My parents are coming to visit. From Australia. For five and a half weeks! Luckily we all get along very well and they are amazingly helpful with the kids.
Today we cleared up the Sunroom for them which is a really lovely place to stay in the warmer months (it's unheated, so not good in winter!). Eventually, I would love to paint the room white (it has wood panelling and - ugh - laminate flooring), but for now it's a bit log cabin-ish.
Here are some things I think about when I am preparing for house guests:
I have a spare set of keys ready for when people stay so they can come and go as they please.
I am fairly particular about my sheets and my favourite ones are some chocolate brown high-thread count Egyptian cotton sateen ones that I bought in the States (Wamsutta). Unfortunately they are double sized so don't fit on our regular bed, but it's very lucky for our guests!
I also always include different height pillows and some extra blankets in different weights (no duvet at the moment!). My fave blanket to have on hand is a Mohair rug. It's so lightweight and gives a lot of warmth because of the loft.
When I'm planning the room for guests, I try to consider their needs. My parents don't have any problems with stairs, so the sunroom is fine for them, but my Mother-in-Law has bad Arthritis, so she prefers to be on the same floor as the bathroom. We don't have a mansion, so when she visits we sleep in the sunroom and put her in our bed.
Once, when I went to stay with my friend Peter in Melbourne, he prepared my room and left a lovely bunch of violets in there. It was such a lovely touch and I've never forgotten it. I definitely plan on putting some flowers in my parents' room before they arrive.
It's really nice if you can clear out a spare chest of drawers for your guest's clothes. We have a small one in the room, but because my folks are staying so long, we also included a small bookshelf (for putting foldable clothes) and a hanging clothes rack that I fortuitiously found on the kerb today.
I don't take water to bed, but many people do, so I'd really like to get some sort of carafe like the one at the top of this post. Otherwise, I'll put a couple of water bottles in their room. If I was having less familiar guests, then I might include some snacks or even some cough drops in case they feel awkward about raiding my fridge. I also always make sure there are tissues.
I think I'll also leave some magazines in the guest room. If I am having guests that I don't know as well I will usually include some local info such as a map or guest guide.
Is there anything special that you do when you're preparing for house guests?