My home is happy when it's full of company. It's the Oscars of the domestic craft and an opportunity to practice my life's motto "what's mine is yours". More than orchestrating an elaborate welcome committee of ironed linens and luxurious goodies, when it comes to making your guests feel at home it's truly the thought that counts.
My strategy is always motivated by what I would love as a guest. As much as I crave the familiar when I travel, I also love taking advantage of being away from my routine (and my comfort zone) to indulge in things that I wouldn't normally be inclined to enjoy at home. I think the key is to think both inside and outside the box. Yes, you need to have a spare toothbrush and toothpaste on hand, but what about all the little things one forgets to pack? A stroll down the travel sample aisle can alleviate the need for your visitors to ask you for a razor or some shampoo. House all of the necessities in a basket and you'll be giving your guests permission to help themselves without having to say a word.
My favorite part of preparing for my guests' arrival is being creative in how I display all of the wildly indulgent accoutrements I've gathered for their stay! I like to find unique and unexpected containers from around my apartment. I bought this old tack box from Smith and Chang in Jersey City and stuffed it with a turkish hammam towel from my travels, a sea sponge and some soaps and oils for the bath.
A small vase of flowers next to where they sleep is a simple and beautiful way to let them know you're happy they're there. It doesn't have to be a grandiose display...in the photo below, one stem cut from my flower boxes did the trick.
I like to save unsuspecting treats like perfume and lotion samples, which are fun to experiment with when you're away from home. They feel decadent when displayed on a silver tray.
I keep a pile of magazines and books in an old french market basket next to their bed.
A tour of the fridge and a pot of coffee made the night before allow your guests to wake up without you. Have fun with the preparations and let your enthusiasm infiltrate everything you do. "Love and beauty are within you. Try to express them through your actions and you will definitely touch the very source of bliss." -Amma