Is Your Guest Room Guest Worthy?

Photo by Ron Behrmann

Photo by Ron Behrmann

For some folks Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday house guest season, but around here it’s October’s Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. People come from all over the world to participate, to experience, and to visit us in our homes.

Of course it’s nice to have a spare room devoted to only guests, but not everyone has that luxury. The guest room often doubles as an office, a den, a laundry-folding station, or even a child’s room, with the kids doubling up when company comes. But no matter where you put your guests, there are ways to make them feel more comfortable and make things easier for YOU, too:


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  • Look around.  Would YOU want to sleep in this room? Are you using it as a dumping ground for laundry, toys, or other clutter? Is it clean?
  • Don’t wait until the last minute! Now is a good time to sort, purge, put things away where they belong, or donate them to charity. Ask for help if you need it.
  • Is the room crowded with furniture? Remove unnecessary pieces to make more room for your guests.


  • Does the bedspread pattern compete with the wall color, carpeting, window coverings, and artwork?  Who’s winning? You don’t have to completely redecorate. Sometimes removing the worst offender is all it takes.
  • Are the walls bare and boring?  Paint an accent wall, or add one large piece of colorful, inexpensive art.


  • Nothing says “We’re glad you are here!” like a welcome basket with a bottle of water; some fruit, nuts or other snacks; clean towels and miniature toiletries; and a current magazine your guest might enjoy. Maybe even a little welcome note. Be creative!
  • They need a place to put their stuff.  A shelf, a table top, a drawer. A fold-up hotel-style suitcase stand can come in handy. It’s also nice to provide some hanging space in a closet, or with a wall-mounted clothing hanger. Show them a convenient place to charge their electronic devices.
  • Is there a comfortable place to sit, and a lamp to read by?


  • Provide a map of the area and some travel brochures (from any local hotel lobby), or a list of your own favorite places to eat and to visit.
  • Let them know which meals you are planning to prepare, which ones you all might want to eat out, and which ones they’ll be on their own.
  • Are you providing transportation, or are they?
  • Will you be joining them on sightseeing day trips, or will you be meeting them later to hear all about their day? There’s no need to spend every minute together. They could probably use some me-time too!
  • Related blog post: How to Be an Introverted Houseguest or Host Without Driving Each Other Crazy


  • The more of your guests’ needs you can anticipate, and prepare for in advance, the more you can relax while they’re here.

Who’s coming to visit you? When? What else do you consider when company’s coming? Please share with us in the comments below!

It’s never too soon to start making your guest room Guest Worthy!

Copyright 2012-2015 by Hazel Thornton, Organized For Life.
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  1. Linda Stanley on September 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Mine does double as a craft room, but, unless a project is in process, all of that is hidden away on shelves in the 13′ long closet. The single daybed w/trundle converts to a king with a pop of a button, the luggage rack hangs at the back of the closet, along with 3′ of open hanging space, a writing desk, 2 phones-bedside & desk top, a computer station, wi-fi if you prefer your own laptop, color tv/dvd-vcr/cable/remote adjacent bath. When are you coming for a visit? The leaves are just starting to do their color show. (I was a Brownie, Junior, Senior, & LIT, prior to being a leader, and COUNCIL Cookie Chairperson-they give a “purple” bar for that-should be a purple heart!)

    • Hazel Thornton on September 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm

      Lest this leaves any of my other readers feeling inadequate, Linda, too, is a professional organizer! She is, indeed, prepared! Speaking of which, Linda, did you read my recent post entitled “Be Prepared: How Scouting Helped Me Get Organized For Life”?

  2. Seana Turner on October 17, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    I just spent time as a guest and appreciated that she had a drawer full of shampoo, conditioner, lotion, etc that she had picked up along the way.

    • Hazel Thornton on October 18, 2015 at 8:17 am

      Yes, in addition to a guest-specific welcome basket I also have a drawer full of sometimes-essentials that I point out to them.

  3. Sabrina Quairoli on October 17, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    Great tips for making guests feel comfortable. For people who do not have a designated guest room, making a nice large welcome basket filled with towels and other goodies works great too.

    • Hazel Thornton on October 18, 2015 at 8:37 am

      Yes, the welcome basket is nice no matter where they are sleeping! (Can’t tell if you didn’t see it, under Comfort, or if you’re just agreeing with it?) Another way to provide comfort, if there is no designated guest room, is to use a screen to create a little space of their own in the corner of the living room, or wherever.

  4. Jill Robson on October 17, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    I think making your company feel welcome is key. I try to have the food available that I know they like, when my father come to stay I have to stock up on marmalade because he eats it every day.

    • Hazel Thornton on October 18, 2015 at 8:13 am

      I try to consider my guests’ dietary preferences as well, but sometimes it’s nearly impossible. Oh, you’re a diabetic, but now you want ice cream? OK…. So I just ask in advance if there’s anything special they’d like me to have on hand.

  5. Janet Barclay on October 18, 2015 at 5:17 am

    I love it when the host puts any toiletries and other personal items guests might need during their stay where they can easily find them. Some of us aren’t comfortable asking for such things if we forget to bring them!

    • Hazel Thornton on October 18, 2015 at 8:51 am

      Guests don’t want to ask, and I, as a host, don’t want them to suffer OR ask. Nor do I want either of us to have to run to the store! (I have other things on my mind, like our next meal or activity.) If I can anticipate that they might need aspirin, tampons, Bandaids, Kleenex, Q-tips, lip balm, toothbrush, or razor, why not toss a little bit of everything in the drawer along with the soap, shampoo, lotion, and toothpaste? (All in small/travel/sample sizes of course!)

      • Janet Barclay on October 18, 2015 at 9:42 am

        When can I come and visit? 😉

        • Hazel Thornton on October 18, 2015 at 10:16 am

          Anytime, Janet! LOL! 🙂

  6. Hilda on October 18, 2015 at 5:30 pm

    These are great tips Hazel! We don’t have a guest room, but as someone who has been a guest, I really appreciate when a host has thought through these things. Especially decluttering… there’s nothing like feeling like you’re sleeping in a storage unit!

    • Hazel Thornton on October 20, 2015 at 7:55 am

      Thanks for your comment, Hilda!

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