Etiquette expert reveals the worst sins you can commit as a guest at another person's home

Low Section Of Man Using Mobile Phone While Sitting In Bathroom - stock photo
According to an etiquette expert, you should be 'making yourself at home' as little as possible - that is, if you want a repeat invite. Photo credit: Getty Images

It's the age-old mantra for any good host: make your guests feel at home. From childhood most of us are taught to welcome visitors with open arms and hospitality worthy of a five-star hotel - mi casa es su casa, after all. 

But with all the emphasis being on the host with the most, how does one be a good guest? And just how comfortable should you be getting in a casa that at the end of the day, is not your own? According to an etiquette expert, you should be 'making yourself at home' as little as possible - if you want a repeat invite. 

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Jackie Vernon-Thompson, an etiquette consultant, author and the founder of the Florida-based Inside Out School of Etiquette, weighed in on the most common mistakes you could be making when staying at a home away from home.

"People living in every home establish their own culture. What is acceptable in my home, may be prohibited in your home," she told the Daily Mail. "When you are invited to inhabit their home for any length of time, you must attempt to understand the culture of the home to prevent offence or inappropriate conduct."

To help, Vernon-Thompson outlined several scenarios where decorum should be observed to show courtesy and respect to your host - so for goodness sake, take your feet off the table. 

Firstly, Vernon-Thompson advised always asking your host whether their home is a 'shoes on' or 'shoes off' household. If the host asks you to remove them, oblige, and place your shoes on the shoe rack or to the side - don't leave them in the middle of the room or hallway. 

"I've visited homes where removal of shoes is either their culture or preference... there may be a baby who crawls on the floor," she explained.

For hosts who prefer their visitors to remove their shoes before entering, Vernon-Thompson recommends having some clean socks on hand in case your guest isn't comfortable walking barefoot. 

Secondly, the expert urged anyone who uses the last bit of bog roll to replace it - this ensures no one is caught with their pants down. Most households will have an extra roll in the bathroom cupboard, allowing you to replenish the supply without asking. If no toilet paper can be found, ask the host for a new roll to hang up. Additionally, anyone who pees with the toilet seat up should be putting it back down after doing their business, Vernon-Thompson said, as a common courtesy.

TOILET ROLL THAT HAS RUN OUT OF TOILET PAPER - stock photo. Close up of a toilet roll that has run out on a holder against pink background
Don't let anyone get caught with their pants down - replace the roll, for goodness sake. Photo credit: Getty Images

Thirdly, the expert warned guests to never put their feet on the furniture, branding it a "huge no-no". If the host has put their feet up on the couch or coffee table, don't take it as an invitation to do the same. 

"Keep in mind, you are a guest. Refraining from placing your feet on their couch is one way to express gratitude for the accommodations."

Next, the "epitome of improper etiquette", according to Vernon-Thompson - using the host's shower gel or other toiletries. 

"You must travel with your personal hygiene products whenever you plan any overnight trips. Using their products is unacceptable," she told the outlet. "Take the time to pack what you use daily to ensure you neither have to use their products... that would be a huge faux pas."

Asking the host if you can use their products beforehand is also a cardinal sin, the expert warned, noting it can put the host in an uncomfortable position where they feel obligated to say yes. Imagine if a guest asked to use your $940 La Mer Moisturizing Cream, for example - you'd probably wince before spitting out a barely audible 'yes' through gritted teeth. 

"Please don't place the host in such an awkward position. Be prepared," she added.

Lastly, the expert recommended removing the bed linen before taking your leave - and an offer to put on fresh sheets never goes amiss. 

"[It shows] you are not expecting the host to do it and be subjected to touching the sheets you rolled around in and perhaps soiled while sleeping,' she told the Daily Mail"Changing the linen or offering to change them is proper etiquette and considerate."

As a final tip, Vernon-Thompson recommended leaving a small parting gift as a token of appreciation for the accommodation - even a simple 'thank you' card can speak volumes.

"Put yourself in the host's shoes. How would you like a guest in your home to [behave]? Answer that question, then elevate the expectations [two times] more because it is not about you," she added.

"It's about non-verbally and verbally expressing to the host that you appreciate their hospitality and them opening their doors to you."