travel via Annie SchlechterAnnie Schlechter

Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even if you wish they were. So, first things first. A visitor’s first impression of your home is often made from the sidewalk or stoop. You want it to say, “Happy you are here!”

california 2007 041 Lisa Porter

Greet your guests with warmth & spirit. Your welcome will set the tone for the entire visit.

Banks Entry Linda Banks Design

Having a guest room is a luxury for some & thankfully not a necessity.
Single, double, queen, or king? I know that single beds are a thing of the past but they do allow for the most flexibility. Couples keep close & adversaries turn to respective walls.

 Kathy Kincaid Interiors Kathy Kincaid Interiors

I tell husband’s & wives that they can hold hands across the divide. This arrangement will remind them of being teenagers again.

Ritz_Guest_BR_1 Cathy Kincaid InteriorsKathy Kincaid Interiors for Ritz Carleton

I think that a visit to family or friends, should be a retreat from daily life.
Creating a cozy & gracious guest room or a quiet corner of your home is a prerequisite to being considered a great host or hostess.

cr guest room essentialsCarolyne Roehm

Carolyne Roehm treats her guests with only the best. Italian pillow shams, carafe by Dior, hot water bottle in pique, mints in a sterling shell, etc...Just so you know, I will never be able to indulge you with this level of luxury.

 I will however, appeal to all of your senses in simple straightforward ways & welcome you with open arms.

satin hangers by sandra lane Sandra Lane

Depending on how long the stay, some guests need time to unpack.
A clutch of satin or cedar hangers and two robes aren’t requirements, but if found, they will be used...and remembered. These are special touches that say, “I was expecting you.”

 Considering that you might want to just sit and catch your breath for a few minutes, hours or days, a comfy chair, overstuffed pillows, and a soft throw are included.

comfy chair by Sarah HoganSarah Hogan

As are fresh cut flowers, and a good bedside table for your treasures.

sailboats Simple touches in the bathroom are really luxurious touches if you ask me.
No other place offers such a measure of privacy so I like to go all out!

Good lotion, bath oil, & salts are the best. But nothing is richer than fresh soap, a new toothbrush, and a stack of clean towels.

for becky by sandra laneSandra Lane for Becky

I have a special collection of towels & toiletries for her & for him.

guy stuff by tim evan cook Tim Evan Cooke for Michael

And always remember...if you have to share your own with others, everyone looks in the medicine cabinet, even Aunt Ethel & Pastor John!

When thinking about amenities for families, focus on simple not ceremonial. A nightlight will be appreciated more than chocolates.

little ones too When left to their own devices, children will uncover endless entertainment in a strange house: great-grandfather’s Faberge egg, a beloved pashima shawl, the dog.

book ends by joanna hendersonJoanna Henderson

They just want to have fun so keep them in the attic, in your own children’s former room, anywhere they can play and shout from noon until night. Etiquette consultant & mommy, Mindy Lockard can help you tackle young guests in a gracious way at Monthly Manner.

boys by matt birdMatt Bird

My motto is fresh air saves children! Unload them in the yard and turn on the hose or sprinkler. Some of our guests arrive with babies and bring most everything needed but a crib. I’ve passed on our crib but still manage to make do.

 If you don’t have the luxury of being able to provide a private retreat for your visitors, it’s still advisable to expect the unexpected. Flexibility is the watchword for both guest & host.

 When we lived in our 900 sq.ft. beach bungalow in California, I used to have a sign by my backdoor that read “Backdoor Guests Are Best!” My plan of action was to clear the cushions from the couch, fill up the air mattress, pitch a tent out back, or dress the porch swing with pillows and blankets.

 I would simply gather the bare essentials: pillow, blanket, & patience!


The MR. was always happy to open the best bottle of wine, light the chimeneo & thankfully pull a game plan out of his pocket!

cox & cox travel mug Cox and Cox

His plan usually involved independent exploration away from our little bungalow & this was the means of transportation.

 A gracious guest will anticipate the passions of friends even before they arrive. A gift of artichoke pesto from Bella Cucina made for the chef, a tin of dog biscuits for Gracie, or a simple packet of seeds for the green thumb is always a great way to say “We’re here!”

artichoke_pesto balsawood_gift from bella cucinaBella Cucina

Guests come in all sorts and for all sorts of reasons, and yet, consideration always wins the day. A handwritten thank-you note is required no matter how short the stay.

Cox and Cox cards Cox and Cox

Longer visits may call for a gift. A parting gift is a gracious & wonderful way to say , so long, farewell, we had a wonderful time, and let’s do it again soon!

