Expecting a few houseguests this holiday season? Create a space that will make them feel both welcome and comfortable. Tick off these tips as you go…
Clear some room – Empty out drawers, cupboards and shelves so your guests don’t have to live out of their suitcases. Leave a set of hangers in the wardrobe, clean and dust the room, and relocate clutter as well as any ‘fragile’ keepsakes (especially if there’ll be children in tow).
Make the bed – You don’t have to spend a fortune on new linen, but you want to be sure the bedding is soft, has a few layers and is clean. Keep an assortment of pillows handy – both flat and puffy – as well as an extra blanket or two. Offer some sort of luggage stand to save the duvet from having a dirty suitcase opened up on top of it.
Hang a few hooks – A convenient row of hooks along the wall or behind the door can play home to bags, jackets, extra towels and such if cupboard and drawer space is limited. A mirror – full-length if possible – is also a must.
Prepare a nightstand – Preferably one with a drawer and a shelf or two for night-time comforts such as a jug of water, glass and coaster, a stack of magazines or a few bestsellers, an alarm clock, box of tissues, an empty tray or bowl for jewellery, a spare set of house keys and other knick-knacks. A bedside table- or standing-lamp is also crucial (with a switch within arm’s reach).
Clear the air – A scented candle, plug-in air freshener, room deodoriser or natural-oil diffuser should do the trick.
Create a ‘tech’ station – For laptops, cell phones, tablets, cameras, etc. Have a universal charger handy and keep plug sockets free and clear (your guests shouldn’t have to manoeuvre behind a chest of drawers to plug in their phones). Write down your Wi-Fi password and other important home particulars on a notepad and leave a pen handy. This is also the perfect spot for a small dustbin.
Stock up on bathroom essentials – This is always a good idea in case someone forgets something. From toothpaste, shampoo and soap, to an extra toothbrush, shower gel, cotton pads, sunscreen and body cream. Of course, there should be a stack of clean towels, new facecloths or bath sponges, as well as a steady supply of loo paper in the bathroom (you don’t want the awkwardness of them having to ask for it). Also, give your guests their own laundry basket so they don’t have to put dirty clothes back in their suitcases. And keep the medicine cabinet stocked with after-sun lotion, pain medicine, basic first-aid supplies, insect repellent, etc.
Don’t forget the flowers – Nothing makes a room feel more inviting than a vase of fresh-cut blooms. Just try to avoid flowers with strong scents that can lead to headaches and give hay-fever sufferers a runny nose. You can’t go wrong with a beautiful orchid.
Have a dress rehearsal – Spend a night in the room yourself, before your visitors arrive. That way you’ll be able to see what is and isn’t working. Perhaps the bedside lamp is too far out of reach and needs a new bulb, or the curtains aren’t closing properly, or it gets too warm and you need to bring in a fan. A few tweaks later and you’ll be ready to roll out the ‘welcome’ mat.