Storage Tips

Getting Your Home Ready for Overnight Guests

December 10, 2015

We know it's going to impress us (and maybe you!), so we partnered with Sahale Snacks ® to see what some of our favorite creatives do during their in-between time. Today, it's Athena Calderone from Eyeswoon on prepping for guests.

As much as I love city life, I feel more in tune with myself once I escape the urban hustle: My body relaxes, my mind clears, and my connections with friends and family deepen. My family's Amagansett home, which is about three hours from Brooklyn, is my sanctuary. There, I cook every square meal and continually find myself playing with and rearranging the decor. From prepping the guest rooms and baking sweet treats to creating in the kitchen or propping with flowers, it is truly where I am happiest.

This home away from home has completely changed my family's lives—not only do we experience a greater connectedness to nature here, but we also have a revolving door of friends and family that fill it up with joy and laughter (which works great because I love to host more than anything, particularly during the holidays).

Photo by Sarah Elliott

In the cooler months, we gather around the kitchen island with all hands on deck to prep a meal—then settle into long dinners punctuated by red wine, followed by cozy card games as the fire blazes, or movie nights with kiddos piled on the sofa in our little nook of a den.

Every time I invite loved ones into my home, it's a chance to create beauty, which is what truly makes me swoon (and by beautiful I do not necessarily mean overly complicated or fanciful—less is often more). I certainly have a caretaker side, so I get joy out of providing my guests with the simple, thoughtful things that make a house a home. These are a few simple room-by-room ways I prep a home thoughtfully, so sleepover guests have a relaxed and enjoyable experience during their stay.

The Kitchen

Photo by Sarah Elliott

I don’t know about you, but I like my coffee the moment I awaken. It can be awkward for guests to be in someone else’s kitchen and they may feel intrusive having to dig around for the morning essentials—so simply set out the coffee mugs, lay out a maker like this Chemex with filters and teaspoons, take out the coffee, grind the beans, and set up creamer in the fridge. A marble board, or a platter, will pull it all together into a proper coffee bar. These gestures allow your guests to feel comfortable and caffeinated.

Set out snacks for guests so they know what's for the taking—it'll make them feel at home. Photo by Sarah Elliot

I like to bake scones or muffins the day guests arrive—not only will the kitchen smell delightful, your guests will also have something homemade to nosh on in the morning should you decide to sleep in.

The Guest Room

Candles your guests can take with them, like these from the Food52 Shop, make great gifts. Photo by Sarah Elliott

By making their bedroom feel personalized, your guests will be comfortable sneaking away for some solitude. I like to clear a surface or drawer for them to place their things so they can feel settled. A little bedside care package might include a scented candle (better yet if it's one you can send home with them, like these portable ones), matches, a carafe of water, flowers, and even a sweet book of quotes or poetry.

Photo by Sarah Elliott

I also like to leave some lavender linen spray to make for a deep nights sleep, which they can also take home—look for that DIY here soon! After all, they are not staying in a hotel and you want them to feel welcomed and cared for.

A carafe, like this 1/2 liter one from the Food52 Shop, makes the perfect bedside water jug.

Storage & Supplies

How many nights have you suffered in a cold hotel room because there was no extra blanket? Provide your guests with ample warmth: Place a woven basket next to the bed filled with an extra blanket, pillow, bath towels, and hand towels. No one enjoys having to ask for things so just provide them! I even make little cards with the wifi code for each guest room.

The Bathroom

Everyone loves bath products; they are the ultimate thing to help your guests unwind and feel pampered. Whenever I stay in any hotel, I always snatch up all the tiny soaps, lotions, shampoos, and conditioners I can get my hands on—these sample-sized toiletries are perfect to stock in your home for when guests stay (I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten to pack toothpaste!).

Lavender Soap and Lotion available in the Food52 Shop. Photo by Sarah Elliott

I always set out a little tray with a travel toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, and bath time essentials.

