I really enjoy having company come and stay at my home overnight. It's fun for me to share my home and I love having the opportunity spend more than just a few hours with some of my friends and family who I may not see very often. When prepping for any houseguest, I have a mental checklist that I usually go through to ensure that I am prepped and ready for my guests arrival. Going beyond cleaning the house and putting out fresh flowers, this checklist helps to ensure that my guests are made to feel comfortable during their stay at my home.
One of the first things I do to prepare for a houseguest is set up a water station by their bedside. I always get that parched feeling in the middle of the night and keep water at my bedside, so why wouldn't I provide this amenity to my guest? I like to put out a large bottle of sparkling water with either 1 or 2 glasses (on coasters) depending on the number of guests in the room. If you would prefer to put out flat water, using a water carafe is always a great form of presentation and can save on tabletop space.
Hygienically speaking, just like razor blades and tooth brushes, towels are one of those personal care items that should never be shared. Your guest should not have to fumble around the bathroom to find a towel to use when washing his/her face or a wash cloth when bathing. I like to lay a set of towels at the foot of my guest's bed prior to their arrival. For a male guest, I will lay out a bath towel, hand towel and wash cloth. If I am hosting a female guest I will lay out 2 bath towels (one to dry her hair), a hand towel and a wash cloth.
Coffee is very personal to each individual. We all have our preferences for how we take our coffee and/or tea in the morning and your guest is no exception. When possible, I will try to get in contact with my guest prior to their arrival to find out how they take their coffee in the morning. Having the right sweeteners and creamers on hand for your guests adds a very thoughtful touch that will help your guests to feel more comfortable.
In addition to asking my guests prior to their arrival about their coffee preferences, I will also ask about any dietary restrictions and favorite foods. Since most of my guests typically arrive after work, I like to have enough food for an impromptu cocktail hour (see my post on Cocktail Party Preparedness - Food & Beverage). In addition, I also like to have a few breakfast items on hand. Some of my favorite breakfast staples to serve my guests include Ina Garten's Sour Cream Coffee Cake, Perfectly Perfect French Toast and/or my Sun-Dried Tomato, Feta and Wilted Kale Frittata.
"Mi Casa es Su Casa"
This is a mantra I learned from watching my mom host houseguests over the years and I think it is great! The goal of hosting houseguests is always to make them feel welcome and to have an enjoyable stay. If at the onset you tell your guest "mi casa es su casa" (my house is your house…meaning "make yourself at home") and to feel free to open the refrigerator, use the television, laundry, etc..whatever. You will instantly create a more welcoming and comfortable environment for your guests to feel at home in your home.
There are plenty of great resources available to aid you in preparing for your houseguests (like these checklists from Real Simple and Martha Stewart). It's easy to get carried away with preparations, but I always make a point a reigning myself in and keeping my preparations reasonable. The last thing my guests want is to be greeted by a tired and stressed out hostess, so I have found that sticking to my own checklist has been the best way to ensuring that my guests are comfortable and I am not completely exhausted before they even arrive!