Monday, December 12, 2016

Open Heart, Open Home

When we think of getting ready for Christmas, images come to mind of trimming the tree, hanging the lights, wrapping presents; but if you have out of town guests, i s your guest room ready for their arrival? 

Here are a few ideas to make your guests feel welcome and at home and you look like a superstar host!

                             Read on, you may be inspired . . .
Open Heart, Open Home

As I anticipate the holidays, I think of the friends and family who'll visit. While trimming my home with festive and cheerful seasonal decorations, I'm planning the delicious meals I'll serve to them.

Even though most of my loved ones are within commuting distance of my home, I'll often have overnight guests. Whether they've traveled from out of state or it's just too late to safely drive home, I want my guests to feel welcome and comfortable in my home as I'm sure you do as well. Here are some suggestions on making your home a 5 star retreat for your guests.

Creating a 5 Star Guest Room

If you want your overnight guests to feel welcome, the first step is to make them to feel that you're prepared for their visit. Whether large or small, a guest room in a soothing color palette that feels as luxurious as a 5 star hotel room yet as comfortable as being at home is a guest room that says "Welcome, we've been waiting for you".

All too often, "guest rooms" are a mere step above storage rooms; a hodge-podge of mismatched furniture from by gone eras. But a beautifully decorated room with pleasant amenities will give your guests a welcome they won't soon forget.

Fresh linens are just a start to having a room at the ready. Begin with a comfortable bed. Have you spent a night in your own guest room? Try it, it maybe quite enlightening. A comfortable mattress with a pretty bed or headboard is a great place to start.

Out with the old and in with newly purchased, high-thread count bedding and add extra pillows of differing firmness and thickness for back, side and stomach sleepers. Put extra blankets in the room because everyone has a different feel for what is  "warm and cozy". The same is true for warmer nights so, if possible, have a ceiling fan to cool the room for guests with high personal thermostats.

Nightstands provide guests with a place for eyeglasses, a glass of water or a place to set a book all without having to get out of bed. Have a bedside lamp for the same reason, to access light without having to get out of bed and stumble around in the dark.

Room darkening window treatments allow your guests to decide whether they want to be an early riser or sleep in.

Have strategically placed lighting. Having a lamp or light switch close to the door makes it easy for guests to find their way into an unfamiliar bedroom. A light within easy reach of the bed makes bedtime reading more enjoyable and safer for those middle of the night trips to the bathroom.

Clear the clutter. While beautiful d├ęcor is desirable, having a lot of knick knacks is not. In addition to scenic artwork, here are a few suggestions for things that serve a practical purpose while beautifying your guest room.

Have a decorative tray on a dresser or plate on a nightstand to provide your guests with a clear surface to empty pockets while protecting your furniture. Make sure there's easy access to outlets for recharging cell phones and other electronics.

Have a trash can, easy to read and set alarm clock and pretty dresser or full length mirrors. All of these can be decorative yet functional and very much appreciated by guests.

Have a chair or bench so guest will have a place to sit to put on shoes or set extra belongings.

Clear the closet, dresser drawers or have a luggage stand so your guests will have a place for their clothes.

If you have a private guest bathroom terrific. You're guests will appreciate the privacy but if they're sharing the hall bath, make sure they know clearly which towels are theirs. Consider adding over the door hooks for their bath robes and towels during their stay. The hooks aren't permanent so they can be removed until the next time they're needed.

Going The Extra Mile 

soap and shampoo
Once you have the foundational pieces in place, try adding some little niceties. Think of the things that most likely to be forgotten and have a little basket of items so guest won't feel like they're imposing on you.

Include Kleenex, toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss, nicely scented lotion, soap, shampoo and conditioner.

You can add a few extras like a travel sewing kit to repair a loose button or a mini first aid kit with pain reliever, band aids, Tums, etc.

BooksHave a diverse collection of reading materials, such as, mystery, fiction, biography and magazines. Having local guide books may give your guests some fun ideas on what to see and do.

If your guest are arriving late, having a basket of individually wrapped snacks, bottled water, soda or juice boxes in their room will give them the option of a late night snack without feeling like they're putting you out. Fruits such as bananas, clementines (a.k.a. "Cuties") and apples are an easy to eat healthy snacks which do not require refrigeration. 

cup of coffee 

A similarly fashioned breakfast version of this snack basket with a mix of granola bars, muffins, biscotti and fruit will relieve a little pressure on the host or hostess.  Set it out along side coffee cups and spoons and a pre-programed coffee maker. Add an assortment of sweeteners, a note that the creamer and orange juice are in the refrigerator and your earlier riser guests  will enjoy the freedom to get up and move about without feeling like they're disturbing the rest of the household.