6 Simple Steps to Prep Your Home for Holiday Guests

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Published: November 14, 2011

Make sure extra TP is easy to spot (that’s in #6).

Hosting has its shares of anxieties, especially if you’re striving to make your home welcoming.

How do you know everyone wil feel comfortable?

And will you ever get a chance to relax yourself?

You will if you focus on what’s really necessary. Here’s a list of steps to get your home ready — and take the stress out of hosting.

#1 Declutter

The day before guests arrive is no time to pull apart junk drawers and clean out linen closets.

Declutter guest rooms and public areas — foyer, kitchen, living room, den, and dining room. Remove anything unnecessary from countertops, coffee tables, and ottomans; if it’s out of sight, keep it out of mind, for now.

If you run short of time, bag up the clutter and store it in car trunks, basements, and out-of-the-way closets. Sort and arrange after your guests depart.

#2 Add Night Lights

Even though you can navigate your home blindfolded, your guests can’t. Make sure outside lights are working so they don’t trip on the way to your door. Put motion-activated night lights in hallways, bathrooms, and bedrooms to ensure safe passage after the sun sets.

Related: Outdoor Lighting for Curb Appeal and Safety

#3 Make Space in the Entryway

Your home’s foyer is the first place guests see, so make a good first impression.

  • Place a small rug or welcome mat at the entrance to protect floors from mud and snow.
  • Clear out shoes, umbrellas, and other clutter.
  • Add extra hooks to walls so guests can hang coats and hats.
  • Add a storage bench where guests can remove boots and shoes.

#4 Add a Coffee Station and Extra Stools

Your kitchen is command central during the holidays, so make sure it’s ready for guests and extra helpers.

  • Move your coffee station into a family room so guests don’t crowd the kitchen when you’re trying to fix meals.
  • If you like to visit while you’re cooking, place extra stools and chairs around the perimeter of your kitchen so guests can set a spell.

#5 Create Extra Sleeping Space

If you’ve got a guest room, replace the ceiling fixture with a ceiling fan and light combo, which helps guests customize their room temperature without fiddling with the thermostat for the entire house.

To carve sleeping space out of public areas, buy a folding screen or rolling bookcase, which will provide privacy for sleepers. Fold or roll it away in the morning.

#6 Make Extra Bathroom Supplies Easy to Find

Bring toilet paper, towels, and toiletries out of hiding, and place them on open shelves so guests can find them easily.

If you don’t have enough wall space for shelves, place these items in open baskets around the bathroom.

Also, outfit each tub with a bath mat (to avoid falls) and each toilet with a plunger (to avoid embarrassment).

5 Painting Mistakes That’ll Show

Painting can be one of the most cost-effective ways to spruce up a listing. But homeowners can also make a lot of mistakes with this common DIY job. Realtor.com® recently spoke with staging and color experts to find out some of the most obvious mistakes that they see most often.

1. Choosing the wrong finish.

Homeowners need to select a paint finish that correlates with the room’s purpose. “Many homeowners are nervous about using shiny semigloss, but it’s more durable than flat or matte and more moisture-resistant, which makes it perfect for bathrooms and the kitchen,” Kristen Chuber, marketing director at Paintzen, told realtor.com®. However, flat and matte finishes may make better choices for high-traffic areas like hallways or kids’ rooms, since they usually allow for easier touch-ups.

2. Not paying attention to the room’s undertones.

Pay close attention to the other elements of the room that can influence how the color looks on the walls. “Your color will look off if you pair a pink undertone with a yellow one, so look at the counters, the stone fireplace, and cabinets when choosing paint,” Karen Gray-Plaisted, a home staging expert with Design Solutions KGP, told realtor.com®. The flooring can influence the color perception too. For example, a warm mahogany hardwood might look strange when paired with a cool gray paint, Gray-Plaisted says. Also, be sure to “test your color swatches in different lighting, or you’ll end up with a shade that’s all wrong,” Chuber notes.

3. Selecting the wrong color of white.

White paint comes in many shades. “Some whites are cool, others warm, still more are neutral, so the one you pick will depend on the room’s finishes and undertones,” Gray-Plaisted says. Liat Tzoubari, CEO of home decor boutique Sevensmith, told realtor.com® she sees homeowners overuse white paint in a home. “Instead, choose a white with a slight pink or yellow tint, such as cream,” she suggests.

4. Forgetting about what’s overhead.

Ignoring the ceiling when repainting can make the room appear dull and dirty, says Chuber. “Whether you pick white or a bright color, painting it properly will give you those sharp edges along the top and can make wall color pop,” Chuber says.

5. Adding an accent wall in an odd place.

Adding a pop of color to an accent wall is a popular move, but homeowners should make sure the effect isn’t jarring. “Accent walls are supposed to draw attention to a beautiful area, like the dining room—but not the bathroom or toilet area,” Kaitlin Willhoit, a real estate pro with The Boutique Real Estate Group, told realtor.com®. Also, the paint chosen for the accent wall needs to still work with the overall color scheme of the room or the house, says Bee Heinemann, interior designer with Vant Wall Panels. Too bright or too bold a color may be a turnoff to buyers.

Source: “Time to Brush Up: 9 Ugly Painting Mistakes You’ll Come to Regret,” realtor.com® (Oct. 25, 2017)