8 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Overnight Guests (Yes, the Romantic Kind)

8 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Overnight Guests (Yes, the Romantic Kind)

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You’ve done it, tiger. You invited your date back to your place — what now? I spoke with Ariella Serur, a dating coach specializing in queer relationships, about how to stay in the moment and enjoy your time together. Whether you practice polyamory and live with a partner, or this is the first time you’ve brought a date home in years, keep reading for eight easy ways to prep your home for your first sleepover together

Hold a transparent conversation about your intentions for the evening. 

The word “intentions” might make you think of the overprotective dad in every rom-com: “What are your intentions with my daughter this evening?” But there are benefits to being on the same page from the beginning. It can help you relax to know what you’re both walking into and can provide a framework like any other social setting would have. Serur says that before bringing it up, think about what you would like to hear on the receiving end. “How would you want to hear that information?” Once you’ve thought it through, you’re ready to hold an authentic conversation about your expectations. 

Ask yourself: What would make me feel welcome if I were the guest? 

Think about when you are the most comfortable in your space. Do you have music playing? Are the lights dimmed? Is there a particular blanket you love? In addition to setting up your place to make guests feel welcome, Serur encourages you to set up the space in a way that makes you feel your best while hosting. Ultimately you want to add comfort — for both you and them. Serur suggests considering a scenario where you are the one going back to someone else’s place: “What would make you feel at ease? Then do that!”

Make the evening unique to them.

Every person is different so treat the evening the same way. You wouldn’t invite your vegetarian friend to an all-you-can-eat BBQ, so think about your date’s quirks and needs ahead of time. You don’t necessarily need to move your furniture around to accommodate them, but there are small ways to show you care. It might mean having non-alcoholic beverage options in the fridge or swapping out your oil diffuser for unscented candles if you know they’re sensitive to strong smells. 

Curate your space for the evening you want. 

Packing for vacation isn’t the most exciting part of a trip, but the preparation means you can have more fun when you get there. Similarly, with hosting, try writing down a checklist of what you want to have on hand during the evening. Is there an activity you want to do together? For example, if deeper conversations with this person is your goal, Serur recommends placing a few conversation starter pieces in the space. “Maybe it’s having a novel you’re reading on a side table, a book of queer art on your coffee table, or a travel souvenir coaster they can put a drink on,” they say. “That way the space is curated toward curiosity and getting to know each other better.” 

Stay in the moment! Dates are supposed to be fun. 

One of Serur’s favorite ways of staying present is tuning into their senses: paying attention to what they see, taste, touch, smell, or hear. You can also focus on taking a deep breath, take a trip to the bathroom to regroup, drink cold water slowly, or, they suggest, “It’s always an option to just name what’s going on internally!” It’s always OK to admit when you’re feeling nervous or in your head. It might even allow the other person to open up and share how they’re feeling as well. 

Do you live with a partner? Time to put your communication tools to the test. 

“Having a live-in partner changes your approach to having overnight guests — mainly in the realm of communication,” Serur says. There is a lot to get on the same page about when it comes to logistics and making sure everyone involved is heard and valued. Each relationship has unique agreements that need to be honored during sleepovers. Set ground rules now to avoid hurt or confusion later. Also — and this is for everybody, regardless of how many partners you have — change your bedsheets. Seriously. 

Organize your sex toys and whatever else you may need at a moment’s notice. 

Pleasure is supposed to be enjoyed, so don’t be afraid to play with incorporating decor into your sex life — like decorative boxes for your vibrators. (Pro tip: getting a bedside lamp with USB ports is an easy way to keep your toys charged and ready to go when needed.) While organization isn’t the sexiest thing to consider, you’ll find that it’s the wingman you didn’t know you needed. Instead of stressing about finding your favorite sex toy or the lube you like, keep it handy by the bed, couch, or bathroom. For example, instead of keeping a bulky box of condoms, I store my safe sex products in a clear hexagon jar with a snap-on lid under my bathroom sink for easy access (yes, the ones typically used as candy jars). 

Think ahead to the morning after.

Not that you need a goodie bag on the way out the door, but there you can make your date feel cared for as they leave so you part ways on a positive note. While there is no rulebook or universal preference, think about what feels true to you — how do you like to be cared for after a date? Serur shares an extra nugget of advice for the morning after: “If you have an early morning the next day and someone is spending the night, give them a heads up the night before about what time they should be on their way.” No one wants to be woken up and kicked out the door within the same breath (or yawn) — plus, it allows you to plan some more quality time in the a.m. if it’s what you desire. 

