If you’re planning to have guests in your home, it’s a good idea to prepare a space that is warm and welcoming. As a homemaker, it’s always a nice gesture to make sure your guests are comfortable in your home. Today I’m sharing some of my best tips about how to be a good hostess.
Plus, be sure to download my free printable Guest Prep Checklist at the bottom of the post!
It almost feels like hospitality is an old fashioned homemaking skill, but regardless, learning to be a good hostess is still relevant for the Christian homemaker.
There is no right or wrong way to serve your guests and make them feel comfortable in your home (aside from being rude or greeting them with chaos). The important thing to remember is that having guests in your home is a privilege. Relax, smile, and enjoy your time together.
“Do not neglect to show hospitality…” Hebrews 13:2
In my house, I’ve spent the last 20 years having many people stay in my home. I do my best to make my guests feel welcome and I want them to feel as if they are part of my family.
Hospitality isn’t about showcasing your perfect home. Hospitality is about inviting guests to rest and enjoy wonderful company in a warm and loving atmosphere. As Christian homemakers, hospitality is a precious ministry we can actively pursue.
How to Be a Good Hostess
Being a good hostess requires attention to detail and the ability to make guests feel comfortable and at home. Here are some easy tips on how to be a wonderful hostess.
Whether hosting a dinner party or welcoming house guests, the job of a hostess is to make guests feel cared for, welcomed, and at home. To be a thoughtful and considerate hostess, it’s important that you make a little effort in ensuring that your guests feel comfortable and relaxed.
Use the following tips and tricks to be a good hostess at your next dinner party or when having people stay in your home.
Finding Out Guests’ Preferences
One of the best ways to make guests feel comfortable is to find out about their preferences before they arrive. For instance, when hosting a dinner party take care to find out which guests are vegetarian or have food allergies.
This will help you plan the menu and ensure all the guests enjoy the meal you have prepared.
Similarly, when having house guests over, ask about their itineraries, food preferences, and other important details which would contribute to ensuring a comfortable stay for them.
Create a Comfortable Ambiance
Guests feel most comfortable and relaxed in an environment that is warm and welcoming. For dinner parties, keep the seating arrangement such that the guests would be able to interact with each other and make conversation easily.
For house guests as well, ensure that the guest room is arranged perfectly and every little detail is attended to.
Make All Arrangements Prior to the Occasion
One of the greatest secrets of being a good hostess is in having everything taken care of before the guests arrive.
For dinner parties, this means that everything that needs to be cooked, arranged, and cleaned is done well before the first guest walks in.
Similarly, for house guests, keep the guest room as well as other rooms of the house ready a day before the guests are to arrive.
If you have children, this is a great time to get them involved in the preparation. Remember, however, that you want your children to look forward to guests coming to your home. You also want them to desire a life of life giving hospitality when they grow up.
If you are yelling at everyone to clean faster or better, you’re not doing your children any favors. Instead, focus on keeping your home tidy on a daily basis and teach the children to pick up after themselves. It’s important that they learn early on to be neat and responsible.
You’ll also feel like hosting more guests more often if you’re home is relatively neat most of the time. Having guests over is a great motivator to getting things picked up cleaned. I highly suggest inviting people over on a regular basis.
Relax and Enjoy the Occasion
A good hostess is also one who can sit back and have fun with her guests. If everything is taken care of, it’s easy to relax and enjoy the occasion. Running about trying to get things done will only make guests feel uncomfortable and burdensome.
Therefore, get the nitty-gritty of hosting out of the way and use the evening or the weekend stay as a time to relax and catch up with friends and family. Planning beforehand will definitely help with this!
Tips for Cleaning Your Guest Room
If a guest appeared tonight would you feel panicked? Upset? Rushed? Think of how wonderful it would be to feel at ease, welcoming, and joyful instead!
Are you always at the ready for unexpected visitors? Or if you got a surprise visit from someone who also needed to stay the night would you have to first clear off the guest bed and maybe change the sheets? It’s always nice to be ready for unexpected guests.
What about your office space? If your guest room and office are an all-in-one room things can get even messier. Having your office double as a guest room requires that the office portion of the room is just as prepared for last-minute guests as the bedroom portion of the room.
To get started deep cleaning your guest room and/or office space gather your cleaning supplies so they are at the ready and then collect all items that need laundering and start a load in the washer right away.
5 Tips for Cleaning and Organizing your Guest Room/Office
#1 Get rid of any clutter.
If you’ve got a lot of clutter in this room it might be a good idea to move all of the clutter to one spot, maybe even outside of the room, and sort papers last. It will be wonderful to sort through the paper clutter on an empty desk in a freshly cleaned room. A laundry basket can be a great tool for quickly removing clutter.
#2 Let guests have a drawer or two.
If space allows, have one drawer in the room designated to guest needs. Consider placing inside two clean towels and washcloths, a new toothbrush still in the package, sample size toothpaste, and a tiny little treat like a mint or chocolate.
You can even put in menus from local restaurants and a map of your town. This way when guests come you always have clean towels and a few little items to help them feel at home.
#3 Dust the blinds and wash the windows.
