Whether you’re hosting a holiday, throwing a dinner party or having weekend guests for the first time, welcoming visitors into your home is an exciting–and nerve wracking–time. Instead of panicking, check out our 11 tips for getting your home in host-worthy condition.
1. Ask about dietary restrictions. Many people have gluten, dairy, nut, etc. allergies, so before you stock the fridge or plan the menu, be sure to ask everyone if they have any dietary restrictions that need to be taken into consideration.
2. Do you have a pet? Again, many people have allergies to dogs or cats, so you should let everyone know beforehand if you have a furry friend in the house.
3. Clean! Of course, you want to make sure your home is glowing before your guests arrive, paying special attention to the bathroom (is there anything grosser than a dirty bathroom?) and kitchen (where you’ll be prepping everyone’s food!). Don’t have time? Consider hiring a cleaning person to do a deep clean of these areas, and then you can straighten out the rest of your home on your own.
4. Ready the bathroom. Aside from making sure it’s clean, you’ll want to have an extra supply of toilet paper, clean towels and anything else guests might need.
5. Stock up in the kitchen. If you’re having overnight guests, make sure you buy plenty of their favorite foods and snacks, as well as coffee and tea for the morning.
6. Think about seating. Before you invite 20 people to Thanksgiving dinner, make sure you actually have enough room to seat everyone comfortably. If not, is there anything you can do to prep your home for this many people, such as buying a folding table and some chairs to set up in another room? Or if it’s warm enough to go outside, consider doing that.
7. Set the table in advance. Don’t wait until the day of your event to set the table. Instead, do it the night before so you have one less thing to do on the big day.
8. Prepare a guest area. If you have any friends or family staying with you, make sure they have a comfy place to sleep. If you have a guest room, great! If not, you might want to consider letting them stay in your bedroom, or investing in a pull-out sofa or a quality air mattress.
9. Find a place for coat and bags. If there isn’t enough room in a closet to hang up coats, then designate a specific area—like your bed—so that guests can lay these items down neatly until it’s time to go.
10. Make things pretty. Put out some vases with fresh flowers, lighting a few candles and playing soft music–all of these simple touches are always appreciated by guests.
11. Stay calm. It’s easy to freak out in the days and hours leading up to hosting—especially if it’s your first time. Just remember if you have great food, keep the wine flowing and are a gracious host, everyone will surely have a good time.