6 Ways to Impress Last-Minute House Guests

You bought your first house (congratulations!) and now that you have space, your friends and family are eager to come visit. Sometimes without a lot of advanced noticed. Or any.

So how do you quickly go from post-college grunge to Pottery Barn chic? 

1. Replace the dishtowels. 

The dishtowels get dirty pretty quickly, but you don't always notice it. Replacing them right before you have a guest makes your kitchen look cleaner and makes you look prepared. Bonus: keep some decorative dishtowels around for just for when you have house guests. When people comment on it you can just say "Oh, this old thing? No, that's our normal dishtowel. We're just extra careful to be neat in the kitchen."

2. Get rid of your piles.

It happens to everyone. Junk mail piles up on the counter because it has your partner's name on it and hey, they might really need that expired Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupon. Or you forgot to cancel your paper statements from your bank even though you do all your banking online. There's no shame in your piles. But when an unexpected house guest is coming you need to get rid of them. Fast. Recycle all the junk mail and old magazines and make a separate pile for personal documents. If you have a shredded take care of those right away. If not, most banks or credit union have a "shred day" where you can shred multiple boxes of important documents. Set them neatly aside until them. 

3. Kitchen counters.

If you're not a particularly neat person, chances are you don't wipe off your counters every day. You know you should, but you just don't. Wipe them down quickly with a strong cleaner. Be sure to move all the things on your counter to get the crumbs hiding under the toaster or the hidden grounds under the coffee maker. While you're at it, be sure to clean the stove top. 

4. Sweep and vacuum.

This is especially a must if you have a pet. It's always surprising how much dirt and dust you've tracked through the house or how much pet hair is on the floor until you see how much you've vacuumed up. Trust us, a clean rug really ties the room together. .

5. Light a candle.

There's something about a great smell that just makes a home seem cozier. You can overlook the stain on the couch or the dust on the windowsill when your house smells like cinnamon or fresh-baked cookies. 

6. Close the door to the junk room.

Or the junk closet or the junk drawer. We all have some place where we put our stuff until we can figure out where it actually goes. Make sure that door is closed so guests don't peer in and see your mess. 

And if your house is still messy? Sit your guests down, open a bottle of wine, and put out a snack. They'll forget about your mess soon enough.