Whether it’s just for the night or you’re having family come for a holiday weekend, it’s up to you to make sure your guests feel comfortable and welcome. Sure, you might have a guest who’s impossible to please, but making sure they have everything they need can help reduce some of the stress you feel. The perfect weekend host anticipates guests’ needs and limits issues ahead of time. Make their visit the best ever with these simple and smart hosting tips.

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Modern guest room weekend host

Clear out personal belongings for a more welcoming space. Image: LKW Design

Set a specific timetable

You know what they say: house guests are like fish because they both start to stink after three days. When inviting family or friends to stay at your place, make sure you’re specific in your offer. Have a clear arrival and departure date and help coordinate travel so you don’t have guests that linger past their expiration dates.

Stock the guest room

Asking a weekend host for the essentials can be embarrassing for guests, so make sure the guest room is well-stocked. Whether traveling via train, plane or automobile, guests almost always need a drink of water and a place to freshen up as soon as they walk through your door. Supply a bottle of water and a fresh towel in the guest room for arrivals and then stock a guest room basket. Snacks, drinks, toothpaste, a comb, a face towel and other small personal items make your guests feel totally at home.

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Family room with partitioned office

Use folding screens to add privacy. Image: Hande Koksal

Offer privacy

Privacy can make all the difference in how guests feel in your home. Even if your place is on the small side, there are definitely ways to make sure guests have their own space. Direct other family members to use another bathroom to free up one for your guests. Use a folding screen to section off an area if your guests will be sharing a space or room with someone else. By giving guests their own dedicated space, they’ll feel like less an intruder and more a part of the family.

Remove personal items

Nothing reminds guests that they’ve usurped your master bedroom quite like seeing your hairbrush on the dresser and your picture frames on the nightstand. If you’re repurposing a space as a guest room, do your best to make it as neutral as possible. If using a kids room, for example, declutter the toys and swap out bedding for something a little more grown-up. Stash your personal stuff in a linen closet or attic and your guest won’t feel like they’re putting you out.

Get tech-friendly

Want to be everyone’s weekend host hero? Make sure their tech needs are totally taken care of. Post your wifi password somewhere (or add it to the guest room basket) and keep extra chargers and battery packs on hand. Give guests instructions on how to operate the TV and keep Netflix and other streaming service passwords handy. While it’s important to spend quality time together, it’s equally as important to make sure guests have some time to decompress with their tech.

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Guest room with desk

Give guests access to tech. Image: California Closets

Schedule foundational activities

You don’t need to schedule your guests’ every waking moment. Give them control over their own schedule by offering a few “foundational” activities each day. These are things like a family dinner, an outing to a museum or a movie night. Choosing one or two activities each day gives guests a flexible schedule that they can work around. If they have things they want to do, they’ll have plenty of time. If they’re planning on taking it easy, they have a little structure. This gives you the chance to reconvene, check-in, and stay connected throughout the weekend.

Plan snacks and meals

There’s nothing worse than having to ask for food at someone else’s house. And, even if you think it’s no big deal, your guests might rather go hungry than ask you to open the kitchen. Planning easy snacks and meals (and directing your guests to find them) takes some of the pressure off. Instead of insisting everyone show up to the table for breakfast, offer muffins and juice. Stock your pantry with grab-and-go snacks like granola bars and crackers and put yogurt and drinks in the fridge. Let guests know when you’ll be making meals and when they’ll need to fend for themselves and you’ll reduce some of your weekend host stress.

Share simple tasks

A good house guest will always ask to lend a hand and you might think a good host always refuses. But it’s a great idea to have a few easy tasks set aside for guests. You don’t need to do all the heavy lifting solo and asking for help makes guests feel like they’re pulling their own weight. No, you shouldn’t ask your aunt to scrub toilets, but you can definitely ask for help washing up after dinner or for a hand in the kitchen. Stop your knee-jerk reaction of saying “no” when someone asks to help and you’ll feel less frazzled.

When you have friends and family visit, you don’t have to stress. By taking some time beforehand to make your guests feel truly welcome, you’ll create a space that always feels warm, welcoming and drama-free.