You know that one of our primary goals here at Cottonwood is to provide you with practical solutions for living a hospitable life. So, let's start with a common hospitality scenario: preparing a guest room for overnight guests.

Many of the guest room essentials outlined in this post are common sense, but that's the point. Preparing for overnight guests is not something to overthink! This list of guest room essentials is a combination of the practical preparation tips and the "extras" that our guests have raved about when staying with us.  Whether you have a designated guest room in your home or if you just give up one of your bedrooms for a guest's stay, there are many things on this list that you can prepare ahead of time so that this process is as simple as cleaning and tidying up next time guests are on their way!


Clean and Cozy Environment

First things first. Our guest rooms should be clean! Be sure to:

  • Pickup and declutter the room

  • Dust the furniture

  • Clean mirrors

  • Sweep/vacuum the floor and rugs


You'll get bonus points if you remember to wipe down the baseboards, air registers, blinds, and windows. I've been super embarrassed in the past AFTER guests left our home when I spied super dirty air registers in the guest room.

Once the room is sparkly clean, you can add a few cozy elements to the room. Turn on a bedside or floor lamp for ambient lighting. Run a diffuser with your favorite essential oils. Place your favorite books, magazines, or puzzles on the nightstand or dresser. Add a candy dish somewhere in the room if you want to ensure a few extra smiles during your guests' stay!



Comfortable Bed

I oftentimes find myself asking my guests the same question when they visit: "Did you sleep well?" It's really important that the house is quiet, the temperature is right, and the bed is comfortable when guests visit my home. I want them to sleep like a baby!

To ensure a good night's rest, here's what you need: a comfortable mattress, mattress cover, clean quality sheets, several soft pillows, and extra blankets!

We all have personal preferences when it comes to bedding.  I'll share my preferences below but don't stress much about this, okay? More than likely, what you already have in your guest room is perfect!

  • My guest bed has a coverlet that is thin and easy to wash.

  • I use white sheets on the guest bed. They are easy to clean, and I can bleach the sheets if necessary.

  • I make the bed with a fitted sheet, flat sheet, and coverlet/duvet only. Sometimes, in the winter, I'll also add a thin blanket. For extra warmth, I have blankets at the end of the bed or in a basket beside the bed.

  • For a queen or king bed, I provide at least 4 pillows. I try to have at least 2 different types of pillows to accommodate guests' preferences. (Example: thin pillows, firm pillows, feather pillows, memory foam pillows, etc.)


I do not expect any of my house guests to remove or clean bed linens before leaving my home. I have learned, though, that many guests ask if they can remove the sheets from the bed, and these same guests typically ask if we have an extra set of clean sheets so that they can make the bed before they depart. I now keep an extra set of sheets on hand so that I can accept their offer of help!



Luggage Stand

I don't know about you, but one of the first things I do when entering a hotel room or vacation rental is to look for a spot to place my luggage. I'm always happy to find a luggage stand, a bench, or table so that I can lay my suitcase out and easily access my things.

Any guest to your home is looking for the same! It's a great idea to have a luggage stand or a small bench in your guest room to serve as a luggage resting place. It would also be helpful to clear a small space in the closet with extra hangers for hanging clothes.

We've recently been looking for a luggage stand or bench to add to our guest room. Here are a few of the products we like!



Accessible Electrical Outlets

It's a fact that we all have cell phones, laptops, tablets, sound machines, etc. that require access to electrical outlets when we travel. Guest bedrooms, though, often do not have many electrical outlets OR these outlets are blocked by furniture. Be sure to take a look around your guest room and determine if enough outlets are accessible for guests' use.

In our guest room, the electrical outlet closest to the bed is hidden behind the bed! When guests visit our home, I plug in a power strip and place it beside the nightstand. Problem solved!

Here's another helpful tip. Keep an extra cell phone charger handy for guests' use. I can't tell you how many of my guests have asked for it. :-)



WiFi Sign

Since we've been chatting about digital devices, we cannot forget to provide guests with access to our wireless network. You can simply write this information on a Post-it note or you can add a WiFi sign to the guest room.

What's a WiFi sign, you ask? It's just a framed piece of decorative paper that showcases your WiFi network name and network key/password. (example image below)

There are many WiFi sign templates available on the internet, but why go searching the big 'ole web when you can just use one of our Cottonwood WiFi sign templates? When using one of our templates, it takes less than 5 minutes to edit, print, and cut the sign and then to place it in a 4x6 frame. Very easy! My current favorite WiFi sign has just been added to the Cottonwood shop. It's only $3.99 and is neutral for many decor styles. You can check out the link here!



Welcome Basket

Want to really impress your guests? A small welcome basket is sure to do the trick! We came up with this idea after visiting a few resorts and VRBO/Airbnb properties. It was delightful to enter the vacation property and find a treat basket with everything needed to ensure a great stay. Such an easy thing to replicate for your personal guest room!

We've recently put together a welcome basket for our future guests. Here are a few of the things we included:

  • Bottles of water customized with a "welcome" water bottle label (You can find the link here. This water bottle label design matches the WiFi sign mentioned above!)

  • Snacks

  • Extra toiletry items (toothbrush, shampoo, soap, makeup wipes, etc.)

  • Common medications and adhesive bandages

  • Remotes and instructions for using TV/Cable