We’ve had a year off from having people in our homes and with the end of restrictions in sight, it’s time to dust off those hosting skills. It seems many people in the UK are preparing to have friends and family staying over again soon, with ‘when are overnight stays allowed’ gaining 5400 searches in April and ‘when can I stay overnight with family’ receiving 12,100 searches in April.
For more insight, we commissioned a survey of 2,000 national respondents to learn how Brits prepare and feel about hosting guests overnight in their homes. From finding out how many have a dedicated spare room for guests or a comfortable sofa bed to learning the shocking figures of how many of us clean our bedding or change up the living room for friends and family. We take a deep dive into the nation’s hosting habits.
We’ve also spoken to our creative director, Kelly Collins, to offer top tips on preparing your home for guests.
Are Brits ready to have guests back in their homes?
So, are Brits really ready to have guests back in their homes? According to our data, 39% of Brits plan to have guests stay the night in their home once lockdown restrictions ease.
However, during the lockdowns, it seems some people have realised they actually prefer their space to be guest-free with 12% claiming they’ll never have guests stay round again.
Interestingly, we discovered it’s the 25-34 age group who are the most excited to have people over, with 30% already having guests booked in. Whereas, people aged 55 and over are the most cautious with 32% of them not planning on welcoming guests for the rest of the year.
How long will we let guests stay for?
Of those who are ready to have guests back again, our research revealed that they would be allowed to stay for an average of 3.11 nights in a row. 24% of the nation have said that they’ll allow guests to stay for 2 nights and only 17% will have guests stay for 5 nights or more.
Who is allowed to stay?
Pre-pandemic, almost half (51%) of Brits allowed guests to bring their children and/or pets with them to stay. Many people may be allowing their guests’ furry friends into their homes but 10% of respondents claimed that the worst thing about hosting was cleaning up their guest’s pet hair.
So how long do we take to prepare our home for guests?
Only 17% spent 0-1 hours preparing their home while 40% took 2-3 hours and 22% spent 4-6 hours getting ready.
Surprisingly, 21% claimed to spend 7 hours or more preparing their homes for guests - these people clearly love going the extra mile for their friends and family!
Of those who have had guests to stay the night:
It’s not all about sprucing-up your home when preparing guests to stay, we also learned that on average, hosts spend £31.46 on items to get the home ready such as bedding, food, and entertainment.
21% of respondents don’t spend any money at all on getting their house ready for overnight guests, whereas 32% spend between £1-£25. Just under a quarter (24%) spend £26-£50 and 22% spend £51 or more to prepare for guests.
Do we expect guests to contribute to the household?
While it may feel awkward, 26% ask their guests to contribute money to the household during their stay to help chip in for food or drinks. 12% have always done this while 14% only ask if the guests will be staying for a long period of time.
A huge 74%, however, said that they would never ask for money from their guests during their stay. Interestingly, we also learned that men are more likely to ask their guests to contribute to the financial cost of their stay.
We all have our different ways when it comes to what we offer our guests. From food and alcohol to board games, plugs and towels. We found out what the most common items being supplied for overnight stays were.Here’s what Brits offer their guests:
- Bedside lamp (43%)
- My own towels (34%)
- Guest-only towels and bedding (33%)
- Toiletries (30%)
- Guest-only towels (28%)
- My own bedding (27%)
- Guest-only bedding (26%)
- Storage (20%)
- Plugs (18%)
- House key (16%)
- Toothbrush (11%)
And providing a toothbrush may be a good idea, as we found that...
Just under a quarter (21%) of Brits would use their host’s toothbrush if they had forgotten their own during an overnight stay. With men more likely to use their host’s toothbrush (29%). 9% came forward and said they would at least ask before using while 10% admitted they would tell them after they’ve used the toothbrush and 5% said they would use it not tell them at all.
Before the pandemic, one-third of Brits revealed they did a deep clean of the house before any guests arrived and 18% said they would only deep clean for some of their guests. 28% said they wouldn’t deep clean no matter who the guest may be.
But the cleaning doesn’t stop once the guests have arrived:
It turns out that one-quarter of respondents expect guests to help clean up before leaving while 75% don’t expect it to happen at all.
Thankfully, we learned that 72% of hosts clean the guest bedding after people have stayed over.
Just 7% only clean if the sheets look dirty, 17% would clean the bedding if guests stayed for more than 1 night and 2% said they never clean the bedding after a guest.