Pastel_Solid_Paper_with_Flowers_005 A Gift Wrapped Life

I highly recommend a visit with Sande at A Gift Wrapped Life for this! She is a master in the art of giving personalized attention to gifts that will surely be remembered.

Linen_Wraps_blog_004A Gift Wrapped Life

While visiting A Gift Wrapped Life, I would love for you to be sure to stop by her blog where Sande beautifully demonstrates graciousness & hospitality on a regular basis. Plus she's just really nice!

AGWL_logo_packaging_002A Gift Wrapped Life

Parting is something else all together. A toast to good times, a hug farewell, a kiss with feeling...Embrace your guest because you want them to go or because you don’t want them to go. But do embrace.

toast glasses

One last thought. How do you know if you’ve given the best care...too little can leave them wondering whether or not they should have bothered coming. To much can leave us wondering when they are finally going to leave.

armoire If they show no signs of leaving anytime soon, here are some tips from the MR.
1.Flip the breaker switch.
2.Let Gracie lick the dishes clean.
3.Set rattraps in conspicuous corners.
4.Feign death.

Looking forward to having you!


Juju from Tales of Whimsy said...

I absolutely <3 the truck picture!

Mindy Lockard Etiquette said...

Beautiful post, Lisa, Thank you for the mention! A welcome guest is a gracious guest. Your readership is always welcome on our site! Best regards, Mindy (

The Consummate Hostess said...

Lovely post, full of little ways to make your guests feel at home!

Millie said...

Just a beautiful post sweet Lisa. Our new guest room is ready, it's just a shame the guest bathroom still resembles a war-time bomb crater! I love the Mr's. tips for removing guests who's temporary Visa's expired. MOTH would add #5 to the list, a big stick of dynamite!
Millie ^_^

Alicia said...

Gracious post Lisa. Mrs Porter is rivalling the etiquette of Ms. Porter's.

Jo said...

I love to make our friends and family feel welcome when they visit. I think it's just as much fun for me as it is for them. Thanks for the lovely photos and ideas!


Anne Marie said...


A lot of thought went into this post, as usual, but I was practically yelling "Halleluiah!"

through the whole thing -
more people need to really respect and honor their guests within their home, if even for the afternoon for tea.....

I am SURE this is a way to a peaceful heart....being selfless.
p.s. when is this comment thing going to get spell check?

Maria Killam said...

Such a stunning post! Wow, something to save for the nest time one has guests! Your blog is so beautiful!

Renae said...

Miss Lisa!

I just love this have a fabulous way with words and getting a sweet point across! You can come see me anytime and my guest room is warm and welcoming. You can snuggle down and enjoy!

Oh and those sunflowers on your 'right' side are perfect for me..I adore them.


manon 21 said...

merci de ta visite lise.
j'aime beaucoup me balader sur ton blog.



Francine Gardner said...

Just discovered your blog via Vicky Archer's French Essence blog. Your images are so fresh and beautiful, and it is such a treat waking up and reading such poetic words. I, also, while my children were younger went on daily hikes in our Maine woods, gathering moss to create perfect moss spheres. they remind me all winter of more beautiful summers to come

A Gift Wrapped Life said...

Thanks Lisa for including me in this gracious post! You have a way of making every reader feel like a guest just by visiting your that's a "gift"!
Merci ~ XO

L.P.-G. said...

You definitely write about the things I only wish that I would have thought of first, but I don't have the same panache that you have with pictures, etc. However, we do share a name!! Fondly,
Lisa Porter-Grenn

Struggler said...

What a lovely post, and I like your words of caution about providing too much hospitality!

tamara said...

Hi Lisa - just stopped by and saw this beautiful post - the photographs are exquisite! Like minds think alike, and I am dedicating a month post (August) to hosting weekend guests. You offer so many helpful tips....I slept in my guest bedroom this winter to think more carefully about this room that often is not used. Thank you for your inspirations! best, tamara

Anne Lubner Designs said...

Hi Lisa, I found this post via Tamara's blog. Loved your beautiful photographs and great advice on how to be a good hostess (not to mention your tongue in cheek tips on how not to be too good a hostess!)

chateaudelille said...

Oh my, this post is soooo BEAUTIFUL, I just want to shout it out to tell the whole world.Im coming back to read over again slooowly and enjoy it to the max!Fiona

b said...

I loved the backyard guest...when it rains it must be time to go home. Actually I would love to be a backyard guest. It would be so much fun.


Carolyn said...

Love your blog and love this post! Especially the truck.. how romantic!!