Living Space: With the holidays creeping near, get ready for guests
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As the seasons change, the holidays loom - and that means guests. When you welcome visitors with flair, both host and guest feel wonderful and enjoy their time together even more. But being a great host doesn't require a lot of money and effort - just a few thoughtful touches.
When you travel, it's easy to forget simple things like a toothbrush. This is where a dollar store is a terrific resource. Buy some inexpensive travel-size toothpastes, extra toothbrushes and dental floss for guests. While you're there, grab a handful of wash puffs, inexpensive razors and an extra comb or brush. Guests will appreciate your thoughtfulness while you save money. Have an extra blow dryer at the back of the linen closet? Add it to the guest bathroom for visitors who forget to bring one.
Give them permission
Because guests don't like poking around a host's bathroom cabinets, place a small framed note on the bathroom counter saying, "Be Our Guest" instructing visitors to help themselves to any products they need. This instantly makes guests feel at home. If your visitor shares a bathroom with you, leave a basket of small travel toiletries (bath gel, toothpaste, shampoo/conditioner, lotion, swabs, a razor, etc.) in the guest bedroom.
In your guest room, offer both heavy and light options for bedding. Include a comforter and a light-weight blanket. When making the bed, take a cue from cozy bed-and-breakfasts; place a lightweight blanket under the comforter or duvet.
When making the bed, put the flat sheet's finished side facing the mattress. Next, pull the sheet and blanket all the way up and then fold back to one third. Now the finished side of the sheet is facing up.
Place the comforter, folded neatly in half, at the foot of the bed. Arrange sham pillows against the headboard. Be sure to include two pillows per person on the bed. European square shams are also nice for guests who like to read in bed.
Your guests will prefer to put luggage where it's easy to reach.
This is especially true for older visitors. Luggage racks are inexpensive (under $30) and will also come in handy when you're packing for a trip of your own. Add a small bowl for jewelry or change on the nightstand, plus a notepad and pen, a nice tube of hand cream, and a few magazines.
Have an extra bathrobe? Hang it in the closet for your guests.
If there's room, a tray with tea and coffee cups and a hot water kettle is a nice touch.
Don't forget an alarm clock with an MP3 plug or docking station.
Lastly, add a nightlight with an on/off switch in the bedroom and guest bath so visitors don't have to stumble around trying to find the bathroom in the middle of the night.
Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, redlotusletter.com.