Skip to content

The First Things Guests Notice When They Stay Over at Your House

Experts say you'll want to keep these in mind while you're tidying up in preparation.

​​Real talk: No matter how much—or little—time you have to prepare for overnight houseguests, it never quite seems like enough. It's next to impossible to take care of every dusty shelf and cluttered counter, which means your best bet is to prioritize the things your visitors will actually notice.

According to Yasmine El Sanyoura, home designer at the real estate website Opendoor, one thing you don't need to worry about is drawers and cabinets that are outside of the kitchen and guest room, since guests are unlikely to explore these. You can also probably skip cleaning the inside of appliances and reorganizing the fridge or closets.

All those details aside, you may be surprised by how much your guests do pick up on when they stay over at your house. It probably goes without saying that you should vacuum and wipe down surfaces before they arrive. However, here are some other things you'll definitely want to keep in mind while prepping for their stay.

READ THIS NEXT: The First Things Guests Notice About Your Living Room, According to Experts.

The curb appeal.

Plants on a home doorstep boosting the curb appeal

It's easy to get so hyper-focused on how the inside of your home appears that you forget the exterior—which is the first thing your guests will see when they pull up.

"The exterior of your home signals what they might be able to expect when they come inside," explains El Sanyoura. "So, a polished front porch also suggests polished interiors."

To make a killer first impression, El Sanyoura suggests getting rid of any dirt and grime by the front door, adding a statement planter or two to your front porch, and investing in a nice doormat or wreath.

The lighting.

Cozy home decor: burning candles

Don't underestimate the role that lighting can play in how guests perceive your home, says El Sanyoura. A bright and airy vibe is more inviting than a dark and dreary one.

If your space gets minimal natural sunlight, El Sanyoura suggests using light bulbs with warm tones, which can set a more cheerful and welcoming aesthetic.

Artem Kropovinsky, the founder of the interior design studio Arsight, also recommends avoiding overly bright overhead lights and using candles and fairy lights to add warmth to the atmosphere.

For more home advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

The decor.

Woman decorating her apartment

Sometimes, it's really the little things that stand out to guests, according to Kropovinsky. Framed photos, lush houseplants, appealing coffee table books, and cozy throws can go a long way in pulling your space together.

And be mindful of color, too. According to El Sanyoura, a more neutral and minimalist color scheme—think grays, whites, and beiges—can be calming and gives the feeling of an airy, open space, while a more playful take on dark or bright colors reflects a bolder, more maximalist aesthetic.

"Whatever your preference, be sure to let your personality shine," says El Sanyoura. "Your space is a reflection of your personal style, and those colors will leave an impression on your guests."

READ THIS NEXT: The First Things Guests Notice When They Come Into Your Home, Experts Say.

The amenities.

Toiletry items in guest bathroom
New Africa/shutterstock

"There are a few things guests will expect when staying over, and some of the most important include the amenities you provide them and how easily accessible they are," says El Sanyoura.

She recommends stocking the guest bathroom with clean towels, plenty of hand soap, extra rolls of toilet paper, and a range of toiletries (like toothpaste and shampoo) in case they didn't bring their own.

And if you really want to make your guests feel at home, Kropovinsky suggests leaving some water bottles, snacks, and magazines in their room.

The seating.

Cozy couch with a throw blanket

Your guests' natural inclination shortly after arrival will be to find somewhere to sit, whether that's a couch or love seat in the living room or counter stool in the kitchen. Make sure there's a variety of comfortable options for them to rest and relax, which they'll likely need after a long drive, train ride, or flight.

"Ensure the seating options are visible, without clutter," El Sanyoura says. "I recommend using woven baskets to store throw blankets and pillows so guests can choose their own level of comfort when visiting."

Rebecca Strong
Rebecca Strong is a Boston-based freelance health/wellness, lifestyle, and travel writer. Read more
Filed Under
 •  •