Hosting friends at your home over the Summer can be a wonderful way to reconnect and have fun. It’s far more affordable than going abroad to some exotic location. But it can still be an opportunity to relax and unwind, have fun, and see your local area from a tourist’s point of view! Many people are amazed by how much they’re missing out on in their own backyard, so to speak. If we have become entirely accustomed to our local area, we may well think it has nothing in particular to offer. The advantage of hosting guests who may be new to the area is that we make more effort. We browse more listings, visit more attractions, and get more creative with our time. You will be surprised how a change of attitude and approach can appear to change your environment.
But exploring the attractions of the area is only part of the trip. The major consideration is likely to be how to host your friends or guests from home. You will want to appear considerate and attentive, while still allowing for privacy and independent. You will hope to make them feel comfortable and relaxed in their rooms but may still need to keep the costs down. Fortunately, hosting guests is rarely about overhauling your home and garden. Unless you want it to be! With a few guest-friendly tweaks and preparations, you can instantly become a hosting pro. Your friends will have a wonderful time, return home refreshed, and already be planning their next visit!
The Guest Room
If you are fortunate enough to have a guest bedroom or spare room then it is likely to already be quite well prepared. You may already have fresh sheets and duvets, but adding new towels for guest use can be a pleasant touch. It is an item that many of us forget to pack or that simply takes up too much room in a suitcase. But there is nothing better than freshening up with a hot shower or relaxing bath after travelling. With fresh towels waiting and perhaps a bottle of bath foam, you can make your guests feel instantly at home. If it suits your personal taste, keep the guest room quite minimal. Guests can arrive and already feel cramped by their luggage, coats, and so on. So a minimal room, even if only a modest size, can be a breath of fresh air. If you want to add some detail, a bouquet of fresh cut flowers can add some life and vibrancy. A selection of leaflets about local activities can also make for good reading materials and help them to shape their itinerary. It can also be much appreciated to leave an extra hairdryer in there! There are few things worse than taking a shower, wrapping up in a towel, and realising you will have to go and ask someone to borrow their dryer!
If you cannot devote a room entirely as a guest bedroom, don’t panic. Many guests fully expect to be in the study, the attic, or taking over someone else’s room while they sleep on the sofa! This in itself is not an issue, but there are some areas of concern you can address. Privacy will be paramount for your guests. It makes them feel like they can relax and will not be intruded up. Try to select a room with a lock or fit one yourself. If your guests are staying in a room that will be required by others, such as the home office or games room, then set limits. If your guests will not be in the room during the afternoon, aim to anyone who needs the computer to use it then, for example. Perhaps there is a time in the evening when you will all be out, so the teenagers of the house can play games or use the computer. Communicate openly and you are far less likely to step on each other’s toes. Rooms with multiple purposes can work well as guest rooms and run seamlessly as long as compromise is possible.
A garden of any size or style can be a great addition to a household and a perfect paradise for guests. In the warmer months, having an invigorating breakfast in the garden as the sun rises can be a wonderful way to start the day. Then there are few better ways to unwind on a balmy evening than on the patio with a glass of wine. If your garden has seen better days, it can feel overwhelming to try and overhaul it. But a few extra details like plants, lighting and even extra seating can make all the difference. If your garden has become overgrown or the dumping ground for unused toys and tools, consider spending an afternoon sorting it out. Addressing simple matters can make the most visual difference so spend time on the obvious issues. No-one will notice if the flower beds aren’t immaculate or if the roses are growing crooked. A tidy garden immediately looks more inviting and well kept. Adding an outdoor heater or sparkling lights can make evenings in the garden come alive. If you have a more generous budget and timescale, consider upgrading the decking or adding a patio for seating. A balustrade around the edges is eye-catching and separates the section from the wider parts of the garden. Designs with an aluminium coating look contemporary and sleek, are durable for all weathers.
This is likely to be a hive of activity. With additional guests in the house, you can be surprised how chaotic and congested the kitchen can become. Plan ahead to avoid any difficulties. You can make the kitchen easier to navigate with touches like labelling cabinets and drawers. Searching high and low for a knife and fork if you are new to the house can be a nightmare! Have a fruit bowl or cookie jar that everyone can help themselves to for snacks to create an easy-going, family atmosphere. It can also be helpful to have a notebook or sticky notes on the fridge. That way, anyone can add items that may need picking up on the next shopping trip. Things can run low alarmingly quickly with guests and it’s better to be prepared. You can also encourage your guests to simply leave a note on the fridge if they want to nip out. This supports a degree of independence and can be a real time-saver.
The House Rules and Details
It can be helpful to discuss any house rules or details over a coffee when your guests arrive or via email. This can include details such as your WIFI password or security system instructions. Or it might be rules about the dog or pets such as which rooms they’re allowed in or whether they should be kept off the sofas! Don’t forget to tell your guests if they are always supposed to remove their shoes. If your guests might be exploring alone then consider having an extra key made and advise whether they should always lock the door. Many families keep their doors locked even when people are inside, for example. It may seem finicky to list details or rules in this way. But it can be far less of an inconvenience than constantly nagging, or interrupting with rules that you intended to tell them at the start. Ultimately, it is important to acknowledge that some accidents are perhaps inevitable. But everyone is doing their best to respect each other’s time, space, and boundaries. Relax, raise any concerns early on, and just have fun!