Guest-Ready Guide: 5 Spots to Spruce Up Before the Doorbell Rings

We’ve all done it - the “mad dash” around the house just as guests are due to arrive, frantically wiping down surfaces, tossing random items in closets or out of sight, and straightening everything in our path to make our homes as presentable as possible by the time the doorbell rings. Not only is it so totally stressful – it's so totally unnecessary!  

While we know from experience there really is no such thing as “effortless” entertaining, we're big believers that it can be much easier with just a little extra effort. One of the ways to make this possible is by tapping into a few tricks to maintain a few key spaces in the home that guests typically frequent so that right before they arrive, minimal effort can ensure they’re ready – even for an impromptu guest! 

Let’s review a few tips to getting the five most frequented rooms guests-ready, starting by keeping them styled to your liking, simple steps to take right before guests arrive, and some fun ideas for sprucing up a little extra for special occasions. 

5 Spots to Spruce Up for a Warm Welcome 

When entertaining, spacial planning – or at least consideration – is important. In addition to the main entertaining spaces to prepare, there are a few other places in your home that are frequented by guests, so it’s important to ensure that they’re presentable and ready.

You’ll probably find these spaces are among those that you and your family spend the most time in as well, so not only will you guests benefit from the tips shared here, but you will enjoy them even more during your everyday life!

For casual entertaining, you can keep things simple, and for special occasions like holidays or larger parties, you can approach the party prep with a little more thought and even add some special touches to enhance your party décor.  

Here are 5 places most frequented by guests when entertaining: 

  1. Front Porch 
  2. Entryway or Foyer 
  3. Guest Bathroom 
  4. Kitchen 
  5. Living Room 

Front Porch 

Depending on the type of gathering, you may or may not receive guests on the front porch, but either way, the porch is quite literally the first space that guests see when they get to your home, so making sure it’s ready is important. After all, first impressions matter! To curate a beautiful and inviting porch, there are a few things you can do.  

 Decorate your front porch to your liking by: 

  • Adding a large planter {or two}: Consider low maintenance plants like big, bushy ferns, or perennial flowers to fill the vessels. 
  • Hanging a wreath on the front door: We love wreaths made of dried material like palmettos or grapevines. 
  • Placing flower boxes at the windows: We usually plant zinnias, hydrangeas, and tulips. 
  • Laying down a welcome mat at the door 

To ensure the front porch is always presentable, add these cleaning tasks to your regular schedule: 

  • Sweep the floor off – You may need to increase the frequency during pollen season if your area is anything like our hometown, Tallahassee, in the Spring – covered in a yellow blanket of pollen!  
  • Water any florals or plants – This will keep them lively and healthy.  
  • Clean outdoor furniture - A simple hose-down can go a long way! 

Before guests arrive, complete a few last-minute tasks: 

  • Blow off or quickly sweep any leaves or outdoor debris off walkway and porch. 
  • Turning on porch lights if it’s an evening celebration. 
  • If are candles on the porch, light them! 

For special occasions, such as birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, or engagement showers, you can elevate the look by bringing some of the coordinating decorative elements outside. 

Stick fun décor pieces in your potted plants, create a pretty glow by adding some statement lanterns, swap out your everyday wreath for a more festive option {like the Big Wooden Wreaths from our sister brand, Happy Everything! By Laura Johnson and the complementary interchangeable Big Attachments that attach to the top seasonally and for special occasions!}, or even just a simple bunch of balloons will do the trick!  

Entryway / Foyer 

After the front porch, the foyer or entryway is the second place that guests see when arriving at your home. This area may be where you receive guests and formally welcome them into your home. As such, creating a welcoming atmosphere that immediately reflects your individual style and taste is important as it sets the tone! 

