14 Tips For Hosting Overnight Guests

Last year, some friends invited us for dinner and an overnight at their new home. They live a good 30 minutes away, so the idea of spending the night was welcome. While I have occasional overnight visits from friends and family and have always thought I did a pretty good job of providing my guests with “essentials”, our friends proved that I had a lot to learn. From the moment we entered their guest room, we felt like they had eagerly anticipated our stay and had provided not only thoughtful items like phone chargers but also fun things like a goodie bag. (!) Since then, I have become much more proficient in preparing my home for guests, and I hope this guide will help you too – especially with the holidays just around the corner. Trying to leave no comfort stone unturned, here are 14 essentials for hosting overnight guests.

1.      Welcome

No matter if they are friends or family, there’s always a moment of awkwardness at first. After all, your guests are staying in a relatively unfamiliar place unused to how your household works and runs. As host, you want to dispel any discomfort by making your welcome as warm and comforting as a good hug. Show your guests to their room, where to put their suitcases and unpacked clothes, and give them a quick tour of where to find everything they may need. A small container of fresh flowers is always a thoughtful and welcoming touch.

2.      Unpack

Consider having a luggage rack on hand. Not only will it be a nice convenience for your guests, but trust me, you’ll use it every time you pack for a trip. It’s a much better option than putting dirty suitcases (and if you ever check your luggage when flying, you know how filthy your bags get) on a nice clean bed. Plus, most luggage racks fold for easy storage behind the door or under the bed. Guests may want to “live” out of their suitcase but do provide a few hangers along with a spot for hanging. Because my spare bedroom closet is filled with my off-season clothing, I installed hooks on the back of the bedroom door. If you’re a renter, you may want to consider using Command Strip hooks, a single over-the-door hook, or a multi over-the-door hook to avoid any damage to the door (unless you plan to leave those nice hooks behind for the next renter 😊).

3.      Sleep

A freshly made bed is a must. While I don’t typically iron sheets, I do iron the pillowcases for my guests. Maybe I’m nuts, but I find an ironed pillowcase softer against the face than a wrinkled one. Find the best sheets according to The New York Times Wirecutter, which rates all kinds of stuff. Their recommended on-a-budget sheets are from Target at just $55 for a queen set. And don’t underestimate the importance of a decent pillow. While some folks seem to manage sleeping on even the flattest, hardest pillows, treat your guests to a truly comfortable pillow. A decent pillow doesn’t need to be expensive, and it’s probably best to avoid feather or down anyway because of possible allergies. Target has these and Amazon has this two-pack of down-alternative pillows.

If you don’t have a guest room, a quality air mattress, a support board for your sleeper sofa, and compressible pillows can still provide your guests with a great rest. Don’t forget a cozy blanket!

For more tips on giving your guests blissful rest, check out our post on Getting A Great Night’s Sleep.

4.      Bathe

If your guests are just spending the night, they may not need the same supplies as visitors who will be staying for a few days. Still, it’s a good idea to be fully prepared…just in case. Have a full set (bath towel, hand towel, washcloth) for each person.  For anyone with a headful of hair that might wash it, two bath towels. If your friend forgets their toiletry bag, have new toothbrushes, toothpaste, make-up wipes, soap, body lotion, shampoo, and conditioner at the ready. And let your guests know where wet towels should be hung. Make sure there is actually a spot for wet towels! I stayed at a relative’s home, and it was obvious that the decorative towels in the bathroom were just there to be pretty. There was nowhere else for my wet towel except the doorknob. Ugh.

5.      WiFi

A small sign with your WiFi name and password will be appreciated by your guests so they don’t need to hunt you down to get it. There are many fun options to display this information, like a tabletop sign, a sign with a QR code, or make your own sign and display it on a cute cast iron mouse card holder.

6.      Hydrate

Always have bottled water or a stylish bedside table water carafe/glass set on the nightstand or within arm’s reach if using an air mattress or sofa bed. I don’t know about you, but I always get thirsty during the night (just like a little kid).

