9 little things houseguests always notice

Keep these in mind before your guests arrive.

Having guests over shouldn’t be stressful, but in an age where pictures of perfect homes are constantly flooding our feeds on Instagram, Pinterest and TikTok, it’s easy to feel like your house just doesn’t quite measure up. 

Family and true friends will never judge the state of your home, but if you want to put your best foot forward, here are nine areas of your home to prioritise before guests arrive. And if you’re feeling energised after these items are ticked off your to-do list, try fake-cleaning your house in 15-minutes, or cleaning your entire home in less than an hour.

Scented candle on console in home entrance
Fresh flowers or a scented candle can make your home smell amazing. (Credit: Photography: Simon Whitbread)

1. Smell

People often become immune to the smell of their own home, but it’s the first thing your guests will notice. Before they arrive make your home smell fresh and clean by opening up the windows and allowing fresh air to circulate, empty rubbish bins, light some candles, run an air purifier (if you have one) or boil some water with orange or lemon peels.

2. Entryway

The first place your guests will land is the entryway. Entryways are prone to clutter, becoming a dumping ground for shoes, bags, jackets and papers from the letterbox. Do a clean sweep of the area before your guests arrive to ensure they feel welcomed and calm, rather than overwhelmed and stressed by a chaotic entrance.

Hamptons style home entryway with blue front door
(Credit: Photo: Simon Whitbread / Styling: Corina Koch)

3. Kitchen

When family and friends come over, everyone tends to congregate in the kitchen – so make sure it’s clean! Our kitchen cleaning checklist will ensure everything is in order before your guests arrive. At a minimum, put away clutter, wipe down the counters and ensure dishes are washed and stored away.

4. Bathroom

A clean bathroom is a must when expecting house guests. Wipe down the sink, vanity, and bathroom mirror. Clean and disinfect the toilet. Ensure the shower screen is free from grime and don’t forget to put in a fresh hand towel. Top up the hand soap, make sure there are extra toilet rolls within easy reach and make sure there’s air freshener available too.

Coastal style bathroom with floating timber vanity
Always remember to replace the hand towel in the bathroom before guests arrive. (Credit: Photography: The Palm Co | Design: Cote Interiors)

5. Chaotic fridge or pantry

There are two types of hosts: those that wait hand and foot on their guests, and those who expect guests to treat the house as their own, welcome to take whatever they want from the fridge or pantry. If you fall into the latter camp, do your best to keep the fridge and pantry organised so snacks and drinks can be found quickly. 

6. Coffee cups

One thing you’re guaranteed to offer your guests is a drink. Your guests will handle their cup fairly closely, so things like coffee or tea stains in the mug, fibres from a lint-y tea towel on a glass or even lipstick marks that the dishwasher just didn’t quite tackle, will be noticed. Same goes for cutlery and crockery if you’re hosting a dinner party. Somewhere convenient to set their cup down while seated in the living room is also something your guests will appreciate.

Coastal style dining nook with blue mug and bowl on the table
(Credit: Photographer: Mindi Cooke | Styling: Kylie Jackes)

7. Dust and pet dander

Even if your home looks fairly clean, if there’s dust and pet hair around, guests with sensitive noses will notice (and their sneezes will be a dead giveaway). Before guests arrive, dust all hard surfaces with a soapy microfibre cloth, pack away any pet bedding, de-fur lounges, vacuum floors and carpets thoroughly and consider spraying soft furnishings with Bosistos Eucalyptus Dust-Mite Spray for extra protection (and a natural, clean scent).

8. Temperature

You might enjoy keeping your home an arctic level of cool by blasting the air conditioner all summer long, but your guests, wearing season-appropriate shorts and t-shirts might feel freezing within minutes of their arrival. Always check in with your guests and make sure they’re feeling just right. If the weather is cold, offer to turn up the thermostat a few degrees, or keep a set of throw blankets on hand that guests can reach for themselves. 

Dog sitting in front of a fireplace in a modern country style home
(Credit: Photography: Marnie Hawson)

9. Too-perfect-everything

There’s a fine line between taking pride in a clean, organised home and having a home that’s so picture perfect that it actually fills your guests with fear – fear of mucking everything up. Don’t be so hard on yourself to make every nook and cranny immaculate, and if your house is less than perfect, guess what? It’ll probably make your guests feel more comfortable about their own less-than-perfect home!

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