11 Ways to Prep Your Home for Houseguests

Country Living
At Home

Interior designer Bunny Williams shares 11 ways to make your summer houseguests feel right at home.

1. Set Out Throw Pillows

Throw pillows should serve more than just a decorative purpose. A layer of cushions instantly corrects the problem of a too-deep sofa. But avoid over-accessorizing a shallow one-remember, people need space to sit.

Plus: 10 easy party planning tips »

2. Offer Light Reading

Stock guest rooms with good reads and encourage visitors to take books home with them.

3. Keep Lighting Dim

Everyone looks (and feels) better in low lighting. So consider installing dimmers on your overhead fixtures, especially in the dining room.

Plus: 10 amazing dining room makeovers »

4. Offer Storage Space

Give visitors an obvious spot to stow coats and bags. A row of pegs or hooks in a foyer does the trick.

5. Place Furniture Strategically

Furniture arrangement is integral to conversation. Chairs and sofas don't need to match, but they should all be about the same height so people can talk eye-to-eye.

Plus: 75 living rooms you'll love »

6. Conveniently Accessorize

Anticipate the need to set down drinks by positioning small side tables next to living room seating.

7. Create Comfort

Extra blankets ensure a good night's sleep. Place a warm throw or two at the end of each bed to prevent guests from having to search-or worse, ask you!-for more covers in the middle of the night.

Plus: Sleep in! 6 quick tips to make the most comfortable bed »

8. Add a Colorful Touch

Keep little vases on hand for fresh flowers. Diminutive vessels, like mint julep cups, don't demand much more than a few blossoms, and they add a cheery touch to bedside tables.

9. Create a Comfortable Space

Provide a handy surface for toiletries. A cabinet, table, or stool in the bathroom guarantees visitors won't have to balance their Dopp kits on the edge of the sink.

Plus: 30 beautiful bathroom ideas »

10. Provide Teacups for Necessities

Pretty containers bring elegance to basic necessities. Fill teacups with Q-tips and cotton balls and display them on the washroom counter for anyone who's forgotten their own.

11. Offer a Seat

A gracious guest room includes a place for a suitcase, such as a bench where folks can also sit when removing shoes.

See more from CountryLiving.com:

Our Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Decorating »
40 Amazing Before-and-After Home Makeovers »
10 Ways to Design a Colorful Bedroom »
20 Easy Ways to Update Your Kitchen »

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.