7.      Recharge

Your guests will so appreciate finding a charger for their device available for use. It’s one of those things that’s so easy to forget to pack. Purchase chargers with extra-long cords and place one on each nightstand, try a universal charger, or get a cordless charger that can charge multiple devices at once.

8.      Light

According to the Sleep Foundation, a dark room is recommended for the best rest. But sometimes our guest spaces don’t have room-darkening shades, the curtains or blinds don’t fully prevent light from seeping in, or there may be a bright street light outside that spills into the room. Consider having inexpensive sleep masks on hand, or splurge on luxury washable masks.

Although trying to keep the room dark, do provide a nightlight that will gently illuminate the path to the bathroom. A motion sensor nightlight is a perfect addition to the hall.  And do keep a nightlight in the bathroom itself so your guests won’t need to turn on the bright harsh bathroom lighting in the middle of the night to use the facilities. Consider one like this pretty, dimmable light.

9.      Noise

Hoffman Audiology advises that a disturbed night’s sleep can lead to sleepiness and irritability in the short term (and who wants grumpy guests?). There are several different ways you can ensure your guests will rest without noise interruption by offering:

  • A fan. We have friends who bring their own fan (mostly to cover up snoring) wherever they go. That’s a really big bring-along, so I like to provide either a tabletop fan or a large floor fan that easily stores under the bed. Not only can a fan help cover up any background noises, but it can also aid your guest in regulating the temperature in the room.
  • Earplugs. My fella sleeps with earplugs daily and swears they are key in helping him fall asleep easily. They are easy to buy in bulk making them an inexpensive option for your guests’ quiet enjoyment of the night.
  • White noise machine. A white noise machine does not need to cost a fortune! Target carries a Sharper Image product for just $14.99. The New York Times Wirecutter recommends this one as an upgrade.

10. Temperature

Extremes in temperature can ruin bedtime. But even small shifts can mean the difference between a smooth transition into dreamland or a fitful night’s sleep. The common recommendation for a good ambient temperature for sleeping is in the range of 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. A fan will help your overnighter cool things down, but what if they’re too chilly?

  • These calming sleep socks would be a luxurious gift for perpetually cold friends. Or buy a three-pack of nubby socks your guests can also use as slippers.
  • Add a throw to the bed. Here is a list of the best including options for all seasons and price ranges.

11. Goodie Bag

My favorite find in a guest room was a goodie bag prepared by our hosts with our tastes in mind. So thoughtful, and so fun! Pack a small gift bag with individual-sized packets of chips, sweets, and nuts. Think salty, sweet, crunchy chewy. Throw in a miniature bottle of your guest’s favorite adult beverages, or a can/bottle of their preferred soda or juice. Your guests will think you are the host with the most!

12. House Rules

After your guests unpack, let them know your house rules:

  • Are all items in the fridge, pantry, and bar up for grabs?
  • What time will breakfast be served (if at all)?
  • Are they allowed to feed the dog snacks?
  • If they arise first, can they make coffee?
  • Should they strip the bed on the last morning of their stay?

13. Breakfast

If you plan on offering breakfast, it makes it much easier for you and your guests if you’ve prepared in advance. For a continental breakfast, try this delicious homemade banana bread, donuts, or muffins with fresh fruit and coffee. Maybe some yogurt and granola. For something more substantial, but still very easy to serve in the morning (just heat and eat!), try our Christmas Strata which is quite satisfying any time of year and can be made the day before and will most assuredly wow your guests.

14. Sanctuary

As host, your goal is to create a sanctuary for your guests – not just a place to sleep, but also a place where they can sneak away if needed for a nap, a quiet conversation, to take a call, or to take a break from socializing.  Follow our guide and you will master successfully hosting overnight guests, the essentials, and more. Happy hosting, and happy holidays!



Getting A Great Night’s Sleep

How, oh how, to get a good night’s sleep?

We’ve all been there. Tossing, turning, unable to settle your mind. It could be because you’re too hot, too cold, it’s not quiet enough, its too quiet, it’s too bright, and you just can’t stop thinking about…that important meeting tomorrow, that stupid comment you made, things you wish you’d said, will you oversleep, how can you possibly get everything done?!? There’s a laundry list of things that are sleep disruptors. It’s really a wonder that anyone ever gets a good night’s rest. Let’s take a deep dive to learn ways to achieve a nice long night of restful and peaceful zzzz’s.

