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How to Prep Your Home for Holiday Guests

A family gathers at Christmas
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The holidays are here, and for many people that means family coming to visit. Preparing your home for holiday guests is always a stressful task, even if you’re lucky enough to have low-maintenance family members. Before you get too stressed out, here are some steps you can take to make your holiday guests as comfortable as possible.

Declutter and Clean

A woman cleaning her house
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Decluttering your home before guests arrive is a key step in making your home inviting to guests. Getting rid of junk and extra boxes lying around will make the space that you live in feel more spacious, which will be nice as more people fill it.

You’ll also want to conduct a deep clean of your home before guests arrive. Leanne Stapf, COO of The Cleaning Authority, recommends tackling your cleaning goals room by room to make things more manageable. Some important items to add to your checklist include lining the trash can with extra bags, clearing all the countertops, and cleaning the entire fridge.

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Keep your kitchen smelling clean and fresh.

Stapf advises paying extra attention to the guest rooms, bathrooms, and common areas of your home. Extra steps in these rooms, like cleaning mattresses and washing shower curtains, take time but will be greatly appreciated by your guests.

To make your living room more comfortable, get rid of as much clutter as possible to make the space feel more inviting. If you have a coffee table, try to clear it to create space for your guests to set plates and glasses while hanging out or eating.

“Make sure to stock up on coasters and lay them out on your coffee tables to avoid any stain marks,” Stapf said.

Kaizen Casa Wooden Coasters for Drinks

Keep your coffee table clean.

Conduct Inventory

A linen closet
Kristen Prahl/Shutterstock.com

How many times have you thought you had something at home, only to realize at the last minute that you were wrong? You don’t want this to happen after guests arrive late at night on Christmas Eve, so take some time to get an idea of what items you have and what you’ll need to buy before people arrive at your home.

Start with the bedding. Do you have enough beds for everyone, or do you need to purchase a cot or inflatable mattress?

EnerPlex Air Mattress with Built-in Pump

A comfortable sleeping arrangement for anyone.

Don’t forget about blankets, especially if you live in a cold climate and don’t have the best heating system. You should have at least one thick blanket for each bed, as well as a couple of extras on hand in case someone gets cold.

Bedsure Sherpa Fleece Throw Blanket

Keep everyone in the house warm and cozy.

Finally, make sure you have enough clean sheets and pillowcases for everyone staying over. Don’t forget about those sleeping on inflatable mattresses and couches. Stapf recommends folding extra bedding and keeping everything in a basket that your guests can easily find and use if needed.

Sweet Home Collection 5 Piece Comforter Set

An affordable bedding set to have on hand.

Once you have the sleeping situations figured out, check your bathroom. Are there enough towels for everyone to have their own, with a few spares available on laundry day?

American Soft Linen 6 Piece Towel Set

A high-quality towel set for your guests.

Offering each guest a washcloth and hand towel is also a good hospitality practice.

Last but not least, in the bathroom, you’ll want to have a few extra toiletries for guests who may have forgotten something at home. A small basket filled with toothbrushes, travel-sized toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and soap will mean a lot to your guests.

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Keep travel-sized toiletries around for easy access.

Check Your Heating and Cooling

A woman uses her heater
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A good heating and cooling system is essential for keeping your guests comfortable during the holidays. Traci Fournier, Vice President of Operations at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning, recommends scheduling a tune-up with your local HVAC maintenance professional before guests arrive to ensure that everything is working properly.

You should also make sure that you are caring for your heating and cooling systems throughout the year by keeping the filters clean.

“Taking proper care of your heating and cooling system will result in a much more efficient unit, allowing for a solid flow of air that will keep your guests comfortable and cozy all winter long,” Fournier said.

Stock Up on Household Items

A woman holds a roll of toilet paper
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While relatives or friends are over, you don’t want to spend all of your time running to the grocery store. It’s a good idea to stock up on essentials in advance and make sure you have enough to last you through the holidays.

Some items to consider buying include toilet paper, paper towels, and tissues. Make sure guests know how they can access these items if they need or want something. To make things as easy as possible, keep extra items close to where people will need them (toilet paper in the bathroom, paper towels in the kitchen, etc.).

Amazon Basics 2-Ply Toilet Paper

Stock up on this essential product.

By doing this, you’ll be able to spend more time with your family and save time by cutting down on trips to the store.

Prepare Snacks and Beverages

A family in the kitchen
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It can feel awkward asking for food at someone’s house, so make things easy for your guests by preparing food and drinks ahead of time. If you know your guests well, buy their favorite snacks and drinks to keep in the pantry and refrigerator.

Frito-Lay Variety Pack

A variety pack of great snacks.

Be sure to check if there are any food allergies or dietary restrictions ahead of time to make sure you can accommodate them. If you’re unfamiliar with said restriction, it may be helpful to print out an information sheet and keep it on your fridge for easy access while preparing meals.

Want to really impress your guests? Set up a coffee station in the kitchen. However you prepare your coffee at home, make sure there are a few options available, and everything is out and ready to go for guests in the morning.

ANBOXIT Coffee Station Organizer

Everything you need to set up a coffee station at home.

Install Night Lights

A night light in someone's house
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You may be able to navigate your home in the dark, but your guests won’t. Save them the experience of stubbing their toe on the way to the bathroom by placing night lights around the house.

Be sure to have a least one light in the main rooms they may need to access after everyone goes to bed, like bathrooms and the kitchen. You should also install a few in the hallways and walkways around the house.

Solatec Plug-in Led Night Light

Make it easy to see at night.

This will also make your guests feel more at home since they may not feel comfortable turning on lights at night if they’re afraid of waking someone up.

Make Your Home Inviting

A blanket on a chair and a candle on a table
Piglet in Bed

Once your home is clean and prepped, you can add that extra dose of coziness by decorating your space for the season. One way you can do this is by making your dining room table seating comfortable and stylish. Rhiannon Johns, interior designer and head of the brand at Piglet in Bed, suggests decorating your chairs with cushions and warm throws in complementary colors to match your table setting.

“To take your decor to the next level, add a festive chair back to your seating for an Insta-worthy Christmas haven,” Johns said.

Home fragrances can also make your guests feel cozier. Johns suggests using candles or diffusers with rich, decadent scents like dark amber and sweet orange.

Fuzzy throw pillows and warm blankets in the living room will also make your guests feel right at home.

Uhomy 2 Packs Home Decorative Throw Pillow

These will make everyone feel cozy at home.


Hosting guests for the holidays can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be that stressful. Here are a few ways you can prepare your home for the holiday season.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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