7 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Overnight Guests, According to Entertaining Experts

Whether they're staying for one evening or an entire week, there are plenty of extra steps you can take to make visitors feel welcome in your home.

Guest bedroom interior with scandinavian design such as cozy lighting, comfy pillows and plenty of storage
Photo: CreativaStudio / GETTY IMAGES

Hosting overnight guests is a big responsibility—you want to make them feel welcome and ensure they have everything they need for a comfortable stay. While there are a few housekeeping items you know to add to your checklist, like washing the sheets and vacuuming, here are a few additional steps you can take to make visitors feel at ease in your home.

Gift Them a Welcome Basket

Start off on the right foot with a welcome basket—this will set the tone for your guests' visit and make them feel immediately comfortable in your home. Fill it with non-perishable snacks, water bottles, pain relievers, and a piece of paper with the Wi-Fi password. "If you'd like to go a step farther, include a list of your favorite coffee shops, restaurants, and local hikes," says Liz Curtis, entertaining expert and the founder of the first rent-the-table service, Table + Teaspoon.

Tidy Up

Just as you like to stay in a clean space, so too do your guests. Before their arrival, do a deep clean of your home, focusing especially on the room they'll be sleeping in. Wipe down any surfaces, mop or vacuum the floors, and change or wash the bedding. "When linens sit too long on a bed they can have an odor to them, so it's a good idea to just put fresh linens on the bed," says Anthony Navarro, creative director of Liven It Up Events.

Provide Luggage Space

Although you shouldn't stress about removing all of your own items from the drawers and closets in your guest room, it's nice to provide an obvious place for overnight visitors to keep their things. "Especially if your guests plan on having an extended stay, clear out a drawer or two and add some closet space with empty hangers for their clothes," says Kristine Cooke, event planner and entertaining expert, Simply Charming Socials.

Alternatively, invest in furnishing that serves as a designated space for guests' items. "Go the classic route by ordering a luggage rack that easily folds away for your guests," says Curtis. "If you have the space and would prefer something more permanent, a storage bench at the end of the bed is the perfect place for your guests to both unpack and keep their suitcases."

Add Ambience

Beyond just ensuring your guests have what they need to get through their stay, you also want to help them feel at ease. You can make your home feel more soothing with a few simple touches to set the tone.


One of the easiest ways to add ambience to a space is by making it smell inviting. "Candles are the fastest way to bring the cozy factor to your guest room," says Curtis. "Leave your signature home scent burning in the guest bathroom and by the bed." Another way to make your home smell nice is by adding a fresh scent like lavender to a humidifier and letting it run. The subtly perfumed air will calm guests after a long day of traveling.


Overhead lighting can be harsh—soften the glow by adding dimmers to control the brightness. "Make sure you provide lights that project a warm glow and not a bright white light, this goes for lamps and other lighting elements as well," says Navarro. "Adding table or reading lamps is another way to skip having to use the overhead lights and create more of a warm feeling in the room."

Stock Up on Necessities

Think about what you use regularly in your own home, and provide those items for your guests during their stay. Extra toilet paper, tissues, makeup remover, lotion, face wash, shampoo and conditioner, body soap, toothpaste, and an assortment of fresh towels are a few things experts recommend keeping in your bathroom for guests. "A good host keeps supplies handy, but a great host has a few additional goodies in case your guest forgets something at home," Cooke says.

Prepare Their Nightstand

A nightstand next to their bed is a must for overnight visitors. This is where they'll keep all of their most important items—phone, keys, wallet—before settling in for the night. "If you have the space, it's by far the most comfortable to have two points of ingress and egress with two nightstands," Curtis says. She recommends keeping chargers for different types of phones and smart watches on this furnishing, as well as a reading lamp. "Adding a small dish for jewelry to the nightstand will be much appreciated by your guests with sentimental or valuable pieces," she says.

Provide Some Simple Luxuries

Don't forget your guests are away from their own home, and they might be feeling a little homesick. Ease any possible discomforts with a few simple luxuries. "Consider leaving a folded robe with slippers on your guest bed," says Curtis. "Store extra pillows in different fill types and density with another blanket in your closet or in a storage bag under the bed."

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