How to Host Overnight Guests

By: Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza How to

Once the house is straight, dishes cleaned and put away, bookshelves dusted, laundry folded or hung, and the tub scrubbed—light a fresh candle, put on good album (try Mala by Devendra Banhart), pour yourself a lemon water, and wait for your guests to arrive.

Before all of that is done, of course, you’ve taken a few simple steps to ready your home especially for the overnight stay. It comes naturally to you, of course, so here’s what you’ve done to prepare.

Minimal plans

Don’t spoil the weekend with an agenda. Make a few tentative plans, like dinner at your favorite cafe, drinks down the street, or a museum tour, but leave it at that. Planning too much will rob the weekend of its natural magic and spontaneity.

One thing just for your guests

I always pick out something that I feel is a reflection of my guests’ tastes or sensibility. That might be their favorite game set out on the credenza (Quarto is a favorite among guests in my home), a coffee table book on their favorite artist set out for their enjoyment, a local beer chilling in the crisper, or a new bottle pulled from the wine rack I think they’ll especially love.

For the bedroom

For overnight guests, equip the bedroom as follows—

  • Clean bed linens
  • An extra blanket
  • An item picked for their enjoyment—a vase of flowers, a book on local history or on a topic they enjoy
  • A place to hang coats or clothing that can wrinkle (if you can’t clear the closet, a small garment rack will suffice)
  • A mirror, full-length preferred

For the bathroom

For overnight guests, equip the bathroom as follows—

For the kitchen

For overnight guests, equip the kitchen as follows—

Where to spend your money

Simplicity saves money. There’s no need to go overboard on preparation and leave yourself with little funds to enjoy the company. Here’s where your money will do its best work.

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