The holidays are looming, and with them – holiday guests! Don’t wait ’til the last minute to give your home the TLC it needs. Your guests will be dazzled by your hospitality – and your home – if you just follow these nine quick and easy big-impact tips. So, before Black Friday destroys your motivation to do anything but shop, put on your rubber gloves, get out that spackle, and get to work!
1. Clear the clutter! One simple way to make your home feel less crowded for company is to get rid of the clutter. Stacks of paper, books, toys – put them away or get rid of them. The best way to do this is; go into every room and put the clutter items into bins. Sort through the bins, and I’m sure you’ll find a LOT will go into the trash. For anything that was spared the trash, decide if you really need it, or if a local charity can make better use of it. Either put it away or donate it accordingly.
2. Paint your trim. Over the course of time, your crisp, white trim has gotten scraped up, fingerprinty and dull. It’s easy and fairly quick to repaint your trim with white semi-gloss paint, and it goes a long way toward making your home’s interior look clean and fresh. If there’s time, also give a fresh coat to interior doors, which really take a beating from day-to-day use (and will suddenly look not-so-fresh once you’ve painted the trim). Use a sponge roller brush for doors, and you’ll be done in no time.
3. Replace outlet covers and switchplates. Maybe they’re just old and discolored, or they’ve been painted over a few times, but nasty looking switchplates make the whole room look dingy. Switch them out (pun intended) for clean white ones (super cheap at any home improvement store) or class up the joint with stainless steel or decorator switchplates. Or, maybe they just need to be cleaned. Give them a good wipe with a damp cloth (not too wet!), or drop the covers in a bucket of warm soapy water, and scrub them down. If you’re feeling unusually crafty, you can even spray paint them in a color that matches your décor. Ooo la la!
4. Give your bathroom a mini-makeover. Buy new towels, shower curtain and bath mat. It’s amazing how grungy your bathroom accessories can get without you noticing. Add a punch of color to an all-white bathroom, or use complementary colors or crisp white accessories if your bathroom fixtures have enough color of their own (that 60s pink tile doesn’t need any help being groovy). Your guests will want to spend ALL their time in the restroom. And isn’t that what the holidays are all about?
5. Repair what you can. We all have minor repairs we’ve been ignoring, and now’s the time to tackle them! Patch and paint any nail holes and cracks in the walls, replace burned out light bulbs, touch up the scratches in your furniture and oil those squeaky door and cabinet hinges. For just a little time and very little money, you’ve gone a long way toward making your home a showplace. And what a sense of accomplishment.
6. Invite some leafy friends in. Plants add warmth to any room, and when well-placed, can hide myriad unsavory home features (like an ugly radiator or torn wallpaper). Flowering plants can bring a lot of welcome color into your home, especially during winter months, and big leafy tropicals or palms can make your guests feel like they’re on vacation. And bonus – plants will also help clean the air. Ahhhhhh.
7. Refresh your entrance. If you’re like me, you rarely use your own front door, but it’s the first thing your guests will see. Start with a fresh, inviting coat of glossy paint for the door, and polish (or replace) the hardware. Buy a new doormat if yours is looking worn, and check to be sure your doorbell works. Yank out any dead or dying plants or weeds around your entrance, and replace them with a pot of bright flowers or seasonal greens. Now, that says “welcome”!
8. Trim up your yard. Clean up your bushes and trees. Too much greenery close to your house can give it a crowded, unkempt look. And invite more sunlight into your home by cutting back any too-high bushes around windows. Remove any twigs, branches and dead leaves, and voila – best yard on the block!
9. Wash your windows. Is it just me, or is this a really easy one to overlook? Not only do crystal-clear windows improve your view, but they’ll also let in more light, brightening your home for the holidays. A great, environmentally friendly glass cleaner recipe is: combine two cups water, 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar, and up to 1/2 teaspoon of liquid dish soap in a spray bottle. That’s it, and you’re ready to bring a sparkle to all the glass (and mirrors, too) in your home.
The holidays can be hectic, so finding time to manage home improvement projects (no matter how small) can be tough. Sure, we all want to impress, but one great bit of advice is to put off any projects that will take more than four hours (see more great time-management ideas here). This time of year, there’s just not enough time to get it all done, so stick to the small stuff that’ll make a big difference, and spend more time entertaining your guests!