The best part of hosting guests is hearing them cheerfully exclaim that they can't wait to come back. Get into a great hosting routine and not only will your guests be impressed, you'll spend less time prepping next time they come over.
Serve a casual meal
When it comes to entertaining for dinner, focus on companionship and conversation, not on fancy food. Make your guests feel at home with a casual meal that's fun to eat.
- Serve various tapas or appetizers, allowing guests to make up their own plates.
- Turn off the TV and (politely) discourage cell phones to encourage conversation.
- Set up an ice cream or frozen yogurt sundae bar with basic toppings for dessert.
- Mix and match dishes for an eclectic, fun dinner table.
Set up your bathroom like a hotel
If you really want to impress a guest, don't make her feel at home. Make her feel like she's staying at a hotel. When you have overnight guests, transform your bathroom into a clean, neat hotel bathroom with these simple tricks.
- Stock your bathroom with fluffy white towels and washcloths.
- Tuck travel-sized toiletries and individually wrapped soaps in a small basket on the bathroom counter.
- Don't leave your own personal items, makeup or toothbrushes out on the counter.
- Give the toilet a good scrubbing the day of your guests' arrival.
Make kids' rooms convertible
Don't have a guest bedroom? Don't worry. Use creative storage and bedding options to make your kids' rooms easy to convert into comfortable sleeping spaces for guests and their families. A quick bedding change and an hour cleaning up can transform a well-organized child bedroom into a guest bedroom.
- Don't give away that crib mattress. Store it under a bed for wee guests.
- Consider bunk beds or keep a guest cot in the garage.
- Use creative storage to get toys off the floors and other surfaces.
- Give your child adequate time to move his or her personal belongings out of sight if desired.
Set the tone for a good night's sleep
Not everyone adjusts well to spending the night somewhere new. To make your guests feel comfortable (and encourage them to return), promote a good night's sleep.
- Offer white noise in the form of a sound machine or fan.
- Make sure bedding has been freshly washed and is free of pet dander.
- Keep a few extra pillows in your linen closet for guest use only.
- Try to offer your guests sleeping spaces that are relatively dark. Cover kid's night lights and electronics.