10 Easy and Frugal Tips to Get Your House Ready for Summer Guests

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welcome houseguests

Are you having house guests this summer? Don’t stress! Here are 10 Easy Ways to Make Your House Guests Feel Welcome.  Having house guests or throwing a party are the best ways that I know to whip a house into shape in a jiffy.

Picture yourself as a guest in your own home. What might be missing if you were spending the night? What simple items could you add to make guests more comfortable? Often guests don’t want to keep asking for things so they might go without instead of “bothering you.”

I just got back from vacation where I was a house guest, so I wanted to write down my thoughts while they were still fresh in my mind.

1. Gather “things to do” for your house guests from local attractions, places of interest, shopping, and hobbies they have. If they exercise, offer a guest pass from your gym.  If you have coupons for local entertainment, save them for your guests.Do not feel like you have to accompany your guests on every excursion. Prior planning prevents misunderstandings. Let your house guests know when you are available to play tourist with them and those times when they will be on their own.

2. A meal plan mapped out ahead of time can save money and frustration. Aim for “dollar-stretcher” meals, cook-once-and-use-twice meals, and use your slow cooker during the day so dinner is ready at night. Make some easy desserts ahead of time too. When I hosted my entire family, I typed out my meal plan and shared it with everyone. It prevented lots of ” what are we doing for {insert breakfast, lunch, dinner} questions.

3. Take time to de-clutter and make room for your guests to hang up their items and unpack. Living out of a suitcase is not ideal. Go to the dollar store and get some laundry baskets. If time is short, just de-clutter your items into the laundry baskets and stash them away until the guests are gone.

My daughter just returned home from college with massive quantities of stuff. I found great items at my local Goodwill store to help her organize her bedroom. You don’t have to spend a lot of money.

4. Put a small basket in the bathroom for them to keep their toiletries in. If you have samples of shampoo, soaps and other toiletries that you have collected, offer those for your guests to use and place them in the basket. If you have an empty mason jar, or  coffee cup, place that in the bathroom for a toothbrush holder for your guests. Make sure your bathroom is stocked adequately with extra toilet paper etc.

5. If you can purchase a few items to freshen up you home, I recommend new towels for your guests in a different color from the ones you currently have. These can become your permanent “guest towels” if you don’t put them back in rotation after the guest have gone.

relaxing girl

6. You can also purchase new bedding if needed, bed pillows, reading lights, ear plugs, and a night light. Store your new items away so you can have them when you have house guests again.

mindy fall decorating

7. Have your glasses, silverware, dishes and coffee cups seen their better days? This is a great time to get new kitchen items. I recommend buying white dishes and simple clear glasses. You can buy place mats and napkins for each holiday. My clever friend Mindy from Mindy Laven Interiors posts great DIY decorating ideas to freshen up your home on a budget. Be inspired!

throw pillows

8. Freshen up your living room with new pillows. Place some coordinating blankets over the chairs. My east coast hosts were laughing as their west coast guests (my family) were always too cold with the air conditioning running. We Californians were huddled up under the blankets. Allow for temperature preferences for your guests!

mindy front door wreath

9. If you have a little more time, painting is an easy way to give your house a freshening up. You can also plant some new flowers near your entrance, replace an old welcome mat, add a wreath to the front door, buy new candles, and add fresh flowers to each room (ask about for allergies).

10.  If you are not sure whether or not you need an item, buy it and keep the receipt. If it it turns out that you didn’t need it, just return it. Know the return policy from the store and return on time!

What has worked for you in your home and as a house guest, what would have made your stay more pleasant? I welcome your ideas!


Beverly Diehl

Nice tips here. I might add, put a “guest power strip” on a table in the guest room or the living room, set aside for their use for charging phones, tablets, ‘puters, etc. If you have WiFi, try to set a new temporary passcode that is not too insanely gobbledy-gooky and offer it to them. Make sure *if* you are sharing the use of your own computer, you are clear as to when YOUR family will need it, and when it will be available to your guests, and that there’s a temporary passcode (and strong anti-virus protection).

It’s okay if you DON’T want your guests using your computer, or driving your car, etc., just make it clear ahead of time that those things won’t be available, so they can make other arrangements, instead of feeling like you HAVE to share these things even if you’re uncomfortable doing so.

Caryn/The Mid Life Guru

This is so funny: I was recently a house guest and took a similar inventory comparing my lovely stay to what a stay at my house would like. I tend to “put up” with shortcomings in my house. Guests don’t need to. Your ideas are spot on. I added check plumbing in guest areas (leaky faucets, running toilet) and a cute thing my host did: had a dish of mixed nuts and chocolates on my night stand.


If I could add, putting water bottles and snacks in the guest room for them so they aren’t wondering around in the middle of the night to get a snack or a glass of water.

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