November 24th, 2015
Your home with guests is a very different space than your home with just you, and preparing for visitors can be an overwhelming time crunch, especially with the heightened expectations of the holidays. With Thanksgiving just past and the rest of the season soon to follow, here are some of our favorite tips and ideas so that you can enjoy this time instead of being flattened out by it. Your home should exude what ‘home’ means to you, and put every guest at ease; be it a crackling fire in the living room, late night hot chocolate sitting around the kitchen table, or everything in between. Let your home be exactly that — for both you, your friends, and family.
The first impulse when guests are invited is to scour your home as if it’s never been cleaned before. Instead, breathe, and focus on the spaces guests will actually be using. Your personal bedroom, for example, can continue being a disaster area; no one will expect to see it. It feels like every dust bunny is on display, but they aren’t. Focus on cleaning what’s visible to a guest, so that you have time to focus on the details that make your house a home. That project spread on the kitchen table? Don’t try to finish it now. Keep meaning to sort that pile of papers in the foyer? Wait until after New Year’s. For the time being, pack all clutter away into bags in the closet, car trunk, wherever you can keep it out of sight so that you can enjoy your guests company with thinking about it or feeling the impulse to tidy.
In choosing which details to focus on, consider what you love having around when you’re a guest, for either fun or convenience. Bedside tables should be filled with basics: reading lamp, water glass, tissues; extra blankets at the foot of the bed. Bathrooms should have easily accessible reserves of the obvious; but for the little things, like q-tips and cotton balls, have fun with the containers by using tea cups, or those endless pottery pieces the kids made in elementary school. A unique way to celebrate the gift of giving this season can include stocking rooms with good reads – favorite books and magazines – and to encourage your guests to take them home after the holidays.
If you’re having several guests, you’re understandably thinking about balancing sleeping arrangements. But don’t forget, people remember the time spent awake and in the company of one another. Don’t be afraid to temporarily rearrange the furniture of communal areas for the visit, and not just for the sofa bed. Living rooms should have plenty of available seating of different sizes and levels; but they can also be grouped into small bunches for more intimate conversation or bouts of privacy. Putting out a few snacks is never amiss, and a self-serve beverage cart can be a fun addition to keep the atmosphere going at all times, while also allowing you to stop stressing about constantly refilling friends’ glasses.
Are you a chef extraordinaire? Then you’ll probably find your guests wanting to be with you in the kitchen — if not for your lovely presence, at least to taste-test for fun. To avoid cramping, allow for extra seating around the perimeter so you can still chat, cook, and enjoy your guests’ company, too. We all crave comfort and togetherness. Your house isn’t just your home — it’s an extension and expression of all you love most. Naturally, and especially at this wonderful time of year, you want each and every person who spends time there to be as welcomed and comfortable in your home as you are; and with all you have to offer, they surely will.
Please let us know if we can help make your home “holiday” ready or ready for any other time of year!