8 Ways You’re Being a Crappy Houseguest (and What to Do Instead)

By now you’re well versed in the art of fabulous hostessing. But what about staying at someone else’s home? Here are eight houseguest sins you’ve probably committed—and how to fix ’em for good.

30 Things You Need To Do Before Houseguests Arrive

dont make your bed houseguest etiquette
Rhema Kallianpur/Unsplash

Mistake: Making The Bed When You Leave

Remedy: Strip it

The best way to ensure an invite back? Strip your sheets entirely and leave them neatly stuffed in a pillowcase at the foot of the bed. (The less your host has to touch your soiled linens, the better.)

arrive with bring a gift houseguest etiquette
Dmitry Mashkin/Unsplash

Mistake: Sending A Thank You Gift

Remedy: Arriving with one

Think of all the prepwork your host has done for your arrival (cleaning, shopping, cooking, etc.). And you show up empty-handed? Not nice. We know you were probably planning on sending a gift afterwards, but showing up with an offering in hand gestures that you prepared for this too.

bring your own toiletries houseguest etiquette

Mistake: Borrowing Toiletries

Remedy: Bring your own

Sure, most hosts are happy to share their dental floss—but they shouldn’t have to. Furthermore, the less you bother them with things you need (“Hey, Suze—where can I find some toothpaste?”), the better. Packing your own pouch of essentials saves everyone trouble.

wash your own dishes houseguest etiquette
Brooke Lark/Unsplash

Mistake: Bringing Your Dishes To The Sink

Remedy: Load the dishwasher (or hand wash)

Bottom line: As a guest in someone else’s home, it’s your duty to make as little work for the hosts as possible. Meaning: They shouldn’t have to physically handle your dirty dishes. Rather than corralling your dishware in the kitchen (a solid first step), make sure you load them into the dishwasher—or hand wash if it’s occupied.

send a thank you letter instead of email houseguest etiquette
Joanna Kosinska/Unsplash

Mistake: Sending A Thank You Email

Remedy: Send a letter

Thank you emails are for coworkers who lend a helping hand—not for your dearest friends and fam who shelter and feed you. Keep it old school and send a piece of handwritten snail mail after your stay. It’s just so much more thoughtful.

offer to help your host houseguest etiquette

Mistake: Offering To Help

Remedy: Proactively helping

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over our years of hosting friends and fam, it’s this: The best guests don’t ask for permission to do the dishes or pick up ingredients from the grocery store. They just do.

staying too long houseguest mistakes proper etiquette

Mistake: Staying A Week

Remedy: Stay 3 nights

According to Miss Emily Post, three nights is the max duration for not overstaying your welcome. If you must stay longer, make it a point to get out of the house for long stretches of time so your gracious hosts have a moment to do their laundry and take a nap.

don t depend on your hosts for entertainment houseguest etiquette

Mistake: Hanging Out With Your Hosts Constantly

Remedy: Entertain yourself

You may feel inclined to invite your hosts on your various sightseeing excursions and rendezvous with friends, but equally important is giving them a breather...and planning some activities on your own.

The Only Details That Truly Matter While Hosting for the Holidays


Home Editor

From 2014-2019 Grace Beuley Hunt held the role of Home Editor covering interior design, styling, trends and more.