Having house guests is stressful only if you don’t prepare for the visit in advance. Once you’re done buying extra food (factoring in their likes, dislikes and allergies), and planning meals and potential activities, you need to turn your attention to the room they will be staying in. Start by tidying up. Gather up the stray items that invariably collect in the little-used guest room, and put them back where they belong. Clear out the wastepaper basket, open the windows and let the room get a good airing. Next, since this is a dusty country, give everything in the room a wipe down with a clean cloth. Remember to wipe clean the light bulbs too. That done, there are four basic things to do, related to where your guests will sleep, wash and bathe, relax and dress. Check these off your list and the visit will go smoother than a Mysore silk saree. Make up the bed with fragrant, freshly laundered sheets and pillow cases. Put a duvet on the bed and keep extra blankets somewhere handy.
Put flowers next to the bed. This is not compulsory, but immediately lightens and brightens the room. Try and use a vase that won’t break easily; the last thing you want to do is embarass your guests. Clear some space in the cupboard for them to keep their clothes. In case that’s not possible, wheel in a simple wardrobe rack where they can hang up their things. You can also consider putting in some hooks on the wall for coats and accessories.
Even if they’re close friends or relatives, your guests will need some time and space to themselves. So give them a chair or two (depending on the space) to lounge in, preferably with a reading light attached. Next, turn your attention to the bathroom. Scrub the sink, mirror, toilet and shower till they shine. Refill the hand soap and shampoo, set out fresh rolls of toilet paper and put in a stack of face, hand and bath towels. If you still have some time left over, try putting in a few extras, like toiletries and a scented candle on a tray. There’s only snag: your guests may never want to leave.