As we move deeper into fall, the air gets chillier, the days get shorter, and we come to the sudden realization that a gauntlet of holidays will soon be upon us. Holiday parties are a part of the fun, and if you’re planning on hosting any get-togethers at your home, you may be wondering how to spruce up your space in preparation. Depending on how much lead-time you have, try following some of these tips to make your home feel more inviting.
DINING ROOM IDEAS
Your dining area will likely be the main focus for a holiday gathering. If you’ve been meaning to update the space anyway, this is a great excuse for a mini-makeover.
1) Mismatched chairs definitely aren’t a bad thing, but if you want them to look uniform, try slipcovering them for a shabby-chic vibe. (This is also a good tip if your chairs have just seen better days.) Chair covers are often available for rent at party supply shops, or for purchase at most big-box stores.
2) Large mirrors add opulence and make a space look bigger. Try to find one with a prominent frame. If you have a garage sale or flea market find that isn’t quite right, you can give it a whole new look by spray painting the frame gold or some other metallic shade that coordinates with your décor.
3) Take advantage of your chandelier! We love statement lighting over the dining room table. Update an older fixture with new lampshades or crystals.
4) Create a beautiful centerpiece using candles, fresh flowers, ornaments, or whatever you’d like. This gives your table setting a “wow” factor that your guests will notice.
5) Use ornate china as additional décor and display it on an open hutch or floating shelf. When you’re about to serve a meal, just take them down and give them a quick wash. If you’re expecting a large group, another option is to rent china, glasses, napkins, and silverware from your local party rental company. This saves you from having to purchase any new place settings just for the holidays.
6) If you want to make your home smell amazing as your guests are arriving, simmer any combination of sliced fruit, spices, and essential oils with purified water in a pot on the stove. For in an invigorating scent, try purified water, sliced lemons, peppermint and ylang ylang essential oils, and a few rosemary sprigs. Our favorite combination for this time of year includes purified water, sliced apples and grapefruit, orange essential oil, and some cinnamon sticks. Just remember to treat the concoction like a burning candle in that it shouldn’t be left completely unattended.
LIVING ROOM IDEAS
The living room is where your guests will convene after a meal to socialize, so it never hurts to take this space to the next level when you’re expecting company.
7) Festive throw pillows are relatively inexpensive and will instantly make your seating look tailored to the season. Pillows can also correct sofas that are too deep (and serve as floor seating in a pinch).
8) Your guests will likely gather in the living room with drinks they’ll need to set down, so make sure to put small end tables next to any seating that’s out of reach from the coffee table. If you don’t have any, check out these options at The Great American Home Store.
9) Rearrange your furniture with an open floor space in mind if you have to make room for a crowd. Also take this opportunity to declutter – gather up papers, books and magazines, etc. into storage containers.
10) Enhance the ambiance! Light a fire in the fireplace if you have one, and put some background music on to fill out any lulls in conversation (about 25% lower volume than normal speaking voices).
11) You likely won’t have time to give each guest a tour, so labeling the key rooms of your house can be extremely helpful. Purchase some blackboard signs and chalk from your local craft store and get creative! For example, prop a large one on your entry table that says “Welcome.” Then use smaller chalkboards with holes in the top for hanging (try using burlap rope or fabric ribbon) and label the doors to the coat closet and bathrooms.
12) A good rule of thumb for pre-party cleaning is to start from your entryway and follow the path that your guests are most likely to go (into the living room, through the kitchen, the bathrooms, etc.) But don’t stress too much at the last minute! Try to get the important things done in advance so you can relax and enjoy your guests when the time comes.
While we don’t have a tip to help you survive family drama, endless cooking, or any of the other glorious trials that go hand-in-hand with the holidays, we CAN wish you the best of luck and remind you that you’ll make it through. You’ll probably have a great time while you’re at it!