I Just Attended My First PowerPoint Party — and I Can’t Recommend Them Enough

I Just Attended My First PowerPoint Party — and I Can’t Recommend Them Enough

If you’re on social media in any capacity, you may have come across some very viral phenomena during these wacky past couple years. Bread baking, needlepoint, watercolor (among many other cottagecore activities), choreographed dance challenges, jigsaw puzzles — you name it, people have tried it. 

Someday, I’ll tell my grandchildren all about how hard everyone worked to stay busy, distracted, creative, and sane during this seemingly endless slice-of-hell season we’re all pushing through together. While getting a handle on combating emerging variants and surges, utilizing resources that help us live with the virus, and slowly reintroducing some behaviors, there are some pandemic trends that I’m taking with me into the future. My favorite? PowerPoint presentation parties.

For the uninitiated, a PowerPoint party basically consists of pals getting together, either virtually or IRL, to share slide decks. While these types of presentation parties originated well before the pandemic, global lockdowns, social life shakeups, and remarkable levels of boredom took this idea and ran with it. 

I recently attended my first in-person PowerPoint Party and I can’t recommend it enough. Let me immediately start off by disclosing that my friends and I are mega-dorks. We are the daughters of the nerds they couldn’t shove into lockers. We roll Natural Twenty-deep. We schedule obscure museum trips into our girls’ weekend itineraries. You get the picture! It makes sense that this type of gathering was ideal for our group of misfit gals. And the teacher’s pets that we are, we certainly understood the assignment.

For starters, we gathered at the home of our pal Julia, whose basement office setup is complete with a massive flatscreen and multi-monitor situation that makes me feel like I’m in NASA’s rec room. A tech situation this advanced is not required by any means — simply sharing on a laptop around a coffee table or virtually on Zoom or Google Meet works just as well. But when in Rome (Julia’s NASA basement), do as the astronauts do!

Each guest was instructed to come prepared with a three to four-minute presentation. I used classic Microsoft PowerPoint, though others utilized different presentation software. Because it’s been years since many of us exercised our presentation and slide deck-building muscles, basic templates more than sufficed for our purposes. 

Critically, prior to individually presenting, we chose not to share with one another the subject matter of our respective presentations, to optimize shock, awe, horror, and delight touchpoints. For an added effect, many presenters opted to arrive in office wear or blazers, though I wore a matching Nike set (because I have chosen to exclusively wear elastic and soft materials these days.) 

Being a lifelong teacher-pleasing nerd, I volunteered to go first. I presented “Blurred Vision; Half-Hearted; Can’t Win,” my take on “Friday Night Lights” season two and ways to improve this critically-savaged, fan-least-favorite season in an otherwise perfect, heartwarming series. Other presentations included, “Dorothy Zbornak Outfits As Zodiac Signs,” “Things That Are Lucky I Cannot Start Fires with My Mind,” “How Women Are Portrayed in Art,” and “Presenters as ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ Characters.”

After cry-laughing for three marvelous hours — yes, our presentations all went way over the time limit — I had to share our experience with the masses. The TikToks and snapshots you see online of these parties really are as entertaining, revealing, and straight-up fun as they seem. So at your next get-together, holiday party, virtual weekend check-in, wedding, whatever, get a little geeky sharing your passion, hot takes, experiences, and deep-cut knowledge with your loved ones!

Sarah Magnuson

Contributor

Sarah Magnuson is a Chicago-based, Rockford, Illinois-born and bred writer and comedian. She has bachelor’s degrees in English and Sociology and a master’s degree in Public Service Management. When she’s not interviewing real estate experts or sharing her thoughts on laundry chutes (major proponent), Sarah can be found producing sketch comedy shows and liberating retro artifacts from her parents’ basement.

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Create the Ultimate Outdoor Oasis With These Stylish (and Affordable!) Walmart Finds

Create the Ultimate Outdoor Oasis With These Stylish (and Affordable!) Walmart Finds

Apartment Therapy received compensation for this post, which was written and edited independently by our editorial team.

If you’ve been waiting to upgrade your backyard for the spring and summer, consider this post your sign to get started. The warm weather is quickly approaching, and if last year is any indication, patio decor and accessories are going to fly off the (virtual) shelves as more and more homeowners look to take advantage of their outdoor spaces.

