Personalizing your Home for Guests
Opening your home to friends and family can be a wonderful experience but can also come with stress when guests have particular needs that you didn’t anticipate. Putting a little thought into host planning ahead of time can help you make your guests feel at home. From the food to thoughtful touches at dinner, to easing the morning bustle, there are myriad simple ways to help hosting go smoothly.
Food can be a sticking point when you’re anticipating overnight guests. Ask ahead of your guests’ arrival whether there are any strict food allergies, aversions, or food preferences. One of the easiest ways to help guests feel at home is to stock your kitchen with their favorite food staples. Ask for their favorite foods, spices, snacks, and lunches and slip the appropriate condiments in the refrigerator and pantry. Keep fresh fruit and vegetables in the crisper. If there are tweens and teens, stow easy snacks they can help themselves to. If there will be babies and/or small children, inquire ahead if there are items that you could purchase that would make their stay easier.
Is there anything sweeter than a mint on your pillow? Buy mint or dark chocolate truffles and place them on your guests’ just-fluffed pillows. They’ll love the thoughtful, and delicious, touch upon arrival. Depending on your relationship, a personal gift and card would also be a nice surprise.
Whether it’s a formal holiday dinner or a casual weeknight gathering, a simple way to make every guest feel recognized is with place cards. Add an extra touch by hand-lettering the place cards on linen cardstock. If there are guests meeting for the first time, place cards are a simple way to anticipate the best seating arrangement and avoid the awkward musical chairs that may happen at the beginning of dinner.
Another way to personalize dinner is by customizing the meal for your specific guests. Anticipate your guests’ special diets or favorite foods and incorporate those foods into the meal and the dinner will immediately feel next-level.
Make Food Easy
The easiest way to make your guests feel at home is to make food accessible and easy for them to get themselves. Keep a bowl or basket of fruits and snacks on the counter for them to enjoy whenever they feel hungry. Try keeping a pitcher of iced tea, juice, water, and other drinks in the refrigerator.
For guests—and hosts—leaving at different times of the morning, make morning meals simple and self-serve. Create a breakfast bar with a variety of muffins, bagels, and fruit. Lay out a sampling of teas with hot water and have coffee ready so they can fix themselves a cup.
Pre-prepared salads, wraps, and sandwiches make great lunches for guests on the go, too. Protein shakes and smoothies are also a great way to get a burst of energy when you don’t have the time to make a full breakfast. Set out a blender and some ingredients for a simple smoothie, and a note to help themselves.