These simple additions to the area can instantly elevate the space and keep it decorated to your liking:  

  • Add a piece of functional furniture – A console table or a sideboard {if you need more storage} is a great addition to the space. 
  • Hang art – Choose a piece or two that really resonates with you...or a mirror to allow a last look before you head out the door! 
  • Keep a trinket tray nearby to easily {and stylishly} stow keys and pocket change – For everyday use, we usually opt to set out a Signature White Skinny Ruffle Tray or a Fundamental Wood 9in Ruffle Bowl as a stylish catch-all. For seasonal use, we love setting out an Oyster Trinket Bowl in the Summer, an orange tray or a yellow trinket bowl in the Spring, a Feathered Turkey Platter in the Autumn, and a Christmas in the Village Tray during the holiday season.  
  • Add a floral arrangement – We love changing out arrangements weekly in our vases. 
  • Set out a potted houseplant – Orchids are typically our go-to houseplant due to their beauty and low maintenance. 
  • Add lighting – A small lamp can brighten up the space in style.  
  • Ensure an entryway mat is down – A welcome mat always adds an extra-special touch. 
  • Display family photos – Coordinate matching or complementary picture frames of your favorite family photos to add a personal touch to the welcoming area.  

To keep the entryway/foyer area guest-ready:  

  • Sweep the area – If guests are required to take their shoes off upon entering your home, it’s especially important that the floor is clean. It also helps to ensure that the space is free of dog hair, especially if you’re a dog-loving family like we are! 
  • Dust off any entryway furniture – A simple dusting instantly improves the look of the space.  
  • Ensure a coat rack/hanger is in close proximity – This way, jackets can be hung up out of the way easily and kept out of sight. 
  • Enures shoes are out of sight – A nearby closet is the perfect area to stow shoes.  

 Before guests arrive, double-check the following: 

  • A seasonally appropriate candle is lit to add ambiance - We love NEST New York candles, which can enhance the visit with a multi-sensory experience. 
  • Lights are turned on or off as desired. 

This area is also a very easy spot to customize for the season or for special occasions. When an event, such as a holiday, comes around, you can swap out an everyday trinket tray for a seasonal trinket tray, you can add a garland around the doorframe, and you can swap out everyday candles to more festive candles, such as our favorite Jingle Nog candles, to match the time of year.  

Guest Bathroom  

The guest bathroom is the go-to powder and washroom for guest use in your home. Bathrooms tend to be high-traffic areas, especially the one located closest to your most-used entertainment space, so take special care not to overlook this as a key entertaining space! 

Decorative elements in the bathroom can often serve practical purposes. For example, adding shelving or storage solutions can help keep the space organized and make it easier to find and access toiletries, all while adding style to the space -- the options are endless! To keep the bathroom decorated to your liking: 

  • Place a fragrance diffuser {We love Pura!} of your choice in the room. 
  • Use a tray as a toilet paper or paper towel holder. 
  • Add a plant to the window or counter – We love orchids or Maidenhair ferns in our bathrooms!  
  • Use a stylish trinket tray as a soap dish. 

Completing these tasks can help ensure that the guest-bathroom is always guest-ready:  

  • Ensuring a regular deep clean of any and all surfaces - We won't get into the nitty-gritty grimy details, so we'll defer to one of our favorite follows for cleaning tips, Go Clean Co, @gocleanco, and specifically her Bathroom posts!  
  • Filling up or replacing the soap dispenser – One of our favorite liquid soaps brands is NEST New York and Claus Porto is one of our favorite bar soaps! 
  • Empty the trash can – This should be done as needed.  

Before your guests arrive: 

  • Toilet paper is stocked {and that it’s in an easy-to-find location!} 
  • Adding a fresh hand towel - We love these everyday handle towels in our guest bathrooms: Iris Blue Sprout Trim Medium Hand Towel and Deco Gold Large Hand Towel. Plus, changing out hand towels to match the season is a fun and festive way to add a bit of holiday joy to the space. For holidays, try using one of these towels: 


Kitchens are sometimes referred to as the heart of the home – with good reason! It can be a perfect entertaining space for an intimate gathering during cocktail or appetizer hour {especially if your home is open concept}.

Whether your gathering is close to the kitchen or not, the chances that your guests naturally gather here, especially if you still have a bit of prep work to do and your friends tend to want to lend a helping hand, is high. As such, you always need to make sure it’s in tip-top shape when you entertain to make it as functional as possible and allow post-party cleanup to be a breeze.  

