says Abbie Allen, personal concierge and founder of Lifestyle Elements.
Mastering the logistics is key, says Angie Kelso, CEO of Platinum Housekeeping. "Remove your items from the bathroom counter, so guests can put their toiletries on the vanity," she says. "It's also a nice touch to leave a laundry bag for their washing."
"On the day your guests arrive, open the windows in the bedroom so that the space smells fresh and clean."
2. See the room through their eyes.
"Pretend you're a visitor in your own home and spend a night in the guest room," says Angie. "Is it too hot? Quiet enough? Is the bed comfy? If you aren't comfortable, your guests won't be either."
The simplest way to make the bed look inviting is with "fresh crisp white bed linen to make an impact", says Angie.
3. Add creature comforts.
"Add extra pillows and a throw. Leave freshly folded towels and face wash on the end of the bed." "If your guests have children, find out beforehand if they'll need a travel cot or mattress on the floor," says Abbie.
Make sure bedside lamps are easily accessible and "leave tissues, water, a clock, phone charger, notepad, and pen on the bedside table", says Abbie.
Finally, make the room feel luxurious. "Provide some current mags to read, a scented candle and place a vase of flowers on the dressing table."
It's not expensive to make your bathroom feel like a hotel. "Supply plenty of clean soft, fluffy towels," says Angie. "A good trick is to color code towels for each person so they can keep the same ones for the duration of their stay."
4. Don't forget toiletries.
Before guests arrive, let them know they can save space in their suitcase by leaving basic toiletries at home. "Leave full bottles of shower gel, shampoo, and conditioner in the bathroom. Put soap, hand lotion, moisturizer, room freshener, facial wipes, and a hairdryer in a basket."
It's not just about the glamour factor, though. The practical things are just as important. "Make sure the plugs for the bath and washbasin are easy to find," says Abbie. "Ensure there is plenty of loo roll that's easily accessible so guests don't have to ask you for it.
A container of cleaning wipes under the sink is also handy in case people like to wipe down the sink or countertop after they've used it. Make sure there is a bin, and the toilet brush is clean." Adding a bunch of flowers to the bathroom vanity is an easy way to keep it fresh and vibrant.
5. The Finer Details
"Give your guests their own set of keys so they can come and go as they please," says Abbie. "They'll feel more at home if they don't have to ring the doorbell every time they come in. Don't forget to give them the code for any alarms you might have, show them how to work them, and mention where you hide spare keys in case of an emergency."
Give your guests all the info, such as your phone number and address. "It's handy for them to have these details in case they get lost or catch a taxi home," she says.
If you won't be at home the whole time your guests are, then put together an information folder so they can navigate both your house and the neighboring area. "Include a local map, things to do, points of interest, directions to the nearest coffee shop, shopping center, park, local gym, pool, or beach," says Angie.
"If they'll be using public transport, buy a travel card topped up with $20, instructions on how to use it, directions to the closest bus/train/ferry and timetables, plus phone numbers of taxi companies. Leave any important phone numbers for family and friends, and emergency numbers for the electrician, plumber, security, doctor, and dentist. Also give them the wi-fi password, instructions for the oven, microwave, coffee machine, and air conditioning."
6. Communication is key.
Let them know what your daily routine is so they know what to expect.
"Note your shower times, breakfast routine and, if you are working, what time you leave and expect to arrive home," says Angie.
"Don't forget to let them know what day a cleaner or gardener comes, so they don't get a fright!"
7. Stock the fridge and pantry.
Before your guests arrive, find out if they have any special food requests or allergies, and stock up on anything they might need – even if it's something you don't like. "Show them where to find tea, coffee, and snacks," says Abbie.
"Let them know the spots for cups and plates or leave a couple out on the benchtop so they can find them easily. Have a supply of breakfast items, including fresh fruit, in stock. If there are kids staying, mini cereal boxes are always a hit."
Don't neglect the drinks, either. "Ensure you have plenty of soft and alcoholic drinks available," adds Angie. "Fill your pantry with extra champagne, beer and wine, plus nibbles to go with them. Keep a couple of small bottles of water in the fridge for them to take when they venture out and about."
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.