Make yourself at home!
That’s the advice a Florida etiquette expert gives when it comes to being a guest in someone else’s house if you want a repeat invite.
After DailyMail.com’s Jaci Stephen wrote about a rude visitor who flipped her toilet paper roll in a major blunder, FEMAIL’s Jackie Vernon-Thompson, founder of Inside Out school of etiquetteto discuss the most common mistakes you could make when staying in a home that doesn’t belong to you.
Jackie said if you are staying with someone else you should always be concerned and find out what is expected of you as a visitor.
Do you need to replace an empty toilet roll? Etiquette expert Jackie Vernon-Thompson weighs in on these — and other etiquette sins you might be committing
“People who live in every house establish their own culture. What is acceptable in my house may be illegal in your house,” she told DailyMail.com.
“Remember that a person’s home is their safe haven and a place where they feel in control and it’s their relaxed environment.
“If you are invited to live in their house for an extended period of time, you should try to understand the culture of the house to avoid offense or inappropriate behavior.”
To help you, Jackie has given her advice below on eight different scenarios to make sure you don’t commit a sin of etiquette, from putting your feet up on the furniture and not replacing an empty toilet paper roll to using shower products and leaving dirty sheets.
Shoes on or shoes off? It is always better to ask than to be sorry
Jackie recommends that people ask their host if they would like you to take off your shoes as a sign of respect before entering their home.
“If they ask you to remove them, please do so and put them aside or they may have a shoe rack where you can put them,” says the expert.
“I’ve visited homes where taking off shoes is their culture or preference. They provide booties or brand new socks that I can put on my feet for comfort. That’s a suggestion for anyone who prefers their guests to take off their shoes.
“There could be a baby crawling on the floor in that house. Keep in mind that the germs from your shoes will most likely remain on the floor and be transferred to the baby. That is not good.
“Maybe they even have an older child. Please note that children like to sit on the floor at any time. Even if the host doesn’t ask, if you know they have young children, consider the child or children and voluntarily take off your shoes – that speaks volumes.”
Shoes on or off? It is always polite to ask your host when you arrive at their home
Replace the roll! Don’t leave the next person caught with their pants down without toilet paper
If you are staying for a longer period of time you may have to deal with an empty toilet roll.
In this scenario, Jackie says it’s proper etiquette to restock.
“Usually there’s an extra roll in the cupboards or somewhere else so you can replenish it without warning them,” she said.
“If you’ve used the last bit and there’s no new roll in the bathroom, just ask for a new roll to hang after washing your hands.
“Never make the mistake of leaving it empty because it’s not your house.” That’s not good etiquette at all.
Jackie also addresses another debate likely plaguing households: “Gentlemen, make sure you put the toilet seat back down, as someone may come up behind you and have to sit down.”
Don’t put your feet on the furniture! It’s a “huge no-no,” says one expert
This is where Jackie warns guests not to get too comfortable.
Even if you see your host with his feet on the furniture, that is not an invitation to do it yourself, warns the etiquette expert.
“If you find yourself lounging and enjoying a good conversation or a program on the television, don’t make it so easy that you put your feet up on the couch or coffee table. That’s a huge no-no, Jackie told DailyMail.com.
“Keep your feet on the floor or if you’re on a La-Z-Boy, sit properly while lifting your feet. Never feel like it’s okay to put your feet on their couch, even if you see them doing it.
Please note that you are a guest, which means you must take care of their belongings and furnishings as if they were your own. Not putting your feet up on their couch is a way of expressing gratitude for the accommodations.”
It’s a huge no-no! Never put your feet on the furniture, even if you see your host doing it
Avoid those pesky watermarks and use a coaster!
By asking for a coaster, you’re just telling your host you care about their furniture—and they’ll no doubt appreciate your thoughtfulness, says Jackie.
“While enjoying those relaxing experiences at home, you are most likely sipping a few sips of water, juice or even wine,” she told DailyMail.com.
“Never put the glass or cup directly on their furniture, especially if it’s made of wood. Be aware that water on wood that is not immediately removed or dried will leave a ring on the wood.
“Just request a coaster, which shows you don’t want to stain their furniture. That communicates to them that you care about the maintenance of their items. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it. You just earned brownie points, my friend.”
Why you should never stand in the cupboard with glasses or cups
If you’re staying for an extended period of time, you can offer to unpack or fill your host’s dishwasher.
You will probably need to put the cups or glasses back in their proper places and Jackie advises never placing them face down.
Hygiene is an important reason to never put your cups or glasses upside down in the cupboard
There are a few reasons why it is recommended not to. When you place the glass face down, where the rim meets the surface, you expose the person drinking from it to bacteria that may have been on the surface where it was placed, because they put their mouth on the rim. That’s not good,” she explained.
“Another reason is that when the glass or cup is face down, it becomes prone to chipping of the rim, which can cut someone’s lip if they don’t notice the rim when drinking.”
Using your host’s shower gel is the ’embodiment of inappropriate etiquette’
Jackie says it’s “forbidden” to use your host’s shower gel, shampoo or conditioner. Even if you ask, it puts them in an awkward position when they want to say “no.”
Have you ever forgotten your toiletry bag and gone for the shower gel you see hanging in your host’s bathroom?
According to Jackie, you committed one of the greatest etiquette sins.
Pictured is etiquette expert Jackie Vernon-Thompson
“As a guest, you are prohibited from using their shower gel, moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner or any other product in their shower or bathroom,” she said.
“You should travel with your personal hygiene products when planning overnight trips. Using their products is unacceptable and the epitome of improper etiquette.
“Instead, take the time to pack what you use every day to make sure you don’t have to use their products or ask permission to use them.” That would be a huge faux pas you don’t want to make.’
Even asking to use your host’s products puts them in an “uncomfortable position” because they don’t want to be the bad guy.
“If they want to say ‘no’, they think they should say ‘yes’ because you obviously don’t have your own. Doesn’t look good,’ Jackie explained.
“Consider this, would you like an overnight guest to use your personal hygiene items? I’m sure you’re shaking your head, “Absolutely not!” Then please don’t put the host in such an awkward position. Be prepared!”
Tidy yourself up: Remove the bedding you’ve been sleeping on
Jackie highly recommends taking off the bedding you have been sleeping on and offering to replace it with clean sheets when you leave.
The etiquette expert said this showed you wanted to tidy yourself up.
“(It shows) you don’t expect the host to do it and are exposed to touching, more than necessary, the sheets you’ve been rolling around in that may have been soiled while sleeping,” she added.
“Changing the linen or offering to change it is proper etiquette and thoughtfulness.”
It is highly recommended that you take off your bed sheets when you leave
Go the extra mile and leave a small parting gift as a token of appreciation
It’s always nice to show a token of appreciation and Jackie recommends leaving a thank you card or note after your stay.
“If you haven’t discussed monetary compensation, you should even surprise them by offering monetary compensation for the stay,” she said.
“They can then refuse it or humbly accept it with a smile.”
Jackie said it wasn’t difficult or stressful to be a “respectful, helpful and appreciative guest” in someone else’s home, just be considerate.
‘Put yourself in the shoes of the host. How would you like a guest to work in your home? Answer that question and raise expectations (twice) more because it’s not about you,” she added.
“It’s about expressing nonverbally and verbally to the host that you appreciate their hospitality and that they open their doors to you. It’s about having appreciation and behaving appropriately.”