Experts say the ideal sleep environment is cool, quiet, and dark; a place you do not fear. A place only for sleep and romance. Not a place where you text, watch TV, catch up on social media, watch TikTok (who can stop?!?), or talk. Even shift workers can maintain such an environment with enough effort. Important sleep topics are below along with some ideas on how to create the perfect sleep environment.


Temperature is huge for me. Just like Goldilocks – not too hot, not too cold, but juuuust right. That can be tricky though, as I, for one, can be very cold when jumping between the sheets, but will wake in the middle of the night because I’m too warm. Ugh.

Sleep experts advise that your bedroom temperature should be comfortable, usually somewhere between 60 to 71 degrees. This might sound a bit chilly for some, but a cooler thermostat setting helps you maintain a lower core temperature while you sleep. Any healthy adult will experience a drop in body temperature while they sleep. This naturally occurs during the initial stages of your sleep cycle because a lower core temperature makes you feel sleepy, whereas a higher temperature helps you stay alert during the day.

  • Crack open a window. Cool and fresh air are so much better than stuffy, closed in air.
  • Stick a foot out from beneath the covers. Cools me almost immediately, although sometimes I need to stick out both feet.
  • If your room has a ceiling fan, use it! An oscillating fan also works great, and you can set it so it doesn’t blow directly on you. I have friends that bring their own fan whenever they travel!


It might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about good sleep, but air quality is important for your health. Research has found that ventilation and fresher air is associated with better sleep, and problems like mold buildup have been correlated with insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness.

  • Ensuring proper ventilation and avoiding excess humidity can combat mold growth
  • Regular cleaning can dramatically cut down on dust mites
  • Use an air purifier
  • Try a cool mist humidifier. Dry air will stop up your nose forcing you to breathe through your mouth, drying your lips, and maybe even snore.


External noise can wake you, and these disruptions reduce levels of both sleep quality and overall health. If outside noise is beyond your control, here are some aids to consider:

  • Use a fan. Not only will one help to cool your room, but it will also produce “white noise” to help mask the ambient sounds that may wake you up at night.
  • Purchase a white noise machine to help drown sounds out.
  • Play comforting music like meditation or spa music.
  • Try wearing earplugs. These can help reduce unwanted noises from neighbors, traffic, or a snoring partner or pet.


According to The Sleep Foundation, “Light is the most powerful cue for your circadian rhythm, part of your biological clock that helps regulate sleep. When it’s time for bed, you want to try to make your bedroom as dark as possible to reinforce a healthy circadian rhythm.”

  • Hang blackout curtains if your bedroom receives lots of exterior light
  • Use a low color and low wattage light bulb in your bedside lamp
  • Try wearing a sleep mask
  • Unplug your nightlight


Did you know that having the right scents in your bedroom can be a plus for your sleep? While odors don’t usually cause people to wake up from sleep, they can help cultivate a calming environment for getting quality rest. Studies have found that aromatherapy with essential oils such as lavender can promote relaxation and make it easier to get a good night’s sleep. Click this link to learn how to use essential oils to help promote better sleeping.


Your bed is, of course, your sleep haven. You spend a third of your life sleeping, and while upfront costs of a new bed and/or new bedding might be scary, it may be worth your while to get the best that you can afford.

  • A good mattress can be a significant investment, but research has found that it can improve sleep and decrease stress and back pain.
  • Comfortable pillows, cooling sheets if you sleep hot, and blankets or comforters if you sleep cold all play an important role in promoting sleep.
  • Regularly washing – at least once every two weeks – of your bedding keeps your bed feeling fresh and reduces potential buildup of dust and allergens. If you sweat excessively in your sleep or share your bed with a pet, you may want to consider weekly cleanings.
  • Make your bed. In a Bedroom Poll conducted by the Sleep Foundation, the majority of respondents agreed they were more likely to sleep better at night when slipping into a made bed. Dang. Mom was right!


