We all want people to feel at home in our home, we spend time tidying for visitors and trying to present ourselves to the best of our ability. But what if that wasn’t the secret to making your home welcoming to guests? What if subtle shifts in our thinking could make our homes feel much more appealing to others?
Think about what THEY would like
It is so easy to think about what we think would be welcoming. We naturally think about trying to show ourselves and our homes in the best light. The art of welcoming guests isn’t about putting on a show about us, it’s about thinking about our guests. It’s easy to lose track of that when we are busy, but it doesn’t take long to check up on any dietary requirements and to organise your guest’s favourite food or drink.
What will make them feel at home?
Just a couple of minutes spent thinking about what they truly like to do and how they might be feeling when they visit can give you lots of great clues as to how to prepare. I know my burnt out teaching friends might look forward to an easy night on the sofa, with wine and a cheese and cracker platter and a chance for child free conversation. One friend hates sitting still, she likes nothing better than cooking together, as we chop we put the world to rights. Friends with little ones in tow will be happy to know we have full fat milk, their kid’s favourite snacks and space for the travel cot. Friends with older kids just want the kids to all get along so they can giggle in the kitchen with the wine and grown ups – in that situation it’s all about investing in the kids having fun at first.
Studies have shown people report that people who ask them questions about themselves are more interesting, even if they learn nothing at all about them! Essentially we all just want to be given lots of attention. So take an interest in your guests, they will immediately feel they matter and that you’re an interesting person too.
Prep the guest room
It doesn’t take long to prepare a guest room in advance and it is such a lovely sign that your visitor is anticipated. Family who stay frequently might not expect this treatment and might be happy to muck in with bed making, but for occasional guests or old friends it is a lovely touch. Little things like a lamp for reading, books or magazines they might appreciate and flowers from the garden go a long way too.
Don’t apologise for your home
Never apologise for your home, visitors have come to see you, not where you got your sofa from or how well organised your kitchen is. We’ve all been there at least once when someone has apologised for the mess, while we look round wishing our home was half as tidy. On the flip side, it’s equally awkward when you feel quite at home in someone’s real and messy home and all you want to do is have a cup of tea and a good chat, but they repeatedly apologise for their home.
A proper greeting
It’s easy to fall into rushing around with hosting duties, but turn the hob down, pause the table laying, drop everything, relax and take time to say a big hello. Think how you would feel as a visitor, wondering where to put your coat, shoes, bags or in need of a drink after a long journey. Try and anticipate your visitor’s needs instead of wondering what they think of you and your home – a cup of tea or a glass of wine is a great place to start.
How do you make guests feel at home?
Photo credit – Shutterstock: Wood Welcome Sign