Guest rooms often don’t get used as often as other rooms in the house. You may find more dust has accumulated.
Clean the blinds by wrapping microfiber cloths or other cleaning rags around a pair of tongs. Secure with rubber bands. Spray the cloth with your favorite dusting solution and insert the tongs in around a single slat of the blinds.
Once you’ve cleaned the blinds, you can move on to cleaning the windows.
#4 Organize your desk.
To organize your desk start by clearing off the top completely and empty the drawers. This would be a good time to use a basket or bin to hold everything while you sort through. As you go through the basket begin placing items back in the drawers but try to leave as much of the top of the desk blank as you can. This is a great time to start de-cluttering:
Items to Consider De-Cluttering
- Dried up glue, sticky tack, or tape
- School-supplies your kids have outgrown
- Excess paper clutter
- Pens that don’t work
- Faded construction paper
- Wall art that was banished to the guest room because you don’t really like it.
- Expired calendars
- Half filled and abandoned notebooks
- Broken binders
- Old rubber bands that don’t stretch
#5 Deep clean your guest room.
Once you’ve finished clearing the clutter and freshening the windows, you’ll want to rotate the mattress before making the bed. Making the guest bed is an important detail and one that should not be overlooked.
Note: If you are using an air mattress, check to make sure the mattress does not deflate before they arrive.
If you have a bed for your guests to sleep in, you’ll want to take care when making the bed so that your guests feel warm and cozy at bedtime.
related: How to Make the Perfect Bed
Next, you’ll need to sweep, vacuum, and dust all surfaces. Basically, just give the room an overall good cleaning.
If you have a guest bathroom, be sure to give it a good scrub so it sparkles and smells good too. Cleaning the bathroom is one of the most important jobs you have as a homemaker. It’s one of my least favorite, but certainly everyone who uses the bathroom will appreciate the work you’ve done.
Guest Prep Checklist
Here’s a great list of things you may want to pay attention to when hosting guests in your home. The whole point of having a guest prep checklist is so that you can make your guests feel special when they visit.
Prepare your Home for Friends and Family
Clean and Declutter
- Declutter floor and other surfaces
- Dust furniture and lamp shades
- Put away your personal belongings
- Vacuum and sweep floors
- Wash bed linens and towels
- Clean and scrub guest bathroom
Bedroom and Bathroom
- Rotate mattress
- Make bed with fresh, crisp linens
- Add seasonal decor
- Provide a laundry hamper
- Provide a robe, slippers, and cozy socks
- Add a Bible, notepad, and pen
- Provide empty drawer space
- Provide a fan or heater as needed
- Put extra hygiene products in a basket
- Place a plunger near toilet
- Gather extra towels and wash cloths
- Refill toilet paper
- Provide extra pillows and blankets
- Provide a basket with water and snacks
- Provide a seasonal candle and matches
- Provide extra hangers in closet
- Provide a robe, slippers, and cozy socks
- Place books and magazines in room
- Add a Bible, notepad, and pen
- Display the menu you have planned
- Stock coffee, tea, creamer, and sugar
- Share the wifi password
- Provide a surge protector and extension chord
These simple tips can ensure guests always feel welcome in your home. If they have a good experience, they’ll want to come back to your place for dinner or to stay. Not only does this make things easier as a hostess it also ensures that being a good hostess is enjoyable for you.
When Things Don’t Go As Planned
It’s so easy to fall into a trap of wanting to impress or please friends and guests who visit our home. The pressure to have everything perfect can feel overwhelming sometimes. A few years ago at Christmas time, I had cleaned the entire house very well. In fact, I wondered if my house had ever been so clean. It looked amazing!
Well, almost my entire house. My bedroom was still cluttered and my bathroom had not been on my top priorities list as I prepared for a houseful of 25 people.
Our guest bathroom is upstairs and was sparkling clean and smelled good – there was even a candle burning in there!
Little did I know that my husband’s ex-wife, who usually comes to our holiday gatherings (long story) had recently had back surgery and she couldn’t walk upstairs.
She asked to use my bathroom instead.
I could have died. Right then and there.
I smiled and said, “Of course, just excuse the mess,” all the while mentally dying inside.
It’s not the first time something like that has happened to me. And unfortunately wasn’t the last. But still. I was mortified.
I appreciate what Sarah Mae says in her book, Have a Martha House the Mary Way, “Without even knowing it, I had judged myself guilty by someone else’s standard. I had condemned myself by that standard and was left feeling like a complete failure. To my family and loved ones I was doing just fine, yet I was blinded to that fact by my own self-induced guilt.”
Remember, some times things won’t go as planned. That’s okay. Give yourself grace.
Action Steps to Take Today
- Pray and ask God to help you welcome guests into your home with peace and joy.
- If you have guests coming to visit soon, go ahead and begin making a plan for how you will prepare to welcome them.
- Print out my free printable Guest Prep Checklist below, if desired.
- Use the list to help you plan for a special visit with people you love, visiting church family, or others who need a warm and welcoming place to stay for the night.
- Remember to also give yourself grace – sometimes things just don’t go as planned.
Free Printable Guest Prep Checklist
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