Hospitality is something I think I’ve always gotten excited about. Either that or “preparedness,” which could maybe be considered the same thing! 😉 When I had friends over for sleepovers as a child, I wanted to make sure they had absolutely everything they needed – necessities and games and activities planned so they’d have a good time! 🙂 And today, it’s really no different. I’ve poured hours into this rental house in terms of organizing items, cleaning hard-to-reach corners, and maneuvering furniture around so as to create the coziest, happiest atmosphere possible out of what we currently have.
We don’t often get overnight guests here (you mean you don’t often drive through the middle of small-town southern Minnesota?!) but Bjorn and I both really enjoy it when we do have guests. Our home life is low-key and peaceful, for the most part. You don’t hear a lot of traffic noise here…and a big fish tank sits in our living room instead of a TV. It’s a great little retreat! A couple years ago, I turned one of the bedrooms upstairs into a cozy guest room and it’s such a sweet little haven (with to-die-for afternoon light!) that I find myself spending time there reading or praying a couple times a week!
We didn’t always have a sweet little guest room, though. Before we were married (and bought a bed), I lived here alone and slept in a different bedroom of the house in Bjorn’s dad’s metal-frame bunk bed from college! We kept that bunk bed in the house initially, and one of our first overnight guests (our college friend Noah) got to sleep there. I’m embarrassed to admit that he kind of had to wade through a lot of stuff stacked and stored in the room in order to get to the bed. 🙂
Luckily, I’ve gotten my organizational act together these past couple years. The two-becoming-one part of marriage can really mean a melding of a ton of stuff (especially since we each have a good amount of hobbies)! We’re much more settled in now – in terms of our possessions and our routines, which is such a relief and a joy! I’m thrilled to have a little guest room to offer visitors, but it does require intentionality to get to that point. This post idea has been on my mind for a long time now – and I finally feel ready and eager to share with you what I’ve learned so far!
5 Tips for Hosting Overnight Guests:
1 // Start with the goal of CLEAN before you attack the goal of DECORATING. If your first main focus is to create a “super cute” space, your guest room may end up feeling cluttered and not peaceful at all! I always start with paring things down and cleaning a room really well before setting up an organizational system or its theme. To any visitor, “clean” will be noticed before “cute,” and often in a guest’s mind, “clean” equates to “peaceful” and even “charming.” So, I say when in doubt as to how to decorate and set things up, start with just plain clean and tidy.
This obviously means things like fresh sheets and pillowcases on the bed, but it extends to remembering to make the bathroom spotless, too! Think about the places your guest will frequent most while in your home, and make sure those areas are extra tidy!
2 // Let your guest know what your household’s routines are, and then stay out of their way! What I mean by this is that it helps if you let your guest know what time you and/or your spouse will be up, and what time any shared morning commitments are. If you’re all heading to an event together, make sure you let your guest know what time you’ll all be leaving, so they can plan ahead for their own routine. By “stay out of their way,” I’m just saying that some people need down time after a trip, or time to shower, etc., so they may appreciate knowing you’ll give them some space to settle in a bit. Of course, you’ll probably already know your overnight guests well enough to just ask them these things – but it’s always nice to air on the side of being extra considerate! For us, although we live in a 3-bedroom house, there is only one bathroom, so I like to make sure my own routines stay out of the way of any overnight guests we have.
3 // Stock the kitchen with breakfast and drink options. My mom is a huge example of thoughtful hospitality for me. If I close my eyes I can envision how she’d set up a great “breakfast station” on our kitchen island whenever we would have friends or relatives over. So, setting out cereal boxes, bowls and spoons, granola bars, a couple mugs, and a box of tea can really help your guest feel at ease. It’s all there, and they’ll feel like they can reach for what they want. Even a note left on the kitchen table saying “Greek yogurt and orange juice in the fridge!” can simplify your guest’s morning routine. I like to do this even if we’ve planned to sit down to breakfast all together, because you never know when someone may wake extra early or realize just how hungry they are!
4 // Keep the room peaceful. In terms of color scheme, I’m not going to alter our rental home’s textured wallpaper with floral trim near the ceiling. However, I make sure that any decor I bring into the room generally fits with the peaceful, cool color scheme – I’m so grateful that the wallpaper in the guest room is a beautiful, light periwinkle color! I’ve tried to stick to white in our guest room, and I purchased an artsy hand lettered print of the 23rd Psalm from an Etsy shop.
5 // Pay attention to details as you stock the room! This is one of the most important aspects of creating a guest room. I make sure I always have certain items ready to go in the guest room: things like 1-2 water bottles, a granola bar, towels and washcloths, a fan for white noise, blankets and an electric blanket on the bed (hello, Minnesota winters!)…the list goes on. In fact, I’ve recently walked through our guest room and took note of all that I keep ready for overnight guests, and I compiled it into a list just for you! You can get access to the full checklist of all I do for our guest room below.
How do you make your overnight guests feel welcome?
PS – If you love cozy, clean homes and the simple life, make sure you’re following along with me on Instagram!! I share other daily snapshots of our life together over there – and I’d love to have you along for the ride! 🙂 Also, FYI – the room shown in this post is now our daughter Sophie’s room! It’s super cute: check out Sophie’s room here!