Whether you boast a few acres or a modest patio, there are plenty of ways to dress up your zone so that it not only functions better but looks better, too. From party-ready Bluetooth speakers and atmospheric lanterns that lend a romantic glow to the modern rocking chairs of your dreams, Walmart has it all — at wallet-friendly prices, of course.

To help you on your way to your dream backyard oasis, we’re rounding up some of our favorite outdoor living picks from Walmart to help you make the most of your alfresco spaces in style. Cheers to sunny days ahead!

The Most Fun Party Games to Play with Friends

The Most Fun Party Games to Play with Friends

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Party games are a great way to bring people together and break the ice — especially after plenty of time spent apart. So for your next outdoor game night, shop some of our favorites below, from card games to apps. We predict they’ll be a huge hit.

Actually Curious Card Game: Happy Hour Edition

This conversation starter card game is empathy-focused to bring you closer to your fellow players. This special edition includes questions that “explore dreams, ambitions and cherished memories with friends, family and loved ones.”

Truth or Drink: The Game by The Cut

If you’ve ever watched Cut’s YouTube channel, you know that this drinking game is hilarious. You simply either answer the juicy question on the card or take a drink (and while not in the official rules, non-alcoholic drinks totally count here, too). This game comes with five different decks, based on the kind of company you have over.

If you have enough people and the time to play, Werewolf will quickly become a favorite amongst your friends — especially if you have a charismatic and animated moderator to keep things original and move things along. It consists of a cast of (shifting) characters and involved rules, making this a game that could be the focus of your entire get-together if you want it to be. 

Buy: Amazon Werewolf, $14.99 $13.95

Perfect for people who can’t stay off their phones, this game involves both physical cards and an app. The premise is simple: Everyone grabs their smartphones, while one player picks a card and gets to judge that round. The rest of the players have 60 seconds to respond to the card’s prompt with the funniest/weirdest thing they can come up with on their phones. 

Buy: Uncommon Goods Game of Phones, $20

This electronic game involves splitting up into two teams and trying to get your teammates to guess the word on the screen by describing it in any way possible. Keep guessing new words until the buzzer goes off — if your team is still guessing, then the other team scores a point. This upgraded version has over 5,000 words and phrases so you won’t get bored any time soon!

You’ll want to keep the kids away from this one—it’s strictly adults-only, and gets hilariously inappropriate fast. Each player is dealt a set of caption cards, and then a photo card is placed down. Each player chooses a caption to correspond to the photo, with a judge choosing the funniest “meme” created. There’s also an expansion pack if you want to switch things up. 

Buy: What Do You Meme?, $29.99

After setting your camera’s self-timer, each player holds the camera at arm’s length and points it at themselves very briefly, as if they were taking a selfie, before passing it to the next person. Keep going until the camera goes off. This is a fun and quick around-the-table game that provides you with some hilarious pictures your friends will be begging you not to tag.

Pick one name for each person playing and stick that name on each person’s back or forehead. Each person gets 20 “yes or no” questions to find out who they are. This game is really funny as each person starts recounting what they know about themselves before asking their next question. 

For something a bit more old-fashioned, this popular dice game is a reliable classic. Each game includes three specially-marked dice and 24 chips, with players rolling the dice to determine where to pass their chips. The last player with chips is the winner. It’s fast-paced, easy to pick up and a definite crowd-pleaser.

Buy: LCR Dice Game, $11.99 $6.99

Sit in a circle and give everyone a notepad and a pen. Instruct players to write down a funny phrase,notable person, or anything else at all on the second sheet of their notepad, close it, and pass over to the person on their right. Now everyone picks up the new pad, reads the phrase on page two, and draws it as best they can on page three. Pass the notepads again, only this time, you can only look at the illustration and try to guess the phrase on the next page. Keep passing and drawing or guessing until you have your original pad in front of you. Flip through the pages in front of the group for mega laughs as your phrase gets distorted, telephone-style, through the drawings and guesses. 

Telephone Pictionary, via Great Group Games

Arrange chairs in a circle, using one fewer chair than the number of players (like musical chairs). Have someone start the game by standing in the center of the circle and saying, “Mail Call for everyone who is wearing red” (or “…has a cat,” or “…has been to Europe,” or “…has kids,” get creative!). Then everyone in a chair who is wearing something red must get up and switch chairs with someone else wearing red, with a few caveats: Players can’t sit back down in their own chair, or the chairs directly next to it. The object of the game is for the person in the middle to get a chair before someone else can. Whoever is left standing delivers the next mail call.

Mail Call, via Let’s Party

Nicole Lund and Carolin Lehmann also contributed to reporting.