six ways to make overnight guests feel welcome

A lovely and comfortable guest room setup

As a guest, there’s nothing better than being able to settle into a comfortable space, feeling welcomed and immediately at ease.

Whether you are a seasoned host or getting ready to welcome friends and family into your home for the first time (or the first time in a long time), here are six ways to make your visitors feel like guests of honour.

1. Create A Restful Space

Just like your own bedroom, your guest room should be a relaxing oasis. For the most soothing feel, decorate in soft neutrals or tranquil mid-tones, emphasizing texture over pattern. When selecting artwork, choose a peaceful scene or something of local interest.

One of the easiest ways to set a relaxing mood in the guestroom is with soft, indirect lighting. If you can, stick to lamps with dimmers or 3-way bulbs to let guests set the light as low (or bright) as they prefer. Be sure to place a reading or task light beside the bed and another on the desk and/or beside a reading chair or sofa.

2. Build Your Room Around a Comfy, Cozy Bed

Unless the room is quite small, it’s a good idea to outfit it with a full or queen bed to accommodate couples as well as single guests. Although it might be tempting to go with the simplest of options and just use a plain bed frame, a headboard will help add to the comfy, cozy feeling and give the room a more finished, intentional look.

If floor space is at a premium, consider purchasing a storage bed for the guest room. You can use its drawers to free up room in the closet, hide clutter, or hold all your guest room linens and towels, keeping them conveniently in one place.

The style of mattress you choose is up to you, but for the most luxurious-feeling sleep, go with a high quality memory foam mattress or one that has memory foam in its top comfort layer. In terms of firmness, our advice is to pick a medium-firm mattress that will allow your guests to sleep comfortably, no matter their sleep position. (Fun fact: Most people are side sleepers anyway.)

If you don’t have an entire room to use as a guest room, or if you need that room to do double duty, consider a comfortable sofa bed, sleeper sectional, or media sleeper. Some even come with built-in storage for linens and pillows, allowing you to convert your living room or media room into a guest room at a moment’s notice.

3. Let Guests Pick Their Perfect Pillow

If it’s in the budget, buy two different pillows (one firm and one soft or medium-soft) for each place in the bed. Most people turn into Goldilocks when picking their pillow, so it’s nice to have a couple of options to find the one that’s “just right.”

After your visitors have left, remove and launder the pillowcases and let the pillows fully air out, or use your steam dryer’s hygiene setting to freshen them up between uses. Charcoal-infused pillows, like the one above, also have the added benefit of being naturally odor-controlling, making them an especially good option for guest rooms.

4. Invest in Good Linens and Towels

Having a dedicated set of sheets and towels will go a long way to make your guests feel taken care of. It may be a little investment at the beginning, but when you think about how much they will get used compared to your everyday linens, it’s an investment that will pay off in the long run.

To keep the guest linens and towels from getting mixed up with your everyday family linens, choose a unique set for guest use only and make sure they are washed and returned to the guest room immediately after your visitors depart. (This will make it easier to accommodate last-minute guests, too!)

When picking the linens for your guest room, opt for a duvet and machine washable duvet cover over a heavy comforter or quilt. You’ll find duvet covers much easier to launder than a comforter, and you can use an all season duvet on its own in the summer and with a blanket or coverlet in the winter to customize the level of warmth for your guests.

5. Give Guests Room to Unwind

Guests that are staying longer than one night will appreciate a little extra space to unpack, spread out, and relax in peace. A small dresser or chest, and/or room in the closet, will give guests the option of unpacking their bags for a few days. Don’t forget to provide hangers!

Reminder: If your guest room has a second life as a bonus or hobby room, be sure to clear out or put away all the extra “stuff” before your guests arrive to reduce visual clutter.

If there’s room for it, a comfy recliner or armchair and ottoman in the room gives guests a place to sit and read or just relax away from the hustle and bustle of a busy household. Bonus: In between guests, you can use this space as your own private retreat.

A small desk is also a welcome addition as it allows guests to set up their laptop to check emails or do a little work. Instead of art, hang a mirror over the desk and it will double as a handy vanity—perfect for guests who don’t want to tie up the family bathroom getting ready or applying makeup.

6. Anticipate Your Guests’ Needs

There are few things more awkward for a guest than having to ask their host for every little thing. Whether it’s clean towels or the Wi-Fi password, having everything at your guests’ fingertips will not only make them feel more welcome, but it will also help make YOUR job as a host easier. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Gather together a collection of personal-sized toiletries and essentials (pain reliever, antacid, dental floss, etc.) on a pretty tray and place in the guest room or guest bathroom.
  • Keep a phone charger handy beside the bed or at the desk, in case your guest forgets theirs. Multi-phone chargers have several connectors on one cable to accommodate the most common charging ports.
  • Print out the Wi-Fi log in and password and place in a pretty frame on the desk or nightstand.
  • Provide bottled water (or a covered carafe of filtered water) in the guest room, so thirsty guests don’t have to make their way to the kitchen at night.
  • A basket of slippers and/or warm socks is always welcome in air conditioned homes and during the colder months. Always have a warm throw or two on hand, as well. For an extra-special touch, have a cozy robe in the room for guests to use during their stay.

Remember, the perfect guest room feels comfortable, private, and welcoming. If you keep that in mind when designing your space, you’ll create a guest room that will make your visitors feel at ease and, in turn, make the experience of hosting more enjoyable for everyone.


Do you have any great tips for hosting guests in your own home? We'd love to hear them! Tag #DufresneStyle on Instagram or Facebook and share them with us!