I love having people over at our home. I’ll be the first to say, “we can do it at our house!” and nothing makes me happier than seeing our loved ones in our home. The laughs, the memories shared, the conversations about life…it all makes our home worth it. I’m excited to share how to host at home and make it less stressful! I think there will always be a small level of stress, or maybe just eagerness to have everything go right when you’re inviting people over, but let’s put that aside and enjoy good company! Here are 10 things you’ll want to remember when hosting anything, whether it’s a party or just inviting a friend over for lunch.
As I grow older and watching my parents age, I want to soak up every moment. There is nothing more important than the people in your life you care for and having them in your home should be a priority. It is a huge priority to us. Regardless of what your house looks like or what stage of life you may be in, I want to share how to host at home and make it as stress-free as possible!
Johnny and I are still learning to navigate life as an engaged couple. We were long-distance for six years out of the 11 we’ve been together, so hosting was never really a thing until recently! Now, we are working on our routine and system to make the entire process enjoyable. We are not perfect, so if you have any advice, please share in the comments! I asked some of you on Instagram to share your best hosting advice, so I’ve looped those into these, too.
If you’re interested in shopping any of the pieces in our dining room, there are shoppable images with tags on them you can click and it’ll take you right to the retailer’s site. I also have a boutique widget at the bottom with everything in our dining room linked and a list!
1. Invite people over
Your house doesn’t have to be perfect. That powder room doesn’t need wallpaper. The baseboards don’t have to be clean. Please don’t wait until you feel like your house is “perfectly done” to invite people into your home. You never know what could happen tomorrow so don’t wait. Everything is impermanent, so enjoy your life and what you have now.
Let me share a story with you: Many years ago my Dad bought my Mom jewelry for her birthday. It was a gorgeous precious stone necklace and it was so beautiful my Mom wanted to “save it for a special occasion.” Years passed and she never got the chance to wear it. Until one day, my Mom and I came home from her psychology lecture to find our home had been burglarized. A ring of burglars broke into our home and tore through everything. The necklace my Dad worked so hard for and saved to buy for my Mom was taken. She never even got to wear it once.
So please, don’t wait. Your house doesn’t have to be perfectly clean and you don’t need the perfect dining room light. It’s not too small, it’s not outdated. Please just open the door and invite your loved ones in to break bread with you and enjoy.
2. Order Takeout
If you don’t love to cook and prepare elaborate meals, that’s okay! You don’t have to. Trust me when I say your real friends will not care if you ordered Dominos Pizza. They just want to be with you! I would say when we host at home, we order takeout about half the time! I love a home-cooked meal just as much as the next person, but if you’re caught up with work or had a family matter to handle, call your favorite restaurant and grab takeout. Our takeout favorites include Thai food, pizza, Italian and sushi!
3. Focus on the Common Spaces
You do not need to clean your entire house, especially if you’re short on time. Vacuum the entryway, living room, dining room and kitchen. These are what I like to call “high-impact” spaces or common spaces since they are used more than others. Clear off surfaces on your kitchen countertops/island, dining table and move them to a laundry room or somewhere you can shut the door. There, I said it. Just temporarily move your mess if it bothers you that much. Grab some multi-purpose cleaner, wipe down all surfaces and you are good to go. This routine takes me maybe 10 minutes at the most, especially since we already tend to keep our home clean. (Post on our cleaning routine is coming!)
4. Get the Bathroom in Order
The guest bathroom will almost always be used. Making sure it, and the toilet, are clean is one of the most important things to do when you host at home. Make sure there is ample toilet paper (if I’m hosting more than 10 people I put a new roll in and put the partially used one under the sink), soap, lotion and towels. I’ve always lucked out with two larger hand-towels in our bathroom. If I’m having more than six people, I’ll add another towel on the counter between the two sinks in case the other two get too wet. Of course, clean the toilet!
5. Make it Smell Good
About an hour or so before guests come, I will either light candles or turn on my Pura diffuser. I love the scents the diffuser comes with, Bamboo and Grapefruit. I also love Capri Blue Volcano. What’s great about Pura is you can control the scent intensity and have it operate on a schedule. So if you’re out and about you can turn it on remotely! I’m still addicted to old-fashioned candles. Some of my favorites include Sunday Club because of the wood wick (use HK20 for 20% off and the moss scent is my favorite), Byredo’s Burning Rose, Sweet Water Decor’s Salt & Sea, Hotel Lobby’s Nuit to name a few.
Pro Tip: Put a candle in the bathroom! Not only will it make the atmosphere cozier, but will help make it smell divine.
6. Set the Table Ahead of Time
If you plan on having a seated meal, set the table in advance. I like the night before so you can alleviate the stress the day of when you host at home. This also gives you more time to make sure the dining table is clean and ready to go! I’m a little extra, so I like to have a charger, dinner plate, cloth napkins, flatware and glasses all laid out. If you don’t like cloth napkins, I love these disposable napkins that feel more substantial and a bit like linen.
7. Use Paper Products for Large Gatherings
The sustainable side of me hates saying this, but for gatherings with more than 10 people, we opt paper plates and disposable cups. I like this set because it looks a bit more elevated and comes with literally everything you need, including chopsticks! I also appreciate how they are biodegradable. This would be great for any hosting where children are involved since you don’t have to worry about anything breaking.
8. Set the Right Temperature
Anytime we have people over, I lower the temperature a few degrees. About three to five degrees will be adequate. More people in the home equals more body heat, especially if everyone is moving around! You don’t want anyone sweating. I also like to move our Dyson Air Purifier out into either the living room or dining room to make sure the air is flowing nicely. When you host at home, you want your guests to be at a comfortable temperature.
9. Focus on One Thing, Do It Well
While the overachiever in me thinks I can get our house clean, decorate for the party, put a hot homecooked meal on the table and have the perfect playlist while mingling with everyone this is not the case. When you try to do everything, sometimes you end up doing nothing. Focus on one thing and do it well. This is key when you host at home. Don’t let it get out of hand. If you really want to make a homecooked meal, the decor and fresh flower arrangements can slide. If your house really needs to be cleaned and it’s been weeks, do that and order take out.
For Johnny’s 29th Birthday, there was no avoiding the slip & slide would be the star of the show. I was not going to decorate inside our house so I ordered one jumbo balloon to make it festive. We ordered takeout and threw the Olympics on for those who didn’t want to be outside. For my birthday earlier this year, we had balloons inside so decor was more of the focus.
10. Set Expectations
Regardless of how many people are coming over, it’s only polite to set expectations. Are your friends coming over for game night? Or is it more chill and you’ll be watching a movie together? Going to make smores by the fire outside? Remind your friends to bring a jacket if it gets chilly! The last thing you want is your friends showing up with an idea in their head of what the night was going to be like and it’s the opposite. Make it clear what is going to happen and you’ll avoid any awkward moments!
The last thing I wanted to add is to let your friends help you! Whether it’s picking up a bottle of wine on the way to your home, maybe grabbing the takeout or even helping you do the dishes. A good friend will always ask if they can help you, so let them! You don’t have to clean all by yourself.
The last item I wanted to mention is cleaning. If I’m really exhausted, I’ll make sure leftovers are put away and all surfaces are wiped down. I hate the idea of sticky sauces sitting on my dining table or countertops. I’ll wipe all of that down and do the dishes, take out the trash and really clean up the next day. If you’re having a big party, it may be a good idea to schedule a housekeeper to do a deep clean the day after.