A study in Britain showed that the color of your bedroom can impact the amount of sleep you get. In a survey of over 2,000 British homes it was found that the colors blue, yellow, and green helped sleepers get the most hours of sleep. These colors are often associated with calmness and relaxation and can help put your mind at ease as you are trying to rest.

At the other end of the spectrum, colors such as purple, brown, and grey can potentially ruin the amount of sleep you get. Theories suggest that purple is an artistic color that stimulates the creative mind, and browns and greys are often associated with dreariness and depression.

So think of soothing colors as you select bedding and artwork for your bedroom.


While it’s a good idea to go to bed at the same time each night, there will be some nights when your brain is buzzing and not ready for sleep. If so, don’t lie down just yet. Your racing thoughts could lead to insomnia. Instead, do something to relax until you feel tired.

  • Take a warm bath or shower. Dim the bathroom lights, or maybe light a candle, and relax into the warmth.
  • Make a To Do List. It’s hard to drift off when you’re trying to remember every last thing you need to do when you wake up. Let go of this mental load by writing it down on paper.
  • Relax your body. As you lie in bed, tense then relax each of your muscles one by one, starting at your toes and ending at your head. Not only is this incredibly relaxing, but it also forces you to think about the physical parts of your body, directing your attention away from whatever thoughts or stressors you’re fixating on.
  • Relax your mind. Place a hand on your heart and feel its rhythm. Breathe in deep for four seconds, then take a long, slow breath out. Repeat this pattern until you can feel your heartbeat slow down. Your thoughts should soon ease up as well.
  • Try meditation. If you’re new to meditation practice, it helps to find a point of focus. It could be the sound of your breath or a simple phrase that you repeat in your head, like “I am at peace.” At first, you may struggle to tune out your thoughts. It’s OK to stop after a minute or two — but try again the next night. Over time, you’ll be able to meditate longer.
  • Drink a cup of tea. A soothing cup of herbal tea is a great way to wind down. One of my favorites is the aptly named Sleepytime Tea.
  • Take Melatonin.  A hormone in your body that plays a role in sleep, Melatonin is also available as a supplement, typically as an oral tablet or capsule.


Create a nighttime routine to power down your body and your mind and routines that will have you ready to power down.

  • Avoid light from your phone, tablet, computer, and television close to bedtime
  • Take a 30- to 60-minute “wind-down” period as a spacer between your day and your sleep time
  • Exercise regularly but not after the late afternoon
  • Go to bed and wake up within 20 minutes of the same time every day


  • Turn off your bedroom TV as it will negatively affect your sleep quality. Screen time exposes your eyes to blue light that can disrupt your circadian rhythm, and it also activates your mind, making it harder to wind down for sleep.
  • Minimize or eliminate the use of electronic devices, including tablets and cell phones, in your bedroom. If you need to keep a device in your bedroom, try to keep it out of arm’s reach and avoid using it for an hour or more before bedtime.
  • Turn off your cell phone at night so that any emails or texts you receive will not disturb your sleep.
  • If you have pets that sleep in your bed or in your room at night, think about putting them out, especially if they seek attention.
  • Don’t drink caffeine at night.
  • Avoid alcohol and sedatives.


Is your bedroom also your gym, office, or playroom? To associate your bedroom with sleep, clear out potential distractions. Relocate, if possible, the treadmill, your computer and work desk, and most importantly (and probably the hardest) find the television a new location.

Having your bedroom as the place to go for other activities only leads to your brain associating the room with other things. If your bedroom is where your office is, it can help make your mind busy and even anxious about work, because you correlate the room with busy work.

Of course, you don’t need to put all of these ideas into practice to sleep well. It may some experimentation to see what works best for you. Do you have any tried and true methods we missed? Let us know in the comments.

And here’s wishing you a nice, long, refreshing sleep. Zzzzzzzz.


Resources: Everyday Health, Sleep Foundation, Sleep Association, Alaska Sleep Clinic, WebMD, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, c|net