Decorate the kitchen to your liking and make it a haven for cooking and baking your best recipes yet by:  

  • Displaying your favorite platters on the wall or in open shelving – Displaying them within arm’s reach makes for easy access to them while hosting, too! 
  • Showcasing produce in stylish bowls - Our Signature White Ruffle Trifle Bowl or our Fundamental Wood 13in Ruffle Bowl lend themselves to ample stylish storage. 
  • Hanging your favorite hand towels - They can be displayed stylishly on the oven handle or towel holder next to the sink. 
  • Corral countertop items in canisters – Using canisters to store dry pasta, coffee pods, tea bags, or dry baking ingredients can add style to your countertop. 

Keeping these cleaning tasks on your weekly to-do list can help ensure the kitchen is always presentable:  

  • Wiping down kitchen counters 
  • Washing and drying dishes – Try to wash and dry a little bit at a time instead of letting them pile up in the sink.  
  • Sweeping the area 
  • Keep counters neat and tidy – As you use items, get in the habit of putting them away once you're done so the work doesn't pile up! 

Occasionally, check these tasks off your cleaning to-do list:   

  • Cleaning out your fridge – We recommend purging your fridge monthly.  
  • Organizing your kitchen and pantry – Doing this is especially important if guests will be in and out of those areas 

Before guests arrive, do these things to ensure the kitchen is presentable: 

  • Make sure there aren’t any dishes in the sink 
  • De-clutter countertops 
  • Neatly group prep work into piles that have clear next steps to make it quicker and easier while you’re guests are perched by the counter with you!  

If you’re hosting for a special occasion such as Christmas, for example, swap out your everyday kitchen accessories, cookware, bakeware, and serveware to match it!

We offer festive bakeware, such as our Red Stipe Ruffle Loaf Pan to bake up a fruit cake, a jolly Balsam and Berry Holly Ruffle Domed Butter Dish to keep butter chilled on the counter, a Vintage Santa Platter to display crudites, a Nativity Round Trivet to keep your counters protected from hot pots and pans, and {much} more.  

Living Room  

The living room is likely where your guests will gather before and after dinner, or during the party depending on the event you host. Because guests may spend the most time in this space, it’s important to double check a couple of things prior to guests arriving. Consider how clean the area is, the flow of the space, and the general ambiance.  

Curating your living space to be decorated at all times {even if just minimally!} can be accomplished through making the area personal and stylish with décor and accessories.  

In addition to the must-have functional decor like furniture, rugs, seating, throw blankets, shelving, accent pillows, and art, decorative accessories to adorn each of these is where your style and personality can shine through! Let's review a few: 

  • Displaying or hanging family photos in beautiful picture frames - We like to swap out select photos each season as an easy way to update the décor 
  • Placing books like our Celebrate Every Day book on the coffee table - For casual journaling {and aesthetic appeal!} 
  • Adding an orchid or other florals to side tables – We love Brookwood Designs arrangements in our homes!  
  • Choosing artisan lamps – These can add a pop of color to the area. 

Maintain a presentable living room by completing these tasks regularly: 

  • Sweeping the entire living space area 
  • Dusting furniture surfaces – Doing so can make furniture look new!  
  • Fluffing pillows and couch cushions – We recommend doing this bi-weekly or monthly to keep your seating area looking fresh and renewed.  
  • Keeping plants watered and florals fresh  

Before guests arrive, keep these in mind: 

  • Ensure there’s enough seating - If not, be sure to add extra chairs or places to sit. 
  • Burn a candle or spritz room spray – A pleasant aroma wafting through the living room can help create ambiance.  
  • Turn off or turn on lights / lamps for extra or less lighting – While you may need to add or alter special lighting for certain themes or functionality, we typically opt for dimming overhead lights and lighting lamps for a more cozy and intimate setting. 
  • Doing a final quick sweep of the floor. 

For extra special events, you can pull out all the stops by adding extraordinary décor fit for the occasion. For instance, for birthdays, consider adding a balloon arch, string light wall, or balloon bundles. For Christmas, deck the halls in your favorite Christmas décor to add extra merriment to the living room.  

Whether you’re hosting a casual gathering or pulling out all the stops for special occasions, maintaining your prime entertainment spaces allows you to take one task off your to-do list before your guests arrive.

Having your home guest-ready can be achievable with just minor effort into more minimalistic parties and {just a bit} of extra effort into more special occasions. Avoid the mad dash and eliminate party prepping stress by maintaining these spots in your home!  

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