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November 1, 2018

How to Be a Gracious Host for the Holidays

Make Your House Guests Feel at Home

The holidays are hitting fast! Thanksgiving is very early this year and then Hanukah starts right away on December 2nd and then we march right up to Christmas and New Years. Preparing for your holiday guests just got very REAL!!!

Source: So Then They Say

I have been listening to how people feel about hosting the holidays. Chatting with friends and overhearing others talk about their holiday plans, I am struck by the love/hate relationship many people have for holiday entertaining and hosting. I do understand this ambivalence. My feeling about hosting guests is that I love all the excitement, decorating, cooking, and preparing for when my guests arrive, but I also love when the guests say their goodbyes and I get my quiet home back :).

I am not the only one who is philosophical about the hosting thing. Here are a few quotes to show you how deep these mixed emotions about having guests run.

“Every house guest brings you happiness. Some when they arrive and, some when they are leaving.”   – Confucius

“Be grateful for whoever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” – Rumi

“Guests are like fish, they begin to smell after 3 days.” – Benjamin Franklin

Seems like Ben has some bad guest experiences :). I am more in line with Confucius on the guest debate, but it isn’t easy being a host. So, to help you through what can be a trying time of year, I researched experts in the field of design, entertaining and etiquette and have compiled a list of how to prepare for overnight guests from the conceptual to the practical.

  1. The perfect way to welcome guests…with a space that is both stylishly appointed and features all the comforts of home. – How to Decorate a Guest Room, Elle Decor
  2. Have coffee essentials out for the morning. – Tips for Overnight Guests, Cupcakes & Cashmere
  3. A host should spend a night in the guest room. – How to Create the Perfect Guest Bedroom, Schumacher
  4. Color coded guest towels. – Prepping for Houseguests, Martha Stewart
  5. Essentials: A luxurious bed, a chair for reading or making phone calls. – 21 Warm & Welcoming Guest Room Ideas, Architectural Digest
  6. “Show them the bar.” Tinsley Mortimer – The Do’s and Don’ts of Hosting Overnight Guests, Town & Country
  7. Have a spare key made and write down household instructions. – Houseguest Prep Checklist, RealSimple
  8. Offer the same courtesies you would like to be shown. – Overnight Guests Coming? How to be a Great Host, Houzz
  9. Avoid awkward issues – keep bathrooms stocked with extra toilet paper and a plunger. – Cup of Jo’s 6 Tips for Hosting Overnight Guests, Into the Gloss
  10. Leave wifi info in the guest bedroom. – Expecting House Guests? Here’s the Difference between a Mediocre Host and the Hostess with the Mostess, Culture CheatSheet
  11. Make a breakfast casserole. – The One Thing I Always Do When Hosting Overnight Guests, The Kitchn
  12. Have a folding luggage stand that you would find in a hotel. – Welcoming Guest Bedroom Ideas, Gentleman’s Gazette
  13. Have something planned for your guests (to do). – 30+ Cozy Ways to Decorate Your Guest Bedroom, Southern Living
  14. Don’t feel weird asking for help cleaning up. – How to Host House Guests without Going Crazy, Thrillist
  15. Give (your guests) what they love, not what you love. – How to Make Your Guests Feel at Home, Oprah.com

There is a lot of good advice here. My most important criteria in designing guest rooms and providing for a guest’s comfort is to create rooms that feel like a get away with attention to detail that you would find in a fine hotel. I think it is critical to provide a guest with a space that is completely their own with a comfortable bed, a place to sit, closet, dresser and an ensuite bathroom. A few small things that I like to put out for my guests are: fresh flowers and water bottles on the beside table and a cozy robe and throw blanket. Also make sure the bathroom is well stocked with items such clean towels (hand, face and shower size) and an assortment of toiletry items (face soap, toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner and liquid soaps).

Here are a few examples of guest bedrooms and bathrooms from homes I have designed – each of which is a room I would feel very at home in.

Designing for House Guests

Source: Valerie Grant Interiors | Peter Rymwid Photography

Designing for House Guests

Source: Valerie Grant Interiors | Peter Rymwid Photography

Designing for House Guests

Source: Valerie Grant Interiors | Peter Rymwid Photography

Designing for House Guests

Source: Valerie Grant Interiors

Guest Bedrooms and Bathrooms

Source: Valerie Grant Interiors | Peter Rymwid Photography

Designing for House Guests

Source: Valerie Grant Interiors | Peter Rymwid Photography

And, just remember if things start to get a little crazy, there’s a wine for that 🙂

Let the festivities begin. Happy holiday season to you and all your guests.