Welcoming friends, family, and other loved ones into your home for the holidays can be exciting, particularly if it has been a while since you’ve played host. As you look around, are you concerned that your entertaining spaces might not be as ready as you’d like them to be for the season’s celebrations? No problem! We reveal some of our favorite tips to help refresh your home for the holidays.
Elevate Your Entryway
Start with a light cleaning at your threshold (inside and outside). This means sweeping up the fallen leaves, sprucing up the holiday wreath, dusting off the welcome mat, and removing the excess clutter from around the door. After that is done, it’s time to assess two critical areas: the front door and the entryway. Martha Stewart Living’s home editor is a fan of starting with an easy fix; “Lorna Aragon sprays her entire front door—glass, frame, and handle—with Windex glass cleaner.” It’s inexpensive and makes your door instantly ready for holiday lights and decorations.
Inside, if the hall or entryway baseboards are filled with dark scuff marks, you can quickly get them pristine with a product like Mr. Clean Extra Durable Magic Eraser. But if the space still doesn’t sing, you may want to make a small investment by buying a longer hall or entry rug. As Martha Stewart Living reveals, the “[rolling] out of a longer rug (with its XL footprint) … stops more dirt than the average doormat and won’t stain. Plus, it adds a finish to the space that will make your home feel pulled together and ready for company.
Lighten Up Home Entertaining Spaces
New lighting can make a world of difference, particularly if you are swapping outdated fixtures or ones that don’t reflect the ambiance you want in your entertaining spaces. The experts tell Real Simple that one of the easiest ways to refresh your home for the holidays is to “try a multibulb pendant over a dining table or a decorative flush-mount fixture in the entryway.” They also love the idea of giving “table and floor lamps a modern update by trading bell-shaped or pleated shades for crisp white drum shades.”
Do you have a spare mirror that you’ve been planning to hang? This is the perfect time. Not only can mirrors make entertaining spaces feel larger, but they maximize light. Interior designer and home decor maker Jana Bek suggests to Real Simple that those adding a mirror for seasonal festivities (and beyond) should strive to “[hang] one opposite a window, a piece of artwork, or wallpaper to increase the impact of these elements in your space.” Mirrors will amplify the impact of holiday lights and decorations, allowing a few decorations to go a long way.
Rearrange the Furniture
Don’t underestimate the impact of rearranging your home’s furniture before the holidays. If you plan on entertaining a lot during this festive season, consider bringing in a long side table from another room to serve as a buffet or moving out items that might block the flow of guests. If there are club chairs in your bedroom that fit with the decor in your entertaining space, bring them out and arrange them in such a way that will encourage comfort and conversation.
Once the furniture is in place, look at their accessories. Are your cushions or pillows on your sofa or side chair looking a little limp? Interior designer Katie Raffetto advises Real Simple readers to “give [cushions] new life by upgrading your inserts.” Raffetto recommends “an insert made of ’25 percent down and 75 percent feather that is two inches larger in length and width than the pillow jacket.’”
Finally, how are your throw blankets looking? Sprucing up your cozy throws is a quick and easy step towards refreshing your home. You can swap out your throws for ones that feature holiday themes or colors or simply give them a good cleaning. Martha Stewart Living loves the idea of “[tossing throw blankets] in the dryer on the steam setting with a few wool dryer balls, [and sprinkling] the balls with a few drops of essential oil to infuse the whole load with a soft scent.”
Revive the Rugs
Consider steam cleaning your rugs, particularly those that cover high-traffic areas. Professional cleaning services will get your entire home done in just hours, and they will even include upholstery cleaning in the deal. You can also easily rent machines at businesses like Lowe’s and focus your steam cleaning efforts on the areas you know need it most. It’s a holiday refresh that will yield benefits well into the new year.
Awaken Your Walls
Are your walls feeling less than inspiring? The good news is that it is easy to awaken them. If you have the time, money, and inclination, choosing a new paint color for the walls in your entertaining space will give your home a lift for the holidays. However, you don’t need to make that significant of an investment to feel an impact. In fact, Real Simple suggests that revitalizing your walls might be as simple as changing your artwork. The Magazine applauds the idea of “[introducing] a new piece or simply [rearranging] your frames.”
New York City interior designer Libby Langdon tells Real Simple that she enjoys the idea of “[installing] a photo ledge, [leaning] a few pieces against the wall, and [swapping] them out each season so your room stays current.” Of course, if you want a wall refresh that is Christmas-specific, consider covering a painting, mirror, or flat-screen TV with wrapping paper and a bow for your holiday events. It’s a decorative step that is simple and easily removed when the celebrations wind down.
Stock Welcoming Provisions
Martha Stewart Living recommends stocking up on sweet, salty, and crunchy “shelf-stable” goodies if you have guests staying with you over the holidays. You can put them out in the kitchen in seasonal storage containers, set them on side tables in your entertaining spaces, or put together a decorative basket of options that can sit in the guest room. You’ll also want to make a pitcher of craft beverages (alcoholic and nonalcoholic options) that are easy for your guests to grab themselves from the refrigerator or off of your bar cart. If you know that they have a favorite wine, you can either stock up for your drinks or dinner hour or set aside a bottle with a bow on their nightstand as a holiday welcome gift.
Prep the Powder Room
In addition to giving it a good scrubbing, you can refresh the powder room that guests are most likely to use by injecting a sense of the holiday spirit into the decor and styling. The pros at Midwest Living agree that “carrying the seasonal theme throughout the house is a thoughtful touch.” What are some of the Magazine’s favorite touches? “Fir-scented soap and winter-motif hand towels are an easy way to make even the powder room glow with holiday spirit.”
Stage a Holiday Shelf
Speaking of carrying holiday cheer throughout your home, Midwest Living also recommends adding small, festive touches throughout your living and working spaces. While you may already have decorations set up by the chimney with care, you’ll be amazed at how cheered you will feel by having a holiday shelf in your family room, office, or dining room. When refreshing your home for the holidays, the Magazine suggests that “[transforming] a bookshelf into a cheerful display with pinecones, candles, and spruce greenery can change the aesthetic of an entire room.” It’s an easy, affordable change to make that can incorporate decor pieces from other places in your home. And if you have kids, they’ll love putting together crafts or pictures to add to your very merry shelf.