Simple Ideas Welcoming Overnight Guests

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Learn how to prepare for overnight visitors and make your home comfortable for guests with these simple Welcome Ideas for Guests.

Learn how to prepare for overnight visitors and make your home comfortable for guests with these simple Welcome Ideas for Guests. #welcome #hospitality #overnightguests 

Keeping Your Overnight Guests Comfortable

It’s that time of year when many of us will soon be having overnight guests in our homes for the holidays and various celebrations and family fun. We love having company at our house and making them feel welcome is an important part of the visit for us.

There are many things that you can do to prepare for company to help them feel welcome in your home during their stay, today I’m sharing some of those tips with you and I’d love it if you shared some of yours in the comments section!

Welcome Ideas for Guests

1. Prep the room ahead of time. Make sure that the sheets are fresh and clean. Have a choice of pillows if possible (hard, soft, fluffy, etc) and have extra blankets in the room, especially if the weather is cold. Also, make sure to have clean towels available (bath, wash, and hand towels).

2. Keep a “Just in Case” basket in the room. You know those little baskets that you get in a hotel room with little shampoos, soaps, etc. in them? Make one of those for your guest’s room with little travel size products. Include things like shampoo, lotion, and toothpaste. Some other things you may also consider including is: a water bottle or two, some granola bars or simple snacks, a night light, earplugs, and some magazines or a book for them to read.

–For a special touch, get some small, empty bottles and fill them with your own homemade lotions and shampoos instead of store bought.

3. Make some quick “stations” so they won’t have to go searching for things. Know that your guests will want some snacks at some point during their visit? Clear off a shelf in your fridge and put some drinks and snacks where they can easily grab them. (Don’t forget to show them “their shelf”!)

Think your guest may need some things before they head outside? Make a station with extra hats, mittens, and other outdoor wear they may need.

Do your guests have children? Make a station with special things they might enjoy. Coloring books, books, games, and a few small toys they can play with during their stay.

4. Write a little letter. If your house has certain quirks (and whose house doesn’t?), write a little note to your guests and place it in their room. This note could include things like the wifi password, how the shower works, how to use the washer, how to adjust the heat in their room, etc. Make sure to let them know how glad you are to have them join you for their stay.

5. Have a slow, welcoming breakfast. I’ve always thought it was nice to have a fun, sit down breakfast on the days that our company is here. Make muffins or other pastries (Cream Cheese Danish is always a favorite), or something else that takes a little while to eat, so that you can have a nice slow breakfast and chat before the activities that you have planned for the day. This is such a nice way to connect with your company while they are at your home.


6. Do not light candles or put flowers in the room. This might seem like the opposite advice to what you’ve heard before but as someone that has perfume/fragrance allergies, I do not feel very welcome in a home that is burning a highly fragranced candle in my room. Although it’s a sweet gesture, maybe a better alternative would be to leave a candle (with a lid) in the room and your guest can light it if they choose to.

7. Share your routine with your guests. If you have little ones that wake up at night, you may want to warn your guests before bed. Or if you get up early make sure to let your guests know that you will be up and about (but quiet if they want to sleep in!).

8. Include your guests in your life. Of course, don’t make them do chores if they don’t want to! But sometimes a guest can feel more comfortable and like they are at home if they can do things with you. We had some company this summer and they happily helped me weed and pick in the garden. They thought it was fun to do a “farm chore” and I couldn’t say no to the extra help!

Having guests in your home can be a fun and enjoyable time for all if everyone feels comfortable and welcome. And of course, more than any of the other tips above, make sure that you take time to spend with your house guests while they are visiting (aka – don’t spend the entire time making sure your house is always spotless!) and enjoy their company.

Looking for some easy breakfast ideas for overnight guests? These make or prep ahead recipes give you more time in the mornings with your guests:

Make Ahead French Toast Casserole

Breakfast Hashbrown Casserole

Simple Scone Mix Recipe

Simple Cheese and Bacon Quiche Recipe

Slowcooker Breakfast Recipes

20 Delicious Oatmeal Breakfast Recipes

Easy Breakfast Themes to Simplify Your Mornings

Make Ahead Breakfasts for a Busy Season


What are some tips that you have for making guests feel welcome and comfortable?


