If There’s One Thing I’ve Learned about Having People In. . .



This weekend Katie will bring home her new beau for us to meet. We are crazy excited. I’m anxious to get to know him. But more importantly I want him to feel welcomed, relaxed, and comfortable in our home. I want this for all of our guests whether they are here for an hour or for the weekend.

One way I try to achieve this is by making our home as self-serve as possible. I am a high-maintenance woman. I like to keep the coffee in my mug hot. I drink lots of water and it seems I’m always in need of a snack. I use my own high level of need to anticipate what my guests might need or want.


Below is our “water station.” It is set up on the sideboard in the dining room. The dining room is between the kitchen and living room (where we hang out most of the time). Our eat-in kitchen does not have lots of extra room—just enough for one or two cooks behind the island. The water station gives everyone easy access to water and they don’t have to feel in the way. I also keep the fridge in the garage stocked with flavored waters and soda. I let our guests know they can help themselves whenever they want. The water container came from Crate and Barrel. Yes, there are cheaper ones out there, but be careful. Some of the cheaper ones leak.

Water table


Another big hit with our guests has been our coffee bar. Like I said, our kitchen is not that big so when our guests needed more coffee there was congestion behind the island. A few years ago I found the perfect solution. I visited my friend’s home in Arizona for the first time. She, too, had the same situation in her kitchen as I did—not a lot of room in the cooking area of the kitchen. The dining area had an empty space along a wall that perfectly accommodated a coffee bar. It was the perfect solution and so cute! When I came home I found this one on Pinterest. It inspired the one Gene made for me.

 Coffee bar

The wire shelf/basket piece is available at Hobby Lobby. (I discovered this after Gene made my built-in shelves!)

 Coffee bar 2

I looked everywhere for the shelf unit in the Pinterest picture but could not find one. So Gene made the built-in shelves. We already had the little bookshelf. Gene added a towel bar to the side. The cup-hanging bar came from Ikea. The white container came with the hanging bar. I use it to hold vintage glass containers of sweetener, tea bags, and the empty packets. The coffee bar holds everything needed to make coffee, except the water. My guests have even been known to pitch in and make more coffee.

Coffee bar close up

These are simple, fairly inexpensive ways to make your home user-friendly for everyone. The purpose of hospitality is to make your guests feel welcome, loved, and blessed. All I do is towards that end. I do what I can to make our home more user-friendly by making my guests comfy and meeting their needs. The more user-friendly our home is the more time I will have to be with my guests instead of waiting on them.

I’d love to see pictures of the ways you’ve made your home more “user-friendly.”



Brenda Garrison is an author and speaker who empowers women with the confidence to live their calling. Brenda is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Ministry Leadership with a Concentration in Women’s Ministry at Moody Bible Institute. She and her husband, Gene, are the parents of three young adult daughters and live near Metamora, IL.

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