8 Ways To Make House Guests Feel at Home

The art of welcoming overnight guests takes a bit more than setting out fresh set of sheets and clean towels.

Here are eight easy ways to make your visitors feel extra special in your new home:

1. Serve refreshments as soon as your guests arrive, such as a pot of hot tea on a tray in the winter or a pitcher of lemonade in the summer. (Just prepare these before guests arrive. You don't want to be frantically squeezing lemons while they're struggling with their suitcases.)

2. Set a fragrant candle, a bowl of potpourri or a flowering plant in the bedroom and bath to make your home aromatic as well as visually appealing.

3. Leave a pitcher of ice water and a glass for each guest near the bed.

4. Place a copy of a local city magazine or guidebook on your guest's night table. This allows an out-of-towner a chance to develop his or her own itinerary and relieves the pressure on you to act as tour guide, entertainment critic, and walking encyclopedia of local trivia.

5. Fill a basket or bathroom shelf with aspirin, Band-Aids, toothpaste, a new toothbrush, and other essentials your guests might have forgotten. Or, if you've collected the little soaps, bottles of shampoo, and other hotel toiletries you've been offered when you travel, leave them for your guests to sample and enjoy.

6. Provide empty drawers in the dresser your guests will use and clear space in the closet with plenty of matching hangers. Additionally, leave room in the bath for guests' toiletries. These touches help erase any feelings like they're invading your space.

7. Lay down your house rules. What's the easiest way to prevent miscommunication about your regular household routine and the needs of guests? Leave a note by their bed.

Something like: "Dear Jim and Sally. We're so glad you're here. Just wanted to let you know a few things about how our house works..." Explain where guests should park their car, whether they should answer your phone or let it go to voicemail and so on.

Your guests aren't clairvoyant. They'd gladly follow a few rules rather than offend you. The note can also outline when you can spend time with your guests and when they will be left on their own. (Never feel obligated to overexert yourself and fall behind on your own work; you may end up resenting their visit and it will show.)

8. If guests will be on their own often, include a list favorite lunch and dinner spots, neighborhoods to stroll through, or shows you've enjoyed and how to get tickets in your note.

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