Don’t Host Overnight Guests Without Doing This

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What You Need On Your Kitchen Counter When You’re Hosting Overnight Guests

Do you host overnight guests in your home?

I do, and since we moved to the lake, I do a lot of it.

Kitchen set up for guests to use easilyOvernight Guests Will Be More Comfy When You Do This

When hosting guests, most of us tend to focus on getting a guest room or sleeping space set up, making sure the bed/sofa/blow-up mattress is comfy and the bathroom is clean.

I have written a few of these types of posts, but there is one thing that many forget to include when hosting overnighters and that is making it really easy for guests to use your kitchen….

Snacks and food ideas for overnight guests placed on kitchen counter

…I am not talking about what to stock in your refrigerator, but making it easy for guests to feel comfortable to serve themselves in your kitchen.

How to keep a lot of overnight guests happy.

Two weeks ago, we had a houseful of Kelly and Roger’s friends to the house for 3 days of pre-wedding festivities. A house full of mostly 30 year olds, in-laws and friends made for a week of fun, but a little prep and planning on my part.

We have two guests rooms and we set up blow-up beds in the game room.  The living room sofa and recliners also were used for sleeping.

To keep meals simple, we ate out every night. I had cereal, bagels, eggs, bacon and juice for breakfast. For lunch, sandwiches, chips, pickles and drinks of all sorts.

Snacks and food ideas for overnight guests placed on kitchen counter

I also set up what I refer to as a Butler’s Station for Overnight Guests on the kitchen counter.

Most guests, even after you tell them to make themselves at home, will feel awkward looking through your cabinets to find a bowl for breakfast cereal. Avoid this scenario by setting up a Butler’s Station.

Why Set Up a Butler’s Station for Overnight Guests?

A butler’s station is kind of an expansion of a butler’s tray. It allows your guests to easily prep meals or food without having to ask you or go into your cabinets and or pantry for plates, glasses and utensils. Putting paper plates and snacks right out in the open makes it easy for them to simply grab what they need and then toss in the trash when done.

It also is a place for snacks for them to enjoy during the day between meals or in the middle of the night. It is a convenient entertaining essential for me.

Kitchen Snacks ideas and entertaining tips for overnight guests.

What to Put In a Butler’s Station for Overnight Guests

When guests are hungry, they won’t hesitate to make a simple meal or grab something to munch on between meals as they won’t have to ask as you for something to eat as you have made the station clearly there for them.

You may not need to have as many snacks as I had out, but for each visit, size and fill the Butler’s Station for the amount of days and guests staying with you.

  • Paper products make for easy clean up. Paper plates, bowls, hot and cold cups. For holiday occasions, use festive napkins.
  • Pre-packaged snacks – chips, popcorn, candy, nuts.
  • Granola Bars. I stocked the station with Kind Bar Mini’s. They were a big hit. I even went out to buy more since the contents of the first two boxes were gone after the first day.
  • Fresh fruit
  • Teabags
  • Sugar, salt and pepper.
  • At night you can set up boxes of cereal, bread and set the timer on the coffee maker to brew coffee to be ready in the morning for the early risers. Move items like eggs, milk, juice and condiments to the front of the fridge.

Kitchen Snacks ideas and entertaining tips for overnight guests.

I use different vessels to hold it all depending on the size of the crowd and how long they are staying.  Tray style baskets and wood boxes found at the thrift store work well.  In the past I have also used tiered trays and bowls.

Kitchen Snacks ideas and entertaining tips for overnight guests.

Make sure to have a few different types of snacks that will please all types of eaters.. junk food as well as a few healthy snacks.

Kitchen Snacks ideas and entertaining tips for overnight guests.

Cold drinks in the fridge and teabags for hot drink lovers.  The coffee maker is available on another section of the kitchen counter.

Decorating with glass canisters

I have even been known to set up a few snacks in the guest room for guests on a dresser…

Guest room decorating ideas

… and even on a chic DIY butler’s tray in a corner. Well fed guests are happy guests.

Kitchen Snacks ideas and entertaining tips for overnight guests.

Having a butler’s station set up in your kitchen somewhere will surely not only make your hosting duties easier, but your guest’s visit more enjoyable also.

Do you do anything special for overnight guests when they come to stay at your house?



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  1. Great idea for feeding your house guests! I always put a basket or tin with travel size toiletries in the guest bathroom. I use toiletries we collect when we stay in hotels, or buy them in local dollar stores.

  2. What a great idea. Wish I had thought of that. We have many guests and on several occasions family reunions hosted in our home. This will be the first thing I set up next time. Thank you for such a useful idea.

  3. Great idea. I just had guests and only focused on bedroom and bath. That made food fixins a little stressful.