So you finally have your own place and you’re ready to show it off to your friends and family by hosting an event. Sounds easy, right? Wrong.
While it can be a blast being the entertainer, being a host can also be quite stressful, especially if you’re unprepared for company. (It’s one thing to have ice and munchies on hand, it’s another thing to pull off the gracious “I have myself together” charm.)
If you find yourself wanting to host but lacking luster, try these easy prep tricks to make yourself look like a natural; you’re bound to impress.
*Some of these tips may sound ridiculous to you, and that’s okay. If it’s not your cup of tea, don’t do it. The best way to impress is to be yourself, and while these pointers may help with a homemaker guise, do what makes you comfortable.*
Clean the Bathroom
For some reason or another, a bathroom is one of the rooms in your home that doesn’t get cleaned as much as it should. Before having guests over use bleach to freshen up the toilet bowl and sink, stock up toilet paper in a place they can find it, and wipe down the mirror and sink taps. Stash away any toiletries that have seen better days (toothbrush, comb, etc.), light a scented candle and don’t forget to put out a clean towel for them to dry their hands. No one likes a dirty bathroom.
Green is Good
Well most of us can agree that house plants are a great way to add a breath of fresh air to a home, having house herbs is a completely different story. Like house plants, their green colour represents balance and harmony, but what’s extra awesome about these guys is that you can use them in your cooking! Try growing your own in pots on a window sill, or if your green thumb doesn’t glow, buy some basil, parsley or coriander from the grocery store and put them in jars of water for the “I grew these myself” vibe. If you’re feeling crafty, try re-growing your veggie scraps instead of tossing them. Leeks, green onions, celery, bok choy and lettuce are just a few of the foods that will regrow if you put their stems in water. Your guests will be quite impressed by your fresh ingredients.
Couch pillows and throw blankets are usually used to keep warm and get cozy, but they also add aesthetics to a room. An easy way to make your home feel put together is to add these accents to your home. You can usually find cheap cushions in box stores, or customize your cushions with own favourite fabrics to make pillow slips for hosting occasions.
Fill a Fruit Bowl
There is something refreshing about having a bowl of fresh fruit in your home. Not only does it make a healthy statement, but the bright colours and various shapes can also be quite artsy. Fruit bowls come in so many different shapes, sizes and materials, find one that suites your kitchen or dining room, and fill it up! For a cheap but effective fill, buy a bag of lemons. Not only will their vibrant colour catch the eyes of your guests, but this key ingredient will make you look like a culinary master.
Jars, Jars and More Jars
An easy way to spruce up your kitchen is to put things in jars. Sounds odd, but it's true! Storing dry beans, rice, pasta, spices, and even teas in glass jars has become quite trendy over the last four or five years, but it’s no new phenomenon. In fact, Jarden Home Brand’s has been selling Ball Mason jars for 130 years, but their most success year for sales was 2013. This is likely because more and more people are realizing the rustic, D.I.Y. charm these jars add to a kitchen. *Bonus, jarring things frees your cupboard from plastic bags and cardboard boxes.*
Mineral Water on Hand
While you may be fine with drinking water out of your kitchen tap, your guests could be filter fanatics. If you want to ‘wow’ them but can’t be bothered having a full time filter for your faucet, simply keep a couple bottles of mineral water in the fridge. When you give them a glass of water opt for those without even mentioning it; no one wants to be a snobby guest asking for cleaner water, and besides, they’ll think you drink the fancy stuff all the time.
If you don’t want your guests to see that you opted for quantity over quality on the wine, then put it in a decanter before anyone arrives. Unless you’re an expert on wine you’re not going to taste the difference between the $25 bottle and the $14 bottle. Besides, decanters are classy!
Cook... and Clean
If you’re going to cook up a storm for your guests that’s great, but don’t forget to clean as you cook. Yes, it’s understandable that cooking requires pots and pans, but spoons and cutting boards can be cleaned quite quickly. If you finish cooking the meal before your guests arrive, transfer the food to the serving dishes and get the cookwear washed and away.
Nice Paper Napkins
It’s one thing to tear a piece of paper towel in half when it’s just you and your bestie sharing a bowl of chips on the couch, but it’s another thing to have decent napkins for your guests when serving food. Nice paper napkins will do wonders on a set table and your friends will appreciate having somewhere to wipe their mouths and hands.
Don't Stress Dessert
There are so many clever and delicious dessert ideas you can impress your guests with, so don’t torture yourself with attempting your first pie or souflé. Instead opt for chocolate covered fruit or berries with coconut cream - even rice pudding is quick and easy to make.
After a meal it’s always nice to offer your guests a warm beverage, but as mind blowing as it may be, it’s important to bear in mind that not everyone likes caffeine, or even coffee for that matter. Be sure to have a variety of teas including caffeine free options available for your guests, and for festive occasions, apple cider is a great go-to.