This post on Welcome Ideas for Guests was originally published on Little House Living in July 2015. It has been updated as of October 2019.

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  1. Great suggestions! I am excited that we will have my mother-in-law and sister-in-law over for Thanksgiving this year. We make sure to clear a space in closets for them to use, to get a few drinks that we know they like but we don’t typically have (Diet Dr. Pepper!), etc. I also try to cook meals that I know they enjoy. Thanks for the great tips!

  2. This is a really excellent, thorough list! I would add – find out what they drink in the morning! People can be so set in their ways, so it’s nice to have their favorite coffee/tea/creamer/sugar/juice whatever it may be on hand!

  3. Found this post via the new Christmas article. This is so good! I toured with a small singing group and stayed in many homes across the US. All of our hosts meant well and were friendly, but there were MANY instances when someone had to go ask for towels or go without toothpaste or breakfast. (Not to mention a few times where we had dirty bedding or hosts who routed us out of bed at 5am!) I was sincerely grateful for their kindness in putting us up, but there’s a lot to be said for the kind of hospitality that tries to avoid any awkwardness or discomfort. Thanks for being a “teacher of good things”!

  4. Thanks for some lovely ideas on people staying in your house. They are brilliant ideas

    We have not stayed over in relatives homes for quite some time, nor had anyone staying with us, but your ideas are something I will keep for the future. We have stayed in B&B’s in the Lake District who hadn’t changed the bedding before their next clients. 🙁 and we had to complain also we had no hot water for the shower and when we were sitting at breakfast we mentioned the lack of hot water and the owner turned to everyone else in the dining room and said “did you all have hot water” they all said yes, he turned to us and said he didn’t believe us. Then when I asked for a poached egg instead of fried egg he went into the kitchen and said loudly “there’s always one isn’t there who wants something different”

  5. My best friend once advised that you should always spend one night in your guest room to see if you are missing anything that would make guests comfortable. I did that and realized I didn’t even have a trash can in there. Oops!

    Great ideas on this list!! Never thought of the “guest shelf” in the fridge!

  6. Hi Marisa,

    I subscribed to your website 2-3 years ago both to help out and to learn from a fellow pioneer.
    Unfortunately this is the end of the line for me. You see, about a year ago I decided to stop visiting websites that bombarded me with seemingly endless and sometimes repetitive advertising and even unrelated to my search that followed my movement on the pages.
    I found/find them totally inappropriate and wasteful of me and attention.
    This page along has no less than 8 of those + 4 of your own. I realize that 95% of people do it and the owners find a way to justify but I don’t engage in those practices on my website and I’m making a conscious effort to only visit other such humble site.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that and sorry that you feel that way. In 2018 it cost over $20,000 to keep Little House Living running. I also spend countless hours writing articles and keeping up with the maintenance on the website. I’ve tried to be very careful about how many ads we have here on the site and try to stay away from the ones that I find really annoying but unfortunately, I have to get paid something for my time to run the site and I need to be able to pay the bills to keep the site running, just like every website owner. If you’d like more details on why I have ads, please feel free to check out this article: Why Do You Have Ads on Little House Living?

  7. Plan to do one activity that is unique to your area. Also, I send a text or email ahead of time asking them if there is something special they would like to see or do while visiting. Sometimes I send them video links to special activities in our area (ie: history of the WIllamette river) so that they anticipate the visit.

  8. Merissa , thank you for all the tips. I feel like I am a very organized gal, but I have to say you have terrific advice and ideas. I have family staying with us for Thanksgiving and I can’t wait to get the room ready for them. Keep up the good work and thank you for caring for all of your readers.

  9. I haven’t hosted overnight guests for a while, but I love gettting reminders and new ideas for making them feel welcome. Thanks, Merissa!