The beginning of summer is near and at our house that usually means one thing. Guests!!

When we moved back to Southeastern Washington in 2008 after six and a half years in Hawaii, we knew we wanted a house large enough to host the large number of out-of-the area family and friends we hoped would visit.

With that thought in mind, we purchased a four bedroom, three bath home with the ultimate grandchild magnet, a swimming pool. While that may seem like a lot of bedrooms for us empty nesters, I’ll tell you that those rooms fill up fast when company comes!

Our oldest daughter lives in Portland, Oregon, and when her family of five visits a couple of times a year, they use all three of the spare bedrooms.  And when my mother comes to visit, she has her own “Grandma Suite” that closes off from the rest of the house.

One of the guest rooms is called the “Kids Room” and in it, the grandkids can stay and play when they are here.  The sad thing we’ve noticed is that the grandkids are growing up and the blocks, toys and coloring books they once loved,  have made way for tablets and electronic games.  *sob, sob*

While I am by no means an expert on the perfect guest room amenities, I have learned a thing or two over the years. If you want to become an expert on equipping the perfect guest room, all you need to do is move to Hawaii.  You will get plenty of practice, as everyone wants to visit you in paradise!  But even for us mainlanders, it is important to follow certain steps to ensure guests are comfortable and enjoy their stay.

Here are a few suggestions that will help you achieve this goal:

  • Make the bed and bedding as lovely as you can possibly afford. There are high quality linens that can be found at various discounters, so there is no excuse to have your guests sleep on threadbare sheets. If the mattress is over ten years old, it may be time to spring (pun intended) for a new one.

  • Put layers of blankets and comforters on the bed to give guests options. Down comforters come in summer and winter weights, again at surprisingly reasonable prices.
  • This goes for towels in their designated bathroom, as well. Towels should be fluffy, freshly laundered, and the best quality you can afford. If they will be sharing a family bathroom, place their stack of towels on a chair or dresser in their room so they don’t have to go looking for them later.

  • If guests will be using their own bath, make sure it is sparkling clean and has a hair dryer available. Folding the toilet paper into a point is always a nice touch as well. I’m kidding….just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.
  • Leave some hotel size toiletries corralled in a basket or tray, in the bath or guest room, just for them. No matter how carefully we pack, everyone forgets something at one time or another. Make it less awkward by having it all at the ready. This should include soap, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash, a razor and body wash. If possible, spoil your guests with high end products. In travel sizes, they are still economical.

  • Have some bottled water or a bedside carafe on the nightstand. This would also be a good place to put a few chocolates, small packages of crackers or nuts, and some fresh fruit. In a strange house, it is more comfortable to have everything you need at arm’s length, rather than having to walk through a dark house to forage.

  • Have a notepad, pen and some easy reading material nearby. Some good books, crosswords and magazines, as well as literature about the area are always appreciated, and a nice reading light is a must.
  • Fresh flowers provide a special touch, as long as they aren’t overly allergy-inducingly fragrant.
  • Even in this day of cell phones, a bedside alarm clock is a nice feature.
  • If possible, have room darkening shades to ensure a good night’s sleep. Also keep the room as comfortable a temperature as possible. This is not the time to save money on your air conditioning or heating bill at your guests’ expense.

In my experience, incorporating as many of these suggestions as possible will make your guests feel welcome, at home, and keep them coming back again and again. In fact, they may never want to leave!  Now if that is not your goal, we will cover that in a future blogpost…..

Good tidings,


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