I feel as if I write often about this topic, but it matters deeply to me. Nothing is worse than feeling unwelcome in a home, it's typically unintentional, but common. It's a challenge to feel at home when we're simply not at home, but there is much that can be done to make our own homes feel like home when family and friends come to visit.
Hospitality is a beautiful way to offer the gospel, it's silent and powerful. What could be more important?
The hardest thing to do is to keep our homes clean. We only have one child, and I find myself cleaning all the time. Perhaps I'm also cleaning the mess made from two dogs. If your house is often messy the best place to start is with the deeper organizing. When our homes are cluttered from top to bottom, in and out, it's hard for home to ever feel clean. Choosing to spend one summer organizing your home will make an impact on the overall feel, and cleaning will become easier.
Deep cleaning can be tackled by using some type of rotating schedule. If guests are coming short notice you won't have as much to do to prep your home (quick-clean the bathrooms, wash the dishes, and run the Swiffer over your floors). Making cleanliness a priority will instantly put your guests at ease.
I often hear that a home that is too clean can feel sterile and unwelcoming, I disagree. Yes, plastic couch covers may ruin some level of comfort, but I'll always prefer using a clean bathroom.
The kitchen is the central hub of the home, the initial gathering space. While it's important that the surfaces are clean, what matters more is what's baking in the oven. Prepping a batch of cookies or muffins is simple, especially if your pantry and fridge are organized. Choose a go-to recipe and fill your home with that fresh-baked aroma. If you're not much of a baker, pick up some cookies at the store and brew a fresh pot of coffee.
Keeping your kitchen organized and clean for your guests, especially overnight guests, will help put them at ease. You want them to freely use your kitchen as needed.
A living room is less about what sectional to choose and more about the tone that is set with the space. Surely a comfy sectional is a nice luxury to have, but how does the space as an entirety feel? Light a few candles, bring out the comfiest pillows and throws, and choose relaxing music or an older film (for background noise) that everyone will enjoy.
It's challenging to find both comfortable and stylish furniture, but if the conversation is rich, if the space is cozy and clean, hygge will have space to thrive. Suddenly the antique chair that makes one's back sore won't matter as much.
The Little Things
It all comes down to the little things that make the guests feel welcome, the little bits of thoughtfulness.
- Choosing window dressings for the guest bedroom that create enough privacy
- Adding fresh flowers around the home
- Purchasing a few of your guest's favorite snacks and toiletries
- Adding warm lighting around the home with lamps and string lights
- Having meals/restaurants planned out in advance to avoid the discussions about food
- Making sure that the guests have the amenities they need for rest and relaxation
- Offering the best of yourself, getting enough rest to stay engaged in conversation
- Creating an outdoor sanctuary for fellowship
- Diffuse essentials oils
- Keeping an "emergency kit" on hand if illness or injury arrives
- Getting up early to make sure your guests have coffee and breakfast
When we make our neighbors and guests our greatest priority, hospitality will come to us naturally.
*This is a collaborative post.