Bonus column: Martha Stewart

The Detroit News

If your home makes a good summer getaway (and sometimes that just means having a spare room), this is high season for long, relaxing weekends — and lots of houseguests.  Up your hostess game with these small acts of thoughtfulness, and your friends may never leave.


Take these steps to help make your guests feel at home and make their trip more enjoyable:

— Leave out an extra set of keys so friends can come and go freely.

— Guests will find a map of the area useful; you’ll enjoy it as year-round art.

— If you’re handing over your home to friends, slip menus, Wi-Fi info and tips for using the remotes and the grill into binders.


The smallest touches — a phone charger, extra towels — will make your spare rooms feel like a luxury hotel.

1. KEEP THEM HYDRATED. Fill a carafe with water so guests don’t have to trek to the kitchen if they’re feeling parched.

2. ALLOW FOR TUNES. Add a clock with high-quality speakers and a USB port for their phones.

3. OFFER RELAXING READS. Stock a nightstand with magazines, some buzzy books and a good light.

4. HAVE EXTRA BEDDING. Store blankets and synthetic down pillows (for friends with allergies) in a closet.

5. PILE UP TOWELS. Have enough sets for everyone, then stack them up.

6. SET OUT SLIPPERS. Prevent chilly feet (and upgrade bath time) with a cozy, inexpensive pair.

7. PROVIDE A ROOMY ROBE. Provide a cotton one that’s unisex, washes easily with sheets and looks great both at the breakfast table and poolside.


To set friends up for a day in the sun, put a smartly stocked kit right by the door and let them help themselves.

1. PLAY STATION. This canvas bucket is sturdy enough to stand on its own and roomy enough for flip-flops, sunblock and more.

2. SUMMER SANDALS Have an assortment to slip on if your home is a shoe-free zone, or to wear from surf to turf all weekend.

3. ECO DRINKS. There’s no need to buy bottled water by the case when friends can fill these up each day. Even better, they’re BPA-free and keep beverages cold for 24 hours (or hot for 12).

4. EMERGENCY SPF. Somebody is bound to forget sun protection, so save the day with an all-natural sunblock.

5. BUG ZAPPERS.  Guarantee that no one gets eaten alive during cocktail or grilling hour.

6. MULTITASKING TOTE. This one holds everything for a day out. Bonus if you want to let them keep it to carry laundry home.


Anticipate their needs, too, and Mom and Dad will be forever grateful.

Screen time isn’t the only way to keep children busy and quiet on a rainy afternoon or an early Sunday morning. Fill a box with toys, books and art supplies to entertain them for hours (or at least 20 minutes while their parents take a nap).


Buy jumbo bottles of shampoo, conditioner and body wash, and decant them into labeled vessels. No one will have to balance their tiny toiletries in the soap dish again!


HYDRATED: Canvas bedside carafe and tumbler, $18, canvas TUNES: Sound Rise alarm clock, in Wood + Taupe, $79, READS: Barbara Barry Swing table lamp, $630, circa EXTRA BEDDING: Company Store Comfort Wash solid linen sheets, in Creamsicle, from $59,

Questions may be sent by email to: Please include your name, address and daytime telephone number. Questions of general interest will be answered in this column; Martha Stewart regrets that unpublished letters cannot be answered individually. For more information on the topics covered in the Ask Martha column, visit

Set guests up for a comfortable night: a glass of water, a radio, something fun to read and extra bedding.