How to make your home welcoming for guests, surprise it isn’t all just about cleaning! There’s much more to a welcoming home than clean floors and toilets!
Why Should We Be Hospitable?
Well, believe it or not, we all need community. Even those of us that are introverts need others at some level. We all have that basic desire to love and care for others, and to be loved and cared for by others in return. Learning to be hospitable means learning to love and care for others by meeting their physical needs along with their emotional needs.
Building relationships is one of the most rewarding aspects of hospitality. When you create an environment where people feel welcome, accepted, and comfortable you are creating a place for relationships to grow and thrive. Right now I believe we need community and friendship more than ever!
Hospitality Fights Lonliness
Never waste your time in loneliness. I think in our digital “connected” age people are actually lonelier than ever! Commenting on a stranger’s Instagram post or pressing that like button on YouTube is no substitute for meaningful deep relationships. You have the power to fight loneliness by inviting real-life people into your real-life space!
Embrace the Vulnerablity
Yes, you will feel vulnerable when you ask people into your home. They will see how you live, they will see that maybe your home isn’t perfect, maybe your bathrooms are a little funky and your couch has holes in it. Guess what? Those are some of the things that may make them feel more comfortable around you. Allowing your imperfections to show will allow them to also let their guard down and build trust.
Bible Verses on Hospitality
The Bible talks frequently about showing hospitality. I try to look at it as a ministry of investing in others. May your home be a place for people to come and be built up and blessed. May they leave with a full cup, ready to share with others.
- Hebrews 13:2- Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.
- 1 Peter 4:9- Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
- Romans 12:13- Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
- Titus 1:8- But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;
- Romans 16:2- That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer (helper) of many, and of myself also.
Attitude is Everything with Hospitality
Have you ever been to someone’s house that was perfect? I mean, neat and tidy, immaculately clean and perfectly styled? Perhaps you have. Maybe you felt welcome in that environment, maybe you didn’t. The difference lies in the attitude of the host. A host or hostess can have a beautiful home and make you feel welcome by allowing you to come in and make yourself comfortable. Or they can make you feel like an intruder by giving your children the side-eye and telling everyone to remove their shoes.
I love a clean home as much as the next person. However, I never want my rug or my furniture to be more important than people. So, push aside any fears you have of germs and dirt being tracked in and welcome others into your home with a smile. Most stains and such if treated right after people leave won’t cause any permanent harm. If the thought of stains on your rug or furniture really bothers you, just keep that thought in the back of your mind!
One more note on attitude. We aren’t called to be hospitable to only people we like or enjoy being around. There are times when we need to welcome people in that have different views than us, different standards, or maybe they are just super annoying! Put all of your emotions aside and welcome them into your home and do your best to show them hospitality. That leaves you without blame!
How to Create a Welcoming Home on a Budget
Our homes need not be perfect in any way to show hospitality. However, you do want it to be cozy and inviting. Here are some simple things that you can do to make your home welcoming and inviting even if you are on a tight budget!
Meet People’s Basic Needs
Always provide something to drink. Even if someone is just stopping in for a few minutes, offer them a glass of water. I have noticed that even my little ones will offer a glass of water to their grandparents when they stop by. I observed my three-year-old ask my mom if she needed a drink, he then pushed a stool up to the cabinet, got out a cup filled it with water, and presented it to my mom. He has learned the first step in hospitality…just by observing!
Keep snacks and simple food on hand at all times. It is quick and easy to throw some grapes, cheese, and crackers on a tray and present it to your guests.
If you are planning a meal and inviting people over, keep it simple. Make a meal that you know will turn out. I try to never make something for the first time when we are having guests. It just adds too much stress and it’s just not worth it.
The old-fashioned idea of setting an extra place at the table every night is the sweetest thought to me! We don’t have an extra setting at the table every night, but I always cook enough food that I could feed two or three extra people!
A clean bathroom
Not fun to talk about, but a necessity. Try to keep your bathrooms to a standard that you wouldn’t be humiliated if someone dropped in! (Preaching to myself here)
Basic Comforts of the Five Senses
Creating a welcoming space
When I think about making a space feel welcoming, I think of touching the five senses. Think about a space that you really enjoy. It likely looks good, smells good, the temperature is just right, it feels comfortable and even the sounds are inviting.
So with the five senses, how can you make your home welcoming even if you are on a budget? Here are a few ideas:
A welcoming or inviting place looks like it has been well cared for right? This starts at the front door, maybe there is a welcome mat and a few flowers. The porch or walkway is swept. As you step inside, things are personal and tidy. This doesn’t mean the home is pristine…that can often have the opposite effect. But the home should feel like there was some effort made to prepare for the guest.
