How To

Hosting Guests

Company’s Coming

Well, you should be in full holiday mode by now, which in my life means that people will be in and out of my house for the next month or so.  While I know that you can never be fully prepared to take on everything that comes at you with your out-of-town guests, there are a few things that you can do to get your house ‘guest ready’.  This makes it so that the days are extra jolly – and enjoyed by all.  Let’s go over the steps to prep.

Guest Who?

Ideally, you will know these people.  But I’ve had friends bring friends (who brought friends) and that doesn’t always make for a stress-free experience.  So ahead of time, send a quick email (or text) and ask the following questions:

  1. Who is coming – this means even asking if their ever-present pup will be joining too, or will they be bringing that girl or guy they’ve been dating?  Sometimes people assume you will know things. Never assume.  Be specific.
  2. When are they arriving – and when do they plan to depart?
  3. Do they need to be picked up from the airport, bus, or train station?
  4. Do they have any plans that you should know about while they are in other words, do you need to drive them anywhere or arrange for a car?
  5. Any food allergies?
  6.  Is there anything that they were hoping to do or see while visiting?

Clean It Up in Here

Keep it clean people.  A week before your guests are set to arrive, give your house a good deep clean.  You can keep up with it throughout the week, but giving it a good once-over will make you feel better prepared.  This means windows, baseboards and all of the nooks and crannies we tend to overlook.  I found this great company called SuperNatural that cleans naturally and with essential oils – a double knock out because my place looks great AND smells fantastic.  This is also good to keep in mind if you have guests with allergies or skin sensitivities.  Stock up on extra toilet paper, travel size toiletries, an extra toothbrush, razor…you know, all the things that you forget while traveling.  Or at least I tend to forget.  Is it just me?

Private Space

Having company is great, but everyone having their own space is even greater.  If possible, try to set up an area of the house that is just for your guests to use. This might mean that you give up your office or even one of your kid’s rooms, but everyone will benefit from having a bit of space that is just their own.  They will appreciate the privacy if they need to retreat, and you’ll like having a designated area for them to set up in.  Unless you’ve got a guest room altogether, this is likely going to inconvenience someone in a small way, but I promise you, the payoff is greater than the cost.

What to Do, What to Do…

Create a list of local attractions including restaurants and points of interest.  If you live in a popular destination, keeping a travel book on hand might be something you’ll want to consider.  You can send some ideas to them ahead of time so that you can order tickets or make reservations if that needs to be done – remember those questions you need to ask before they arrive?  Include your suggestions in that message. Depending on the length of their stay you will want to provide options for a variety of scenarios. Will you be working while they are visiting? Then include public transport schedules, and if they won’t have a car, consider gifting them with an Uber or Lyft card. If you will be away at any point and they will be there alone, have a house key made so that they can leave without hesitation. Plan and prepare people – it makes everyone’s life easier.

Keep it Comfy

photo: liana mikah

Remember, your guest is away from their creature comforts, so putting out that extra blanket, reading material, water by their bed, and the always favorite – fresh flowers, shows that you’ve put thought into how to make them feel at home. Leave a guestbook by the bed for them to write a little note to you and look back on what other guests have had to say.  Do you have a pool?  Be sure to put a pool towel out as well.  They shouldn’t have to search for anything since this will likely make them feel uncomfortable to go snooping around your home.  Unless they are like some of my friends who don’t care and will unearth anything.

Mi Casa Su Casa

photo: debby hudson

When they arrive, show your guests where everything is that they will need during their stay.  When someone is visiting, you have to accept that your space is now their space, so if you don’t want it eaten, seen, or used…hide it.

Good luck with your visitors, I know from experience, a happy guest makes for happy memories – enjoy making them!





Ty Pennington

Ty Pennington is best known as the Emmy-award winning host of "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" and as the co-host of ABC Daytime's "The Revolution." He has been recognized as a home design expert, carpenter and leader in the field of volunteerism. is a space to share his inspiration, design tips, daily musings and more. Ty can currently be seen on TLC's Trading Spaces.

You may also like...