Many of us love the idea of entertaining friends and family in our homes on a regular basis. The reality is that we find we have a messy home that would take too long to pick up, we don't have adequate food and beverages on hand, or we simply don't think our house is "done" in the decorating department.
To help foster your desire to be hospitable and to have people over regularly, take these tips to have a guest-ready home.
Cleaning For Your Lifestyle
Are you a busy family that only has time for guests on the weekend? Do you prefer impromptu pop-overs or like to have it scheduled in your planner at least a week in advance? Do you prefer to have friends over for coffee in the mornings and save evenings for your immediate family?
Knowing the answers to these types of questions will help you figure out a cleaning schedule that will facilitate when you have guests over.
If you like weekend guests, then plan to clean and organize on Thursdays. If you like to have people pop over, do a quick pick up every morning so that your home is presentable (if not deeply cleaned) at a moment's notice. And if you like morning coffee with the neighbors, get the dishes done the night before and tidy up before bed.
You'd love to invite the new family from church over after services but you realize your cupboards are bare and you have nothing to serve them. Prevent this from happening by always having a few go-to recipes with the ingredients on hand.
Browse Pinterest and other sites on entertaining to come up with simple but yummy treats that you can either whip up on the spot, or just place out on a nice tray. Flavored nuts, breads and specialty butters and jams, candies, cheeses and cured meats and even popcorn with unique flavored salts can all be ready in an instant. As soon as you're out, grab some more at the store so that they're always on hand.
A Bevy of Beverages
Many times guests will take a beverage before they'll want food. Be sure to always have tasty water and ice on hand. A variety of sodas, seltzers, and juices come in handy as well. If you like the option of having quick hot beverages you can purchase a single-serving beverage maker like a Keurig which will make coffee, tea, and hot ciders on the spot. Always have at least one bottle of white wine in the fridge, a bottle of red stored somewhere, and a 6-pack of good beer. And if you really want to offer the most for your guests, purchase a bartender's guide and stock your bar with liquor and mixes.
You want the spaces in your home to feel welcoming for guests. So no matter how "done" you decorating is, there are a few touches you can add that will help guests feel comfortable in your home.
Leave the light on. A dark house is unwelcoming. If you like to have people pop over, keep your front entry light on whenever it's dark outside. If your living spaces are mostly towards the back of your house, have at least one light on in one front-facing room so that they know someone is home.
Have a place to put their stuff. A few extra hooks with nothing on them, a small bench, and a tray for shoes in your entryway all let your guest know that they are welcome.
Have adequate seating. If guests like to gather in your kitchen, be sure to have a few stools on hand that you can put out. If you like to visit in the living room, make sure the seating is geared toward conversation and not necessarily pointed directly towards the TV. Have comfortable chairs, ottomans and stools that you can quickly pull in from other parts of the house.
Use your "company" plates. Those beautiful china dishes you got for your wedding that you only seem to use at Christmas? Haul them out when guests come. Use your best dishes, glasses, and silverware. Alternatively, have beautiful paper plates and napkins on hand for guests. Grab some anytime you're out shopping at specialty stores and boutiques.
Break out the good soap. Stock your bathroom with a basket of nice smelling soaps and lotions. Have clean hand towels laid out. Make sure there is plenty of toilet paper. And have a candle going to block out any unwanted smells.
Living with Guests in Mind
When having guests over, obviously you want the rooms that they will be using to be "done" first when it comes to decorating. That means leaving the bedrooms alone and concentrating on the living room, dining room, and bathroom first. Also, having a guest room is nice if you plan to have overnight guests.
With that said, many folks feel like their space is never quite designed and decorated the way they want in to be. It's never "done". Never let this keep you from having guests over. Most people are there to see you, not your house.
Source: Michelle Schwake for Stafford Family Realtors