5 Simple Ways to Prep Your Home for Overnight Guests

They'll feel right at home while you feel totally at ease.

Whether you're expecting company for a few hours or a whole week, these pro tips, tweaks, details, and ideas for hosting houseguests will make them feel perfectly comfortable—without making you feel like a concierge. Hosting guests definitely takes some prep, but don't drive yourself crazy. A good rule of thumb: Treat your guests how you'd want to be treated in someone else's home: a little bit pampered, but mostly just made to feel content and comfortable. Here's how to prep the guest rooms, kitchen, dining room, and family room to accomplish just that.

Guest room supplies
Raymond Hom

Create a Luxurious Guest Room

Channel what you love about a great bed and breakfast with basics that include an iron, spare hangers, and an alarm clock, says interior designer Young Huh. Bonus points for water, a box of chocolates or mints, and a note with your Wi-Fi password. Overnight guests will appreciate a no-fuss setup of hand sanitizer, hand cream, and other toiletries just in case they forgot theirs.

To prevent guests from stumbling over suitcases, Joanna Goddard of A Cup of Jo suggests keeping a luggage rack in the guest room. And in your guest bath, "always, always set out extra toilet paper and a plunger, because there's nothing more awkward than having to ask," she says.

For an extra-thoughtful touch, keep a discreet stockpile of "just-in-case" medications (ibuprofen, indigestion pills), feminine hygiene products, and bandages, plus a sewing kit for garment emergencies.

Green and pink guest room with comfy bed and bedside table
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Build a Comfier Bed

To make your guests feel like they're sleeping at a five-star hotel, upgrade the bedding. The secret to a hotel-worthy bed? It's all about the layers. Start with a set of breathable bed sheets, then add cozy touches, like a comforter or fluffy duvet. Leave out a spare blanket, a carafe of water, and an alarm clock to complete the luxury vacation vibe.

Kitchen with teapot, waffles
Raymond Hom

Stock the Kitchen

A self-service-style layout keeps you from playing short-order cook. For breakfast, make and freeze waffles a day or two before guests arrive; in the morning, heat in a 200 F oven and serve with fresh berries, chocolate chips, pomegranate seeds, whipped cream, and syrup. "Kids can have fun making an edible art project," says Catherine McCord of Weelicious.com. Or try a yogurt station with toppings like hempseed, nuts, honey, and chopped fruit. Finish with a designated coffee and tea area stocked with mugs, spoons, a milk frother, and sweeteners.

Come lunchtime, a sandwich bar is a crowd-pleaser. And for off-hours nibbling, a basket of snacks in the pantry or fridge takes the guesswork out of what's fair game to munch on during the day.

Vase with flowers, blue bowl on table
Raymond Hom

Deck the Dining Room

Ensure a comfortable, convivial meal with a few strategic table-setting hacks. For a tablecloth that will cover a folding table or one with added leaves, Amanda Hesser, co-founder and CEO, and Merrill Stubbs, co-founder and president of Food52, suggest buying plain linen fabric that's 10 inches longer than each side of the surface. Wash and dry it to create intentional frays along the cut edges.

As you set the table, don't worry if you don't have enough matching china, says Huh. Either mix and match two sets evenly (the salad plate from one set with the dinner plate from another) or disperse mismatched pieces throughout the table, sticking with a consistent color palette to keep it looking uniform.

Lay out serving dishes the night before, each labeled with a sticky note with the menu item you plan to serve in it. Hesser and Stubbs divide each dish into two serving platters or bowls so everyone at the table can have easy access.

Moving your dining room and entertaining space outdoors—or even into the garage? We've got great decor and heating tips.

Guest supplies in family room
Raymond Hom

Make the Family Room Fun

No playroom? No problem. Keep kids and adults amused with a designated fun zone. Stock a basket with games and a few decks of cards for those in-between times when there's no scheduled activity, says entertaining expert Pamela Salzman.

McCord likes to set up an arts and crafts station with wooden picture frames, stickers, and an instant camera for taking snaps to put into the decorated frames. Designate a puzzle corner—with a card table, a 1,000-piece jigsaw, and good lighting—so anyone can jump in at any time.

Set out floor pillows and a basket of fuzzy blankets to make movie watching more fun. Add a festive twist to one with an all-ages nightcap—serve hot chocolate with peppermint stirrers during the holidays or fizzy lemonade with fresh berries in warmer months.

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