Posted: Apr 14, 2013 10:00 PM
Your first job, as a hostess, is making your guests feel at home. No matter how long they're staying, put these ideas to use and you're sure to have a house full of guests every single weekend!

The best part of hosting guests is hearing them cheerfully exclaim that they can't wait to come back. Get into a great hosting routine and not only will your guests be impressed, you'll spend less time prepping next time they come over.

Serve a casual meal

When it comes to entertaining for dinner, focus on companionship and conversation, not on fancy food. Make your guests feel at home with a casual meal that's fun to eat.

  • Serve various tapas or appetizers, allowing guests to make up their own plates.
  • Turn off the TV and (politely) discourage cell phones to encourage conversation.
  • Set up an ice cream or frozen yogurt sundae bar with basic toppings for dessert.
  • Mix and match dishes for an eclectic, fun dinner table.

Set up your bathroom like a hotel

fluffy stack of towels

If you really want to impress a guest, don't make her feel at home. Make her feel like she's staying at a hotel. When you have overnight guests, transform your bathroom into a clean, neat hotel bathroom with these simple tricks.

  • Stock your bathroom with fluffy white towels and washcloths.
  • Tuck travel-sized toiletries and individually wrapped soaps in a small basket on the bathroom counter.
  • Don't leave your own personal items, makeup or toothbrushes out on the counter.
  • Give the toilet a good scrubbing the day of your guests' arrival.

Make kids' rooms convertible

Don't have a guest bedroom? Don't worry. Use creative storage and bedding options to make your kids' rooms easy to convert into comfortable sleeping spaces for guests and their families. A quick bedding change and an hour cleaning up can transform a well-organized child bedroom into a guest bedroom.

  • Don't give away that crib mattress. Store it under a bed for wee guests.
  • Consider bunk beds or keep a guest cot in the garage.
  • Use creative storage to get toys off the floors and other surfaces.
  • Give your child adequate time to move his or her personal belongings out of sight if desired.

Set the tone for a good night's sleep

Not everyone adjusts well to spending the night somewhere new. To make your guests feel comfortable (and encourage them to return), promote a good night's sleep.

  • Offer white noise in the form of a sound machine or fan.
  • Make sure bedding has been freshly washed and is free of pet dander.
  • Keep a few extra pillows in your linen closet for guest use only.
  • Try to offer your guests sleeping spaces that are relatively dark. Cover kid's night lights and electronics.

More entertaining tips

Host a wine-tasting for your friends
Set up a party food bar
Secrets of a happy hostess