Nothing is better than coming back to your hotel room and seeing new, fluffy towels and a little chocolate perched on the pillow. The little things really do go a long way when you’re traveling, but top-tier service and attention to detail don’t have to stop on vacation. If you’re having guests over, whether it’s for dinner or a weekend visit, you can make your home as welcoming as any five-star stay—and it doesn’t have to break the bank. To get the best advice for making your guest feel like you’re the best host ever, we’ve enlisted the help of interior designers and home experts. Read on for their easy tips.
It’s key to be warm and inviting as soon as your guests arrive. If they are staying overnight, Kevin Wang, interior designer and co-founder of Inyouths LED Mirrors, suggests creating a welcome basket that you can give them at the door or place in the room they will be staying. It can include items like toiletries, bottles of water, small snacks, or a little note. “This will make your guests feel thought of and cared for right from the start,” he says.
If you’re having people over just for the evening, it’s still important to make them feel at home right off the bat. Make sure you know what time they’re arriving and meet them at the door with a tasty refreshment in hand. “Greet them with a smile, offer to take their coat, and show them where they can put their belongings,” says Stacy Lewis interior designer and owner of Eternity Modern.
Likely, you won’t be able to totally revamp your space, but a simple upgrade to one or two walls in your guests’ bedroom can take the room from so-so to stunning. And you can easily tackle these projects in a day or two.
Cristina Crin, founder of Perpetuum Designs, suggests creating an accent wall, either by painting it or adding wallpaper (stick-on wallpaper is even easier). “It’s not that expensive and it can add a ‘hotel’ feel to your room.”
Crin also says that adding large framed pictures on the wall will go a long way in warming up a space. Black-and-white art or photos will stand out against a colored accent wall, and if the wallpaper isn’t as bright, then bold pieces will complement the room nicely.
For more home advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
“Your guests should be able to relax in your home, so make sure they have everything they need to be comfortable,” says Jen Stark, founder of Happy DIY Home. This includes plenty of blankets and pillows. Not only are they useful (especially if guests are spending the night or if it’s cold out), but they add that perfect relaxed vibe to a room.
Try to find a place to store blankets and pillows where your guests can easily access them. This could be an ottoman in the living room or a bedside table or basket in a guest room. Stark suggests coordinating colors and patterns with your existing home decor and exploring different textures such as velvet or faux fur if you’re looking to amp up the space.
By chatting with your guests ahead of their visit, you’ll gain an understanding of their expectations, and you can tailor their stay accordingly.
“Find out if they have any allergies or special needs so you can be prepared,” Wang says. This also makes your preparations easier, as you’ll know exactly what to pick up at the grocery store or pharmacy.
Lewis believes it’s also important to find out about their hobbies and interests. “This will help you plan activities that they’ll enjoy while they’re staying with you,” she says. Once you know what they like, you can decide which of your favorite local restaurants or shops to take them to.
READ THIS NEXT: 6 Last-Minute Things to Do Before Having Guests Over, Experts Say.
While you can’t control everything, you can do your best to get all of your prep work out of the way before guests arrive. Doing small tasks like vacuuming, laundering linens, making beds, and stocking the fridge will ultimately streamline the process.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, create a simple to-do list. “If you know your guests are coming, take some time to plan ahead,” Stark says. “This includes having food and drinks ready, as well as making sure there are no potential hazards in your home.”
Aside from standard cleaning and shopping tasks, small things like opening the windows to let in fresh air or curating a playlist to have on when guests arrive can make all the difference.
A good host knows it’s important to balance your time with guests. “Be available if they need anything, but give them space to do their own thing,” advises Lewis.
However, this doesn’t mean you should skimp on the little details that make guests feel comfortable and excited. “When they’re ready to leave, send them off with a little something to remember you by, like a homemade treat or a small token of your appreciation,” Wang suggests. If you entertain often, leave a guest book in the room that everyone can use to share their favorite parts of their stay.