Shop the Story

Oh, and keep an extra roll of toilet tissue in the bathroom, please! The goal here: Make everyone feel provided for so they don’t feel uncomfortable asking. Think of the little things that make the difference, and their stay will be as swoony as possible.

This Woven Moroccan Basket, perfect for heaping with linens, is available in the Food52 Shop. Photo by Sarah Elliott

We partnered with Sahale Snacks ® to share how some of our favorite creatives never waste a moment during their in-between times to Snack Better®. See all of their nut mixes here.

Grab your copy

It's here: Our game-changing guide to everyone's favorite room in the house. Your Do-Anything Kitchen gathers the smartest ideas and savviest tricks—from our community, test kitchen, and cooks we love—to help transform your space into its best self.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Mrs Beryl Patmore
    Mrs Beryl Patmore
  • Christine Warner
    Christine Warner
  • kstallbe
  • Miles Linklater
    Miles Linklater
  • krista besser
    krista besser
Interior designer & creator of lifestyle site


Mrs B. January 23, 2016
Bringing home hotel toiletries to put out for your guests? Are you kidding?
Furthermore, the self-promotion by this author and, increasingly, the contributors of so much of the content on Food52 is in such poor taste.
Christine W. December 26, 2015
Great ideas. Thank you for the tips. It makes me want to put more effort into hosting guests. Can't wait to try your ideas out
kstallbe December 25, 2015
Can you do a post on your kitchen? I love the wood, tiles, and counter. Is the wood salvaged? Where'd ya source those tiles!? Is the counter concrete?
Miles L. December 21, 2015
I think this whole presentation looks beautiful and stylish, but in the end, more 'fussy' and 'façade' than 'true feeling' or 'fact'. It's like showing off how great you are, rather than about making your guests feel comfortable. With everything so fussily presented, I'd feel hesitant – as a guest – to disturb any of it! But I can't argue with the beauty and presentation.
krista B. December 20, 2015
The matchstick jar is made by JenPearsonDesigns on Etsy. It's so cute but I have trouble actually lighting the marches from the bottom as it is intended.
Chuck B. December 20, 2015
Everything about this screams out to me "fussy pretentiousness", but goddamit, I love your style. Very tasteful
Andy December 20, 2015
Yeah this is kind of wealth porn to me... If I was a Jewish princess I would be able to entertain guests like that too.
imryan23 December 20, 2015
Rich or poor, doing something a little extra for guests is the way to make someone feel welcome and special.
Liz December 21, 2015
Andy, maybe you are a snarky, anti-Semitic prince who sounds like nothing would make you a good or entertaining host!
Andy December 21, 2015
I'm half Jewish. But something about this story (I realize it's a sponsored post too...) and featuring a wealthy person who has a second home in the Hamptons rubbed me the wrong way. The style was a little cutesy, precious and unrelatable to me. When guests come to my 1 bedroom apartment in Brooklyn . I give up my bedroom and sleep on an air mattress in the living room.
DLP December 20, 2015
I love your style!!! Do you have a hard time getting guests to leave??? LOL.
Where did you source the glass match stick container?
Athena C. December 21, 2015
Hello! And thanks so much. I got the match stick vessel at Primary Essentials in Brooklyn in Atlantic Ave
nita December 20, 2015
While I love her style, it seems kind of selfish to have a ~second~ home, while some humans have none at all...

Andy December 21, 2015
Yes agree and I was castigated by commenters on this site for mentioning that lol.
Shari G. January 4, 2016
Envy and jealousy are not admirable traits. Why not just be happy for others who have more than you. I'm sure that you have more than others. It is all relative, but the nice thing about America is that life is what we make of it.
Claudia December 20, 2015
I would love to know where to get the bar stools in the kitchen
Athena C. December 20, 2015
Hi Claudia! The stools are actually vintage - they were a great find!
Hannah W. December 20, 2015
This house is everything!
Cindy F. December 11, 2015
So, how do you make lavender spray?
Zelda December 10, 2015
Wow, the guest rooms look like a hotel, lol!