Welcome Host or Hostel?

A friend invites you to come and stay for a few days. She tells you that she and her husband have a great setup and are excited to have you as their guest, so you go. But when you get there, you find out that their “great setup” was really just a setup…
So there you are—in their one bedroom, one bath, attic apartment with no a/c. Despite your protests, they insist you sleep in their bed while they sleep on the hide-a-bed in the living room and then remind you of that inconvenience every day. The bathroom, located in the middle of the tiny apartment, amplifies sounds and smells, and they seem to have no problem commenting about your digestion issues. If you leave the lights on or shower too long, you are duly informed of the added expense that your stay is costing them. Dinners are last week’s leftovers—only enough for two, but split between three—so they don’t have to be bothered with the extra cooking or cleaning. 
I wish I could say I made this up, but it really happened—to me. Whether they meant to send the signal or not, I was sure of one thing: I was not welcome. Uncomfortable the whole time, and never fully unpacking my overnight bag for the three days that I was there, I realized that staying at a hostel would’ve been cozier.
But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? At the very least, this experience taught me what not to do as a host. So how do I make my guests feel welcome? Let me share with you how I choose to nest pretty and make my home a haven for my guests.

Nest Pretty For Your Guests


  • In their room I leave the following:

WiFi password—It’s one of the first things people ask for when they come for a stay, so I make it readily available. Mine hangs on a decorative rack behind the guest room door, right next to the pool key.

Welcome gift—Just a little token that tells them I’m happy they’re here. If you would like ideas about what to get your guests, read my blogs “Show Yourself Thankful” or “Don’t Look a Gift Horse in the Mouth.”  

Water station—I make a self-service water station in their room, which keeps my guests happy and hydrated.

Diffuser—I have essential oils diffusing in their guest room before they arrive. I want their breath to be taken away by the relaxing atmosphere. This is my favorite.

  • When my guests arrive, I give them a tour. I want them to know everything they need to know; how to work the tv, and where all of the other essentials are. I do my best to make them feel like this will be their home for the duration of their stay.


  •  I try to supply everything a guest might forget: toothbrush, razor, shaving cream, toothpaste, blow dryer, sunscreen, etc. What have you forgotten on your trips? Make sure your guests have it.


  •  I also make sure that I have their favorite morning beverage, whether that’s coffee, tea, or Dr. Pepper. I prefer my guests to be cordial instead of cranky in the morning, so I get them what they want.

But just a few words of advice:

  • If it needs explaining, fix it or get rid of it. Do they need to jiggle the toilet handle 37 times to flush or take the lid off to get it to stop running? Call a plumber before they arrive. Is the guest pillow the same one you had through puberty? Throw it out and buy a new one.


  • If they are coming from another coast, remember that their stomachs are not in your time zone. Feed them and fast. The last things I want is “hangry” guests on my hands.


  • It’s not all about you. People love to talk about themselves. So talk to your guests about their lives and what interests them.

Looking back, as an unwanted guest, I don’t know if I could have done anything differently. But after that experience, I became determined, as a hostess, to turn my home into my guest’s haven. After all, when you invite friends to stay with you, you have chosen to take care of them while they are with you. You wouldn’t want your friends to feel cozier at a hostel, so choose to be a gracious host. Choose to be kind and make your guests feel welcome. By choosing to Nest Pretty, you will become the hostess everyone wants to stay with, with a real setup that will make any guest feel at home.

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