Preparing for House Guests

This is the time of year for house guests, whether that’s family travelling in from far-flung places or friends visiting for the shortest time from out of town. It puts a lot of pressure on our pads, as we want them to look and feel fabulous so our guests leave feeling like they’ve just stayed in one of the coolest boutique hotels.

house guests

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I don’t know about you guys but I want any house guest of mine to feel like they are staying at the Ritz even if they are crashing in the small spare room. Below is my blueprint for making your home feel and look amazing for this festive time of year!

Don’t neglect the outside

Spruce any tired paintwork up with a quick lick of paint, fill empty containers with something scented like bay or thyme or rosemary and think about lighting the garden. Nothing welcomes guests more than a beautifully lit garden and you can do it for next to nothing. I have to say it’s one of the most transformative things we’ve done. Most DIY stores sell lights for under planting, in fact we brought 5 for £50, bargain! With the light dropping so early at this time of year, it casts a magical glow and looks amazing!

Scent the home

guest bedroom ideas

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I am obsessed with having a home that smells divine and my very latest discovery; scented amber rocks and scented lava rocks (scented I should say from pure essential oils picked in Grasse). Unlike a candle, there is no lighting required – you just have to open the lid and you’re transformed to another world. We’ve just started stocking them by the small artisan brand Mad Et Len. All of my family are receiving them for Christmas! Aside from that, I overdose on bunches of herbs and place them everywhere so that when guests arrive, the place smells intoxicating.

Pamper the bedroom

I always place a scented candle on the bedside, some freshly picked blooms and a few books like an autobiography, a glossy coffee table tome and a novel. Nice!
Go one step further and add a few sheepskins and fluffy cushions on top of the bed and the bedroom pampering is nailed!

Get guests to relax


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I like offering a cocktail as soon as guests arrive like a Bellini (white peach puree with Processo), yum. At this time of year, it’s always a good idea to have a fire burning gently in the grate, some lounge chill out music on low and tonnes of candles to set the scene.

Keep the menu simple

There’s nothing worse than slaving away in the kitchen when you’re the host. I’m a big fan of stews that can be made in advance, crunchy green salads, a dish of organic oatcakes and a jar of chutney. My other go to favourite dish is pumpkin bruschetta, again with a crunchy green salad.

On the drinks trolley, I’ll set up a good claret so everyone can help themselves and I rarely bother with dessert. Instead, I’ll have little bowls of sweet clementines on tables, some crystalized ginger for nibbling and some chocolates with freshly ground coffee to round things off!

Create little corners

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Why not add more little nooks when you have a number of guests staying? Stools which do double duty as chairs are great as guests can perch here, there and everywhere.

Don’t neglect the powder room

Place fresh flowers in the loo with a scented candle and put soft thick white hand towels in a bowl to add another layer of luxury.

I don’t know about you guys but I can’t wait for your house guests to arrive now…

Happy Holidays!

Not got the time to get your house up to scratch before the guests descend? Post your job on Rated People to hire a trusted local cleaner to make your house sparkle.

Abigail Ahern

Interior designer and author Abigail Ahern has been hailed as ‘style spotter extraordinaire’, by The Times. Her style is as unique as it is affordable and is characterised by glamour, wit and show-stopping colours.

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