6 Tips for Hosting Overnight Guests

Isn’t it fun having a friend come visit and stay overnight? What a great way to catch up without having to hurry. You can have dinner, hang out, sneak each other’s phones and hack one another’s Facebook accounts, stay up late, then get up and have a breakfast party in the morning. Good times.

Some people find it stressful preparing for spend-the-night company. No, no, no. Having a job interview on a roller coaster is stressful. Being bitten by a spider that’s stuck in your pants at the exact moment you meet your new mother-in-law is stressful. Being stopped by a cop for a broken tail light when you’re a convict on the lam is stressful. Having friends over is easy. Here are a few trusty tips, as practiced at my house this week when a friend stopped through town:

*  *  *

1. For friends coming in from afar, send easy-to-follow directions, including landmarks. For example, I include these details to help friends get to my neighborhood:

“…Exit to the left. Pass ‘ANY CLUB’. Note: it is not just any club. It’s Tiffany’s Club, but half the neon is burned out. Also, everyone inside is naked; so just know that if you decide to stop and go in. Next, pass the motel with the people trading money in the parking lot. Don’t slow down, that’s not a book swap. Turn left again.”

Directions by text.
Excerpt from actual text. Details make it easier for a visitor to recognize your home.

*  *  *

2. Get the house ready. Consider putting out some flowers.

or at least a vase
As you can see, I considered putting out some flowers.

*  *  *

3. Arrange a customized stack of reading material at each guest’s bedside. I like to assemble a mix of fiction and nonfiction, including some poems or essays, based on the person’s interests or what I think their interests should be. If you think they have an addiction, a self-help book is a great way to let them know. Everyone loves this kind of helpfulness.

don't let people who don't like to read into your house
In this case, it was a challenge, because my friend reads as much (if not more)
than I do, and we have a lot of the same favorites. So these are kind of
random choices. Btw, if you don’t have Sloane Crosley’s humor essays,
pick them up. Funny.

*  *  *

4. Place a welcome card on the guest’s pillow.

a greeting card shows you knew in advance they were visiting
Sometimes, the card is so good, I can’t even stand to write in it.
fuck that shit, indeed, pirate bird
I’m dying to have a pregnant houseguest ever since finding a congrats card
that reads, “Way to go, you little slut.”

* * *

5. Find out what your guests drink, and stock up on it.

save the earth
Post-party recycling. Why all the club soda, you ask?
Because we were throwing down white wine spritzers like
a couple of 75-year-old BALLERS.

* * *

6. Go all out and cook a fancy breakfast. Don’t be the host with the toast. Although I’m not much of a baker, having morning guests calls for extraordinary measures. I picked this Martha Stewart recipe, because apparently, these muffins aren’t restricted to certain days of the week like other muffins. Versatile!

oh, Martha
I may have disregarded that part about “jumbo” muffin pans.
But how much difference could it really make?
big muffins in a little pan...
A good bit of difference, actually.

So basically, a trip to my house is like a luxury vacation. As long as you’re cool with our ancient plumbing (“old world charm”) and curious little kids who may or may not dig through your suitcase while you’re asleep. Come visit!


  1. this rocks! (love the photos, btw.) and color me impressed that you are up and baking after a night of reveling (er, reconnecting) with an old friend at a slumber party. impressive.

  2. HA! I “consider” putting out flowers all. the. time! Never happens. Cuz then I’d have to keep them fresh – or they start to smell funky….

    Love the not-writing-in-the-awesome-card idea! Stealing it!!

  3. These tips are priceless! Contacting Emily Post now to tell her that she sucks…THIS is how guests really want to be treated. You know…all wrapped up in luxury and all.

    • …yeah, you would, but no one comes to see people who have 3 kids (so warm up to it, even though #3 is in the oven…let’s hope s/he/it doesn’t bubble over like ML’s muffins.🙂 and regardless, NO ONE comes to see people who have 3 kids. no matter how cute they are. your liquor ain’t that good.) The Econo-Lodge looks better than my house at this point. [yeah, i’m on to Dad on Arrival.]. carry on.

  4. Kids rummaging through bags would be welcome in our house… much better than our dogs who eat all guest’s clothes – including my friends mink scarf! Somehow we are still friends?!

  5. I googled “martha stewart hosting overnight guests” to help me prepare for our first real (read: not college friends who were chill with crashing on our couch) visitors. I got this. I read it. I laughed to the point of tears. I’m SO prepared for our guests now. Thank you!!

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