Holiday checklist: See how to make your home warm & welcoming in one afternoon.

It’s that time of year; I know we all have lots of wrapping, cooking, and holiday-card writing to do but guests will soon be descending upon your home, too. To make their stay as pleasant as possible and keep your sanity, a little preparation will help.

  1. Keep things toasty. To keep your guests comfortable on cold nights, make sure they have ample blankets and an extra quilt on the bed. Extra pillows are always a nice touch too. For added warmth consider your window treatments. They can keep the cold out and the heat in. Adding a simple roller shade can also give your guests get the privacy they might need.
  2. Provide ample reading light. You don’t necessarily need to install new sconces, but if the guest room is currently stuck with leftover dim lamps or just one depressing overhead light, borrow a task lamp or two from your office and set them up on the nightstands. If you’re lacking nightstands, floor lamps next to the bed will do the trick.
  3. Set out a bouquet of fresh flowers. Even a single stem or potted plant on the nightstand, dresser, or bathroom vanity will do. In the winter, clip a branch from an evergreen for holiday cheer. Extra touches like this will make your guests feel special.
  4. Give them the time of day. Hosts often overlook the need for an alarm clock for guests because they haven’t slept in the room themselves. Another item in this room that’s a nice touch is water. Bottles of water or a pitcher and glasses makes guest feel at home.  If you want to be super-hostess, leave them the latest copy of People mag so that they can keep up with the latest gossip.
  5. Provide a comfy spot for reading and lounging. If your guests have a nice spot to retreat to in their rooms, they’ll be more tempted to hang out there a bit and stay out of your hair when you need a little me time.
  6. Give them somewhere to store their things. Living out of a suitcase on the floor is a drag. Empty a drawer or two for their unmentionables. A portable luggage rack is a wonderful touch and makes unpacking so much easier.  It is easy to fold up and store in the back of a closet or under the bed. Bonus for you: It keeps guests from placing their luggage on your lovely guest-room duvet.
  7. Make sure they have a few hangers for their clothes. No room in the overstuffed guest closet? Buy some over-the-door hooks and place 5-10 hangers on the hooks. Pull out your best fabric-covered or wooden hangers for your guests. Hooks provide an instant closet when hung on the wall with a few hangers. Also, they create a good spot for hanging those extra guest towels.
  8. Create a cozy guest room in another space. Many of us do not have the luxury of an extra room just for guests. In that case, clear the clutter from the home office or other space that will be temporarily housing your loved ones. Pull out the convertible, daybed or futon and make it up for them before they arrive.
  9. Supply bathroom products. Toothpaste, an extra razor, a fresh bar of soap at the sink and in the shower, shampoo and conditioner are the basics. Make sure it’s not a bunch of yucky, half-used, 10-year-old bottles you swiped from a roadside motel.
  10. Don’t be stingy with the towels. Leave each guest two towels and a washcloth. A niche like this is a perfect spot to keep them handy. You may want to add a freestanding towel rack if you don’t have enough towel bars in the bathroom for all of your guests. You can also mount a towel bar on the back of the guest room door.

Tip for simplifying guest linens/supplies: Keep a shelf or two in the linen closet exclusively for guest sheets, towels and bath items. If you stick with plain white for everything you won’t be trying to find that missing pillowcase or washcloth at the last minute.

Regina DiLauro-Fay has over 15 years of design experience. Her company, DF Designs, specializes in Interior Design, Home Staging & Color Consultanting. She can be reached at (843)906-9663 or