Gratifying Guests: Changing linens for visitors

by epi on February 22, 2013

Q: I have had a guest in my house for five days now. Is it common to change guest towels mid-week or should you wait until weeks end? I have always waited until the weeks end to change bedding and towels when someone visits. However, now I am wondering if that is improper. My guest asked for her towels to be changed and I had provided her with new ones. Should I do a mid-week change in the future?

A: This is really a matter of your personal practice, but a mid-week change of linens is not unusual even for families who bathe and shower daily. Supplying a guest with fresh towels after three or so days is a nice gesture, if it works with your home management schedule.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Stephanie March 14, 2013 at 9:32 pm

My husband and I do not have any family who live close, therefore they all must travel to attend birthday parties and family functions. My husband and I decided to rotate who says with us and who stays in a hotel since we only have one spare room to host guests. My mother claims this is incorrect and rude. What is proper etiquette in who stays with us and who stays in a hotel?

If this is submitted incorrectly, I apologize. The FAQ page said to leave my question as a comment.


Winifred Rosenburg March 14, 2013 at 10:46 pm

Your solution sounds fine to me!


Elizabeth March 15, 2013 at 8:26 am

Your solution sounds fair, because it distributes the burden of paying for a hotel room rather on more rather than fewer people. However, if one part of the family has significantly more financial hardship than all the others, it may be difficult for some to spring for the hotel room, and it would not be wrong to give them additional consideration. However, if it is simply a matter of convenience or preference, then it seems perfect.

In any case: it is never incorrect or rude for you to invite whoever you like to stay as a guest in your home, and it is not incorrect or rude of you to suggest hotel rooms to those you cannot accommodate. I think it’s rude for others to comment on your hospitality! Perhaps it would be best not to “advertise” your system, and simply issue invitations as you please. To others, you can simply not offer the room and they will understand that other accommodations need to be made.


Carolyn March 16, 2013 at 10:40 am

Is a tableclot or placemat necessary when the bare table is wood?


Elizabeth March 16, 2013 at 5:32 pm

It depends …
I have a wood table which is very sensitive – any moisture, or even any heat from a dish will discolor it, so for me, a placemat is necessary. If I want to use a tablecloth, I have to put a plastic one underneath the fabric cloth because the table will discolor if any moisture soaks through the cloth.

If I had a wood table that was resistant to moisture and heat (like a formica table that just looked like wood), I would only use placemats or table cloths if the meal was a bit more formal. Just for lunch or a regular weeknight dinner, I don’t know that I would necessarily use them. We also have an island in our kitchen where my husband and I will eat dinner if its just us. We never use placemats there.

Not sure if this is an etiquette issue, or just an issue of practicality… table cloths and placemats sure do make the table look more put together….


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