How to Make Summer House Guests Feel at Home

With more than 17,000 inns located throughout the U.S., the bed and breakfast industry is worth an estimated $3.4 million, according to the Professional Association of Innkeepers International. Now you may not be one of these, but you may wish you had some tips from these inns as you open your home to friends or family members this summer. That’s why I’ve rounded up six tips to make your guests feel right at home.

Provide the Proper Guest Room

First things first, ensure your guests have a comfortable and clean place to relax. Even if you have to kick your son out of his room for the weekend to accomplish this. Make sure to remove as many personal items as possible to create a hotel-like setting for guests. Add fresh linens, extra pillows and fresh flowers to set a welcoming tone. Buy mattress products, like pads and toppers, to ensure guests will be able to get a good night’s sleep. New bedding always makes a statement to help guests feel as comfortable as they would be at their own home.

Give Guests Information About the Local Area

Offer your visitors magazines and local guides to encourage them to explore the area. That way, you send a clear message that your guests will be on their own at times and you can avoid being a tour guide to every destination they wish to visit.

Host a Dinner Party

Dinner party image by _dbr via Flickr.

If you have out-of-town family coming in and local family members who want to see them, set up a dinner party one night. Do this towards the start of their stay. Invite everyone over, cook a comforting meal and let everyone socialize. This way, you are not trying to cook a fabulous meal for guests who may stop in throughout the week. Keep it simple during those times by just hosting an open house with snacks and drinks for those who stop by.

Step Them Up for Their Own Adventure

You are busy with cleaning, entertaining various people, planning events and cooking meals. You may not want to spend every moment with your house guests during their stay. Create an out-of-the-house adventure for them by gathering up a picnic blanket and goodies, as well as a few board games and then let them enjoy it on their own. This gives guests something to do when you’re at work or just need a few minutes to yourself.

Dedicate a Bathroom

If possible, give your guests their own bathroom to use. This provides a level of privacy guests appreciate. It also prevents you from worrying about messy kids making a bad impression or unmentionables getting into the hands of the wrong person. They get privacy, you feel better. Win-win!

Stock Your Fridge Without Freaking Out About It

Many hosts think they much have every type of food and snack possible in the home for guests. That’s not the case as long as you have a well-stocked refrigerator. Check with guests about allergies or specific food needs before they arrive. Just remember, if they really want something specific, they can go out and get it at a restaurant. You don’t have to cater every meal and snack to keep your guests pleased.

Being a fabulous house host may seem like an intimidating challenge. Keep your cool, prep your home and forget about the “what if” scenarios. You do not have to be the go-to solution for your out-of-town guests, but be hospitable and welcoming throughout their stay.

Anna Thomas
Anna has a master’s degree in English from Indiana University. Her favorite color is red, of course.


  1. Pamela Halligan says:

    I enjoy having summer guests. It’s inevitable that there will be some disruption to your life whole they stay. We are lucky to have two full bathrooms and a nice guest room, but we have to share the kitchen. Once, a guest accidentally let one of my dogs slip out – we spent hours hunting him down. Another guest’s dog didn’t get along with one of our own. Kids are a whole other matter, as we don’t have any and aren’t quite used to having them around. Thanks for these great tips.

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