While you may not want to make your guests clean before they go, it’s probably a good idea to suggest they do a once over and check they’ve not left anything behind...
This is because our study found that 15% of overnight guests end up leaving dirty underwear. In fact, our research showed that men actually have had more guests (17%) leave dirty underwear after their stay, than women.
One of the most difficult decisions when it comes to hosting is deciding where everyone sleeps, especially if you’re planning on having several people stay round at once.
Of those who have had guests to stay the night 67% had guests stay in the spare room.
Other sleeping arrangements include:
Sofa bed (21%)
Blow up bed (15%)
Give up my own bed (11%)
As sofa beds are one our most requested products and a very popular sleeping arrangement choice, due to their versatility and ease, we learned that:
- Two-fifths (40%) of Brits own a sofa bed
- 23% have slept on their sofa bed and find it comfortable
- 10% have slept on their sofa bed and find it uncomfortable
- While 7% have never slept on their sofa bed
Typically, sofa beds have a reputation of being bulky and uncomfortable, but that doesn’t have to be the case if you know how to dress your sofa bed like a pro. From choosing mellow colours and plush pillows to cosy duvet and squishy throws, your only problem will be getting guests to leave!
While most people are excited and enjoy having their families come together and stay again, hosting isn’t all smooth sailing and some people are happy to keep their distance.
Of those who have had guests to stay the night and have a partner/spouse, 35% sometimes enjoy this, 20% always enjoy having their partner’s family to stay and 19% don’t enjoy hosting their partner’s family (eek).
What’s the worst thing about hosting?Women think that the worst thing about having guests is the cleaning, then the cooking. Whereas, men think the worst thing about having guests is cooking for everyone, then cleaning.
Here’s the eight worst things about hosting:
- Cooking for everyone (35%)
- Cleaning (34%)
- Having to entertain (28%)
- There is nothing bad about hosting guests (28%)
- Pretending to like guests I don’t like (13%)
- Laughing at unfunny jokes (12%)
- Cleaning up their pet's hair afterwards (10%)
- The expense (16%)
How to get your home guest-ready?
If you’re planning on being a social butterfly and having as many people over to stay as often as possible, Kelly Collins, our head of creative (and a trained interior designer), has offered advice on how best to prepare your home for guests.
So, whether you have a spare room or are looking to make an at-home office a guest-haven, we have the best tips to help you on your way.
What are the essential fittings for a guest room?
A few non-negotiable items are somewhere to sleep, some form of storage for belongings, a mirror, plugs and lighting.
Luggage racks are so useful as you can fold them away. Guest bedrooms are usually quite small so small and movable storage solutions are a good way to go.
Make sure you have plenty of seating for guests, such as stools for perching on, and if you have a modular sofa perhaps consider adding in an additional piece that you can store away later, bean bags are also great for guests with children (especially with children).
A nice touch is to offer a little box of essentials. Items like toothbrushes, toothpaste, shower caps and hairbands are good and things that guests can often forget!
How to ensure your guest room suits a variety of tastes?
Keep the colours neutral to help suit a broad range of tastes, opt for calling tones.
Guest rooms often have fewer things in them which can make them look a bit empty and uninviting; try choosing slightly darker neutrals for the walls, this will make the room feel cosier. Taupe is a good option.
Adding a mixture of textures will make the space feel a little more interesting - throws and rugs - rather than adding too many bold colours and patterns.
Pick fabrics that aren’t irritating, cotton or silk is best when it comes to bedding
Give your guest options when it comes to lighting, to help suit different needs. So, have a ceiling light and a small bedside lamp, for if your guest would like to read.
How can you make a living room or home office feel like a guest room when converting it for someone’s stay?
I’m sure many will have reintroduced folding screens and dividers into their homes within the last year and what’s great is they’re really handy for when guests come to stay too!. They can help to offer more privacy if you’re setting your guest up in the living room, or home office.
Smart storage solutions where you can hide away everyday belongings are always useful. If you keep your guest bedding in a chest usually, why not fill the chest up with your office bits whilst the bedding is in use.
Add soft furnishings to make the room feel more homely and comforting, especially if it’s in a home office.
Fresh flowers always brighten up a room and a nice aroma.
Remember to keep windows open to air any rooms out prior to people visiting!
Make your space as inviting as possible for guests with Swyft’s Model 04 sofa beds. Stylish, modern and, most importantly, comfortable, these sofa beds have Over 300 pocket springs for comfort and can be assembled in just 5 minutes.