How To Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests

Are you ready to host overnight guests?

One of the most enjoyable things about the holiday season is spending extended time with family and friends. It’s especially great to welcome them into your home. But before you host overnight guests, you’ll need to make sure your house is ready for company.

Here are a few things for this season’s holiday hosts to remember.

Know Your Guests

Is your son bringing home a friend from college? Will the in-laws be spending a few days? Chances are those guests will have different sets of needs and expectations, so it’s important to understand ahead of time what those will be.

Consider everything from food allergies to sleeping accommodations. An air mattress might be fine for a twentysomething, but not for your mother-in-law.

Fortunately, it’s easy to figure out — just ask them. Get answers for what kind of food they like, preferred sleeping arrangements, etc. It’s important that your guests feel comfortable. The first step is taking the time to show them you want their stay to be a pleasant one.

Clean the House

It should be obvious, but with company settling in for a few nights, definitely give your house a good cleaning from top to bottom. Pay extra attention to the rooms where your guests will be sleeping, and the bathrooms.

This also is a good time to make some basic repairs, like touching up scratches in the paint or tightening up the grab bar in the shower. Think about safety, too. With more people in the house, it might be good to tie down Christmas lights or add a non-slip pad under your doormat.

Guest Bedroom

Do you know where your guests will sleep? You need a plan for that as soon as you know who’s coming to stay. It’s probably better to nail down that detail even before inviting them, if possible.

Are there enough beds for everyone? If not, think about getting an air mattress, hideaway bed or folding bed. You may need one if you’re asking the kids to bunk together to clear out an extra room for Grandma and Grandpa.

Your company will appreciate clean, fresh bedding, so throw those extra sheets, pillowcases and comforters in the washing machine ahead of time. Stock extra pillows and blankets for your guests, too.

Be sure to put a light next to the bed, too. That allows them to read or check their phone before settling in for the evening. It’s also a safety feature. Your guests are in an unfamiliar environment, so easy access to a light helps them move around safely at night.

These days phone chargers are essential, so be sure there’s an easy way for company to plug in their electronic devices. Even with phones, a clock is still a nice touch and convenient addition to a guest room.

Your guests will also appreciate a place to unpack their suitcase, especially if they’re staying for more than a couple nights. If there’s a dresser in the room, clear out a couple of drawers for them to use. Also, consider giving them some closet space or an extra valet rod to hang clothes.

Prepare the Bathroom

bathroom christmas shampoos and conditionersPornthep Sawasvech/Getty Images

Before company shows up, know which bathroom to assign them. Ideally, they’ll have their own to use. If that’s not possible and they have to share, you can still take steps to make them feel comfortable.

You can never have enough clean bath towels, hand towels and washcloths for company. Stock extra clean linens in the bathroom, and let your guests know where they can find them.

Though most people will bring their own toiletries, you should provide them as well. Set out shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, an extra toothbrush or two (in the package), soap, lotion, etc. It’s worth having extra things like cotton swabs, clean nail clippers, tampons, contact solution and anything else your guests might need to make their stay more comfortable.

Oh, and show them where the plunger and wastebasket are. That helps them avoid potentially embarrassing situations.

Stock the Kitchen

Buy extra snacks and goodies for your pantry and refrigerator. This is also where it’s essential to know the needs of the people staying with you. Do they have special dietary concerns? If you know that ahead of time, you can stock up on the right food and beverages. It may sound obvious, but show them where everything is and make them feel comfortable accessing it when they want something to eat or drink.

Coffee is always appreciated. So be sure to have extra on hand. Have everything out and ready to go so early risers in the group can help themselves.

Table space is something to consider, too. If you don’t have enough seating for everyone at your holiday dinner, you can always pick up a folding table and extra chairs so everyone has a seat.

Plan and Relax

Whoever comes to stay with you for the holidays, have a plan for things to do. Take them to the museum or go see a show. Find out what they like to do and make plans to do it. Conversely, don’t be afraid to give your guests their space. They might want to tour the city themselves or enjoy a dinner out on their own one night.

Do your best to prepare your home for company, but it’s also important to accept that things may not be perfect. And they don’t have to be! Do your best to make everyone feel welcome, and they’ll appreciate it. It’s the holiday season and your friends and family are coming to stay with you, so enjoy it!

Want to bring joy home this holiday season? Check out the best tips and tricks to make your home merry and bright.

Ryan Van Bibber
Ryan is a senior editor at Family Handyman. Prior to that he was a senior editor at Outside and the NFL editor at SB Nation.