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I don’t think any time of the year brings such strong and yet simultaneous feelings of anticipation and total dread as the holidays. On one hand, you’re excited to spend time with friends and family and food, but there’s also the fear of getting your home guest-ready. That’s why we’ve found some fast and affