stored in: Nell Hill's and tagged:

One of the best things about the holidays is the chance to fill your home with loved ones, whether for a few hours or a few days. If you’re having overnight guests this holiday season, make a fuss over them so they know how much you love them. Here are a few tips to ensure your guests feel more at home (and maybe even a bit like visiting royalty).

Inviting Guest Room

Be sure your guest quarters are decorated as beautifully as the rest of your home, so the room doesn’t feel like an afterthought. Paint the walls a wonderful, warm color. Replace the standard light fixture with an interesting chandelier. Cover the windows in a treatment that adds interest and ensures privacy. When you pick furnishings for the guest room, be sure to include a generous sized night stand, a comfortable chair to rest in and a table or luggage stand to hold guests’ suitcases. I have friends who have made their guest rooms even more lovely than their own bedrooms because they know this rarely-used space won’t take the daily abuse their own bedroom will, so it’s guaranteed to look great for years.

Creature Comforts

It’s essential that your guest space be inviting. You want visitors to feel at home, not like intruders. One way to do this is to anticipate their needs and outfit the room to meet those needs. For instance, I have a small ladies’ writing desk next to the bed in one of my guest rooms that I keep stocked with things guests might need during their stay, like a crystal pitcher filled with fresh water, a roll of stamps for their correspondence and a china cup holding pens. A friend of mine who takes the art of spoiling guests to a whole new level often puts together welcome baskets for her guests, filling them with things like an itinerary of activities, key phone numbers, services they might need while they are with you, a street map and pamphlets from interesting sites in your area, like art museums and shopping centers.

What do your guests love to do? Surprise them by spotlighting their interests and passions in your guest room. If your guests are avid readers, stack some great books on a tray by their bed. If they love to shop for clothes or decorate their homes, get the latest editions of your favorite fashion and decorating magazines.

A Feast of Love

I’m a firm believer that everything in life is better with food. So I like to spoil my guests with yummy treats. When your visitors first arrive, revive them from their travels with a coffee bar. Dress up your dining room buffet, kitchen island or a console table in your foyer with carafes filled with steaming coffee and tea. Visit your local candy store to pick out some interesting confections, like peppermint sticks dipped in dark chocolate.

Spending the day touring can be absolutely exhausting. So while your guests are resting up from the day and getting ready for the night’s festivities, surprise them with a tempting spread of appetizers and drinks, set up in their room or on a table just outside the door of the guest room.

Heartwarming Bedclothes

When I was growing up, every Christmas my sister and I received a pair of pajamas from some neighbors who had no children of their own. So giving pajamas has become a holiday tradition in our family. Every time Judy comes to visit me for Christmas, I can’t wait to pick out a new pair of p.j.s and a robe for her.

I like to do the same thing with dear friends who come to visit. Once, I hit an incredible sale and stocked up on cute robes and slippers that I gave to friends who came to stay. In addition, I always have thick, white robes for guests to slip on before they head to the bathroom, which is off the main hallway upstairs. I hang the robes from decorative hooks on the back of the guest room closet doors so visitors see them immediately when they walk into the guest rooms. I think just the sight of the luxurious robes makes people feel welcomed and spoiled, as if you were eagerly awaiting their arrival and already anticipating their needs.

User-Friendly Guest Baths

Another way I indulge my guests is to stock my guest bathroom with the toiletries I think they will need during their visit. On a bookshelf next to the sink, they will find an apothecary jar full of white washcloths. On a shelf below that, I have an old suitcase filled with items like a hair dryer and hygiene products. Next to the suitcase stands a stack of fluffy white towels. On a shelf above the toilet I have Q-tips in a silver-lidded jar and disposable razors in a silver cream pitcher.

Once you have all the essentials your guests might need, from fresh soap and shampoo to toothbrushes and toothpaste, turn your attention to making your guest bath feel like an oasis. Dress up the counter top with pillar candles or scented votives. I also like to place garden statuary on bathroom counter tops, then add interest with seasonal greens.

After a long day of visiting, your guests are going to be ready to jump into bed at night. So make sure your guest bed is inviting. Invest in a lovely bedding ensemble that includes soft, white sheets, fluffy duvets and sink-into pillows. I placed shams on one of my guest room beds that are embroidered with the greetings, “Good Morning” and “Good Night.”

Make it Personal

When I have guests in my home, I like to give them a little gift that celebrates our friendship. I often leave a small, beautifully wrapped present on their pillow or a chair next to their bed–a fun surprise just waiting to be discovered in a private moment. The gift may hold a small framed snapshot of us together. It may be a special accent for their home, like something I know they collect. Or it may be something that celebrates one of their hobbies, like a pot filled with forced bulbs for my gardener buddies.

When my friend Charlene, the choc-o-haulic, comes to visit, I always leave her some sort of gift to satisfy her sweet tooth. It may be a dessert server holding gourmet chocolates or an apothecary jar filled with mini candy bars. Make the offering even sweeter by including a personal message or a warm greeting for your guests, like a little plaque with a heartwarming saying.

Make it Festive

Celebrate the season by adding bits of holiday cheer to your guest room décor.  How about placing a small, live evergreen in an elegant cachepot on a table in your guest room? It will delight your guests to have this fanciful fresh tree to brighten their room, and, when the weather warms up in the spring, you can plant the tree in your garden.

I like to dot my guest rooms with tiny touches that scream “happy holidays!”  Ring the bedpost with a holiday wreath. Rest a stocking stuffed with treats on your guest’s pillow. Or, hang a row of stockings from the footboard, ready for Santa. Loop a bit of seasonal ribbon around the doorknob to hold a Christmas tree ornament or a small piece of artwork depicting an evergreen. Put a stack of vintage Christmas books on a side table. Or hang wreaths from the window sashes.

Next Week …We host our family’s Thanksgiving dinner every year at our home. While Dan is busy in the kitchen, preparing our feast, I’m in the dining room, making our table a feast for the eyes. Next week, I’ll pass on some tips for setting a memorable Thanksgiving table.

Want to receive the latest blog posting
in your email inbox every week?
Click here to sign up.

42 Responses to “Spoil Holiday Guests”

  1. Pinky Says:

    Oh my goodness, I am so in love with that bedroom in the first picture!!!!!!!! EVERY item is my taste especially that chair with the beautiful animal print fabric and the DRAPES….be still my heart!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I try to spoil my guests too, I place anything I think they may need in the top drawer of the bathroom vanity, make special meals, have comfy sheets and bedding and special lotions etc. in the bathroom. It is a wonderful way to say, “I love you” and am happy you are here!

  2. Julie Zoller Says:

    I so love the “Spoiled Holiday Guests” bedroom…Mary Carol I would love to know, do you sell the window shade featured in many of the rooms? I love them!

  3. maureen Says:

    Wonderful ideas for guests! I love the vignette on the writing desk! You have given me some wonderful ideas to incorporate in my own home! Wish your store was near NYC! I would be a regular for sure!

  4. Mary Carol Says:

    Julie—We do not carry the matchstick blinds in the store anymore, however, you can find them in lots of locations–such as Lowes, Home Depot, etc.

  5. Kris Campbell Says:

    Love these ideas Mary Carol! And if you are ever lonely for a house guest, I volunteer!

  6. Leslie Dettmann Says:

    May Carol,
    Where do the drapes and the bedding come from in these rooms. They are so beautiful. Love your work. May all of you have a wonderful and thankful Thanksgiving.
    Leslie J

  7. Leslie Dettmann Says:

    Mary Carol,
    Where do the drapes and the bedding come from in these rooms. They are so beautiful. Love your work. May all of you have a wonderful and thankful Thanksgiving.
    Leslie J

  8. Rosemary Meyer Says:

    When I visit my Mom in Charlotte she takes the time to put some favorite magazines, a little chocolate, and special starched pillows cases on my bed. I always feel special and knows she took extra time with love to anticipate my visit.. Your ideas reminded me of my visits there. Thanks so much.

  9. Mary Says:

    Reading this blog interested me a lot as I tried to have such a guest room over the years because we lived away from family and had lots of visitors. May I suggest the addition of a good mirror in the guest room. I had forgotten that feature and my Mother kindly let me know. I love to enjoy a comfy and attractive guest room — at home or away from home. At home, its often where I go to enjoy a good book or TV/movie at the end of the day or when I can’t sleep.

  10. Merit Says:

    Mary Carol………Wow you realy did it this time. I absolutely love the fabric on the draperies in the first room. Do you sell the fabric and how much is it would love it in my guest bedroom. The duviet cover is also fabulous. Please let me know. We are cuddeling up as the first snow has fallen and some of our mountains have opened for all of us skiiers. Cheers Merit

  11. Don Wilson Says:

    We have just recently redecorated our guest room, adding warm colors, new window treatments, etc. We will take your prompts to heart, and glorify the room with the special touches you have suggested just in time for our Christmas guests. Know that it will also include candle ideas from your previous article. We look forward to seeing you in your Atchison store as the holiday approaches! Thanks for your creative hard work!

  12. Shelly Miller Says:

    I just want to know, can I stay over? !!!

  13. Jeanne Staves Says:

    I just read “Spoil Holiday Guests” & want to thank you for some invaluable suggestions!

    Do you sell a book of your monthly articles? I keep printing them for reference, but would so love a book for reference (and with your lovely photos, of course).

    Thank you!

  14. Marilyn Comer Says:

    Beautiful! This week’s blog is especially wonderful. Thank you!

  15. Alex Says:

    Lovely! Where can you buy those bamboo roller shades?

  16. Karen McCracken Godfrey Says:

    I agree with Jeanne. Would love to see you do a magazine. Maybe quarterly. So miss visiting your stores in Kansas. We are presently living in DC. Still holding out hopes for a “Nell Hills Southeastern”. Savannah and
    Charleston would be great locations. Grace & Peace, KMG

  17. Debra Says:

    Hello Mary Carol!
    What is the paint color on the walls in the first picture, which store carries the drapes and bedding? I live out in California and can’t make a trip out to your beautiful stores. But that is on my wish list for sure!
    I remember about 5 years ago asking if you would be selling items online because I LOVED your style and beautiful items. Now here you are….what’s next a TV Show??? The videos that you share on your site are just great!
    Truly, none of the decorators online or on the television compare to you. Love what you and your team create.
    One of your biggest fans,

  18. Stacey McCullough Says:

    I absolutely LOVE the first bedroom! I had visited your Kansas City store last fall and talked to one of your interior designers. (I cannot remember her name!) We live about 90 miles north of KC and I really need expert advice on a large, empty wall in my home. Could I email pictures of my space with measurements and have someone give me suggestions? I would LOVE for someone to give me an in home consultation, but given the distance I think it would be cost prohibitive. I love this blog and your style is just fabulous!

    Thank you!
    Stacey Mc

  19. Nancy Rodrigues Says:

    Mary Carol,

    The bedroom in the first picture is the lovliest I have ever seen….warm and cozy as well as elegant. Would you be able to tell me about the fabric on the curtains….name of fabric, distributor, anything????

    Thank you so much.

  20. Mary Carol from Olathe Says:

    I noticed you have greenery in almost every room. I believe that is what makes it warm and cheerful. It makes it come alive. I can’t wait until the end of Nov. to visit your beautiful home.

  21. Mary Carol from Olathe Says:

    I noticed you have greenery in almost every room. I believe that is what makes it warm and cheerful. It makes it come alive. I can’t wait until the end of Nov. to visit your beautiful home.

  22. Mary Carol from Olathe Says:

    I like the way you put greenery in every room. It makes the room feel alive and makes it warm and cheerful. I can’t wait until the end of Nov. to visit your beautiful home.

  23. Mary Carol Says:

    Leslie–Thank-you, this bedroom was from a showhouse we did a while back. The bedding and fabrics are from the Briarcliff Nell Hills. Feel free to call one of our bedding specialists with your specific questions @877-746-4320.

  24. Mary Carol Says:

    How sweet Rosemary

  25. Mary Carol Says:

    Merit–Please feel free to call our Briarcliff Nell Hills for questions on the fabrics previewed here–877-746-4320.

  26. Mary Carol Says:

    No, not at the moment Jeanne–interesting idea though.

  27. Mary Carol Says:

    Alex–We no longer carry those matchstick blinds, however, pretty sure they are available at other home stores (like Home Depot, Target etc.) or with a custom blind store.

  28. Mary Carol Says:

    Debra–That is our Sugar Cookie paint from the MC Artistian Paint line. We sell it in the stores and on-line. The Briarcliff Nell Hills Kansas City store sells all the bedding and fabrics-please feel free to call any of our talented bedding and fabric specialists @877-746-4320. Thank-you for your very sweet comments.

  29. Mary Carol Says:

    Stacey–Please feel free to call the Briarcliff Nell Hills store to help you with your needs @877-746-4320.

  30. Mary Carol Says:

    Yes Nancy, that is our Novelty Gold, sold in our Briarcliff Nell Hills location. Please feel free to call the store @877-746-4320 and talk to one of our bedding specialists.

  31. Mary Carol Says:

    Thanks for all your great comments this week–it was such a fun blog–see you next week—Mary Carol

  32. Sally Moore Says:

    Your guest room has inspired me to run up to the guest room and add some warmer touches before my guests get here in a few hours!!!! Thanks and keep them coming. Also, would love to see all your Xmas decorations that were in your store on your web site, so I can order some (I saw lots when I w
    as in KC store in September!)

    Atlanta, GA

  33. Connie Breidenthal Says:

    What can I say, Mary Carol, you are the best. Loved the guest room ideas. I’m all inspired to get my bedrooms “treasured up” for the holidays.
    Hope to see you in Atchison sometime soon.

    Bonner Springs, Kansas

  34. Yvonne Says:

    Delightful and so sensitive to the guests needs! I always say our house is really like a hote. Guests bring a home to life!
    Beautifully done!
    Yvonne @ StoneGable

  35. Sandi Says:

    Mary Carol
    Your guest bedroom ideas are so inspiring. Love all of the rooms and the colors, now I want to start changing a lot of things. I can hardly wait for Thanksgiving to be over so I can start Christmas decorating and am anxiously awaiting your open house, I’m so glad we live close and am able to tour you lovely home. I know the store
    will be a “mad house”, but it is well worth it.

  36. Vada Rose Says:

    Do you sell the swag that is draped across the bottom of the bed in the first picture? It is beautiful.
    Vada Rose

  37. donna Says:

    What a beautiful post! I am so inspired to do something with our guest room now. Thank you for sharing all these wonderful tips!

    Is the ladies writing desk available for purchase or is it an antique?

  38. Vicky Berry Says:

    Mary Carol,

    You continue to amaze me with your beautiful designs, creations, your fabulous taste, and your endearing personality! Thanks for sharing everything with all of us!


  39. Sandi Says:

    Even though our guests are usually the kids coming home (with their family) I have always had a basket on each bed with the thick, fluffy towels and wash cloths, as well as a bottle of water for each person, and usually a rice krispie treat or granola bar. They are always gone when I go clean up!

  40. Ginny Rowe Says:

    Where did you get the brown fabric in your Oct. 25 Spoil Holiday Guest blog. It is at the windows in the first picture of a guest bedroom and also in the picture with the writing desk between the drapes. I have looked everywhere for that fabric for my dining room and can not find it. If you don’t mind sharing, I would greatly appreciate the information. Thanks

  41. Mary Carol Says:

    Hi Ginny,
    Would love to share….The beautiful brown fabric comes from our Nell Hill’s Briarcliff location. Just call 877-746-4320 and we can send a swatch out to you then you can order by the yard.

Leave a Reply