I have loads of DIY budget projects here on the blog. Many of these can make your home feel inviting and welcoming and won’t cost you loads of money. Sprucing things up can be as simple as putting a vase of wildflowers on the table.
Smell is one of those senses that can actually override what you see. A smell can make or break a space can’t it? It doesn’t matter how lovely a room or even a landscape is, if there is the smell of rotting food or a skunk, nothing else matters. All you can think about is the awful smell!
Make an effort to have your home smell good. When you have babies, this means taking out the trash regularly so that your home doesn’t smell of dirty diapers. How about keeping your pantry cleaned out so there aren’t potatoes rotting in the bottom?
Once the sources of nasty smell are gone, either bake some fresh cookies or light a candle. Anything to make it a little extra welcoming. Smell is a powerful sense, use this to make your home inviting!
A side note on smell. Make an effort to have at least one bathroom that is really clean. One that you can direct your guests to. If you have little boys this may take some effort to keep the bathroom smelling fresh. A clean fresh bathroom goes a long way in making a guest feel welcome and comfortable.
Welcoming your guest with a nice glass of water or lemonade in the summer, or hot tea or coffee when it’s cooler shows that you truly care about the comfort of your guest. How about offering one of those fresh baked cookies that smell so good?
If your guests have traveled this is so important. Never allow someone to sit at your home and be hungry or thirsty. Meet their basic needs and make them feel welcome.
This one might seem like an afterthought but too much noise can make a home feel extremely chaotic. Turn off the t.v. for goodness sake! I have been to many homes where the people just leave the t.v. on nonstop. It is such a noisy distraction and truly takes away from good conversation and connecting with others.
Teach your children to be respectful when others are around. While it is nice to have children that interact with adults, you don’t want them to dominate the conversation. This takes time to train them to find the balance, and it’s ok to gently remind them or give them a little reminding look if they are becoming a little much for your guests.
Background noise can be very difficult for people who are becoming hard of hearing. Children chattering, a t.v. going or even some background music can make it difficult for older people to hear. So use your judgment about whether some soft background music is a good idea or not.
touch or feeling
When appropriate welcome your guests with a hug. Otherwise, a little pat on the shoulder and leading them to a comfortable place to sit will do just fine! Make sure the clutter is cleared off the chairs and that your furniture is comfortable. We had some friends that had the most dilapidated couches. You literally sank to the floor when you sat on them. I always wanted to avoid sitting there.
If you find that your furniture is in a bad way, consider checking Marketplace or craigslist for something better. You can usually find used furniture for very cheap.
Check the thermostat, make sure it isn’t too hot or too cold in the house. We keep our house on the cooler side in the winter, when we have guests we try to throw on an extra log and make sure they are comfortable. If nothing else, keep some throw blankets handy.
Do you Need Help Getting Your Home in Order? Check out my planners!
How to Practice Hospitality
Now that you have decided that you want to be more hospitable, let’s put it to practice! The best way to do this is to set a time. We had some friends that would invite another family over on Friday evenings. They made it easy on themselves by serving homemade pizza. This wasn’t about wowing the guests with gourmet food, it was about opening their home and getting to know other people. They would have dinner and play games. They didn’t just invite close friends over either, they would invite other families that they didn’t know very well.
Personally, I have always been drawn to hospitality. I think it may be one of my spiritual gifts. Having people over has always felt natural to me. However, I used to stress about everything being perfect. As our family grew and once we started having a weekly Bible study which later turned into our home church, I had to let go of perfection. It became simply impossible to keep our home up to my standards of “perfection”.
Let Go of Standards of Perfection and Size for Hospitality
Relaxing my standards has been the best thing I could have done for hospitality. Making my family miserable while I fretted and cleaned was not only unfair, it was unnecessary. NO ONE cares! Truly, no one is coming here to see my clean or perfect house. They are coming here for fellowship.
We have had people here in the midst of remodeling projects, you know how that throws your entire home into a state of chaos. People are gracious and truly do overlook it!
We have also had way too many people in here for the size of our home. Once again, people are gracious, they aren’t here to be impressed.
Go for it!
So, set a day and start inviting people over. Maybe it’s once a month, maybe more, you decide. Then stick to it. Get out of your comfort zone and give yourself the space and time to make hospitality a part of your life. Your life will be richer for it, trust me!