Style Expert

Prepare For Arrival

Guest Prep

Don’t overhaul your home like guests will be staying forever! Instead, help yourself out and grab a few pieces that are multi-functional – those that will make your guests happy and will fit into your lifestyle when your guests are gone.

Makeshift Mud Room

If you’re like me and you don’t have a large mud room or coat closet, your guests’ coats usually end up in the bedroom. I like to put an extra blanket or throw on top of the bedspread – it keeps the bed clean and doesn’t make your guests feel like their coats are invading your personal space.


Betsy Throw

The Outrageously Useful Ottoman

My living room is super comfy when I have just a few friends over. With a big crowd, I have to get a little creative so everyone has a place to sit and set their drinks. Having an ottoman—especially one with space to stash things—is a great living room accessory. It can be a seat, or, if it has a tray, a table. Plus, when your guests are gone, you’ll have a place to rest your tired feet and set your much-needed martini.

Super Storage

If you have guests who are sleeping in the living room, give them a place to stash their bedding and personal items during the day. This small storage bench is great because it’s compact, it doubles as an extra seat, and it gives your guests a place to put their bags and suitcases.


Cubbie Bench

Table Talk

As a kid, I remember helping my mom pull the leaves for the dining room table out from under the bed. It was always so cumbersome, and it made the bedroom seem cluttered. Instead of having a table with removable leaves, get one that expands so you don’t have to bother with storing something you only need once in a while.


Dining Table with 2 End Leaves

Ready, Get The Table Set – Go!

Guests staying for a few days translates into multiple meals. At breakfast and lunch, you can get away with being casual by having your guests serve themselves, eating with serveware directly on the table, or using placemats. At dinner or a nice brunch, you’ll want to make things more formal. Having several solid-colored tablecloths is a big help. They don’t need to be fancy; a solid or earth-toned color will dress up the table. When dinner is over, clean up is easy – just throw the tablecloth in the laundry pile. When you have a few on hand, it’s easy to grab another for the next meal.


Silk Placemats

Stock Up On Seating

Whenever I have people over for a big meal, I never seem to have enough chairs. In my small apartment, I don’t have the space for a grand dining table and 12 chairs. It’s awkward to make people sit on a random desk chair or an ottoman that’s too low. That’s why investing in a few folding chairs is a good idea. They can easily be stashed in the back of a closet for storage, and your guests will be more comfortable.


Folding Chairs

Get More Glassware

If you have the space, it never hurts to have extra wine glasses. With stems or without, wine glasses can double as water goblets or cocktail glasses. If your friends aren’t professional sommeliers, they probably won’t mind if the glasses aren’t designed for red or white wine, so just get the ones you think you’ll use the most.


Wine Glasses

Dishware As Decor

If you think you’re going to need extra dishes, but you can’t find the right pattern, just get dishes that match your color scheme. While setting the table, alternate the patterns. It will give your table an eclectic look, and no one will know that you had to improvise a little. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how coordinated everything will look.



Serve With Style

Whenever I buy baking dishes, I always make sure that they are both beautiful and functional. Not only can you take your casserole from oven to table this way, but you can also use your baking dishes as serving pieces. Serve cheese and fruit, veggies and dip, or crackers and tea sandwiches in your baking dishes. The presentation will be just as nice as a platter, and your cabinets will stay clutter free. Yay!


Birds & Branches Square Baker & Server


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