It’s house guest season!  Guest rooms are a conundrum.  You want your guests to be comfortable and love visiting you.  On the other hand, for those guests who tend to overstay, this may add to the problem!

I love having house guests and I want them to be as comfortable as possible.  Over the years I have paid attention to what I enjoy most in hotel rooms and friends’ guest rooms.  Here is my list of must-haves in a guest room if possible. Most of these things require a one-time set up or purchase and then you’re done.  There are a few last minute checks and replacements that might be necessary, but not many.

In the guest room:

A very comfortable bed.  This is really a must because not sleeping well will yield cranky house guests.  I opt for a king size bed if the room can fit it because it gives you more options.  My second choice is twin beds.

The best bed linens you can afford are really appreciated by guests.  Provide comfy pillows (at least three), a featherbed or mattress topper, a duvet or down comforter, crisp Egyptian, pima or percale ironed sheets and extra blankets.

It’s nice to give guests a place to unpack their luggage.  Even if your guest room is small, put out a luggage rack they can use to unpack and if it’s in their way they can put it back in the closet.  Some guests like to live out of their suitcases, especially if it’s a short stay.  If you really don’t have room for a luggage rack, then make sure you have a bureau top or table they can use.

Everyone likes a bit of down time so if there is a comfortable chair in the guest room, that is a great thing.  A chair is also handy for sitting to put on shoes or to drape their clothes on.

If you use the guest room for off season clothes or your scrapbook project, don’t forget to clear all that stuff out.  Guests should have an empty bureau, or at least the top three drawers, and a relatively empty closet to hang their clothes in. I always have a clean bathrobe in the closet.

Additional details – Make sure all the light bulbs work, and provide enough lighting, especially a bedside light. I like to provide a water bottle, carafe and glass, as well as an alarm clock and flashlight with fresh batteries. I provide a pad and pen, fresh flowers, books, a full-length mirror and a candle. Hooks on the back of the bathroom door are great to hang nighties. Leave the password to your wireless network if you have one. With all the electronics we cart around, I realized I didn’t have enough outlets in my guest room.  I bought several of those 3-outlet plugs that increased my outlets from 2 to 6! Because I’m a candy addict, I try to leave some snacks in the room.  I always feel that if you eat candy in someone else’s house it doesn’t count in your caloric intake!

Make sure the guests can darken the room by having either shades or curtains,  and a window that opens with a screen for fresh air.

In the guest room bathroom:

The best towels you can afford are greatly appreciated. Provide extras in case your guests are multi-towel bathers. I have a friend who places white washcloths on the sink to be used to remove make-up.  Since they are plain white they can be bleached to get out the make up stains.  Have you ever tried to remove make up from your favorite patterned or monogrammed towels?

In the bathroom make sure there is a hair dryer, as well as cotton balls, q-tips, a shower cap, fresh soap, new toothbrush and toothpaste in case guests forget theirs, shampoo and conditioner, sun and body lotion, Kleenex, a current magazines and a water glass.

Make sure you have extra toilet paper and Kleenex under the sink or in a closet.

Guests often like to get off on their own, and it’s a nice break for the host, so give them a spare set of keys, information about the area, a map, and a list of your favorite spots.

Finally, I love having a guest book that I insist guests write in.  It’s fun to look back through the years of house guests.  Some guests paste in a picture or draw something, others write poems or recount a funny incident that happened during their stay.  Even the entries that are just names and a date count.

Be sure to visit our article “Do You Sing in the Shower?” for resources to great shower curtains.

*This article has been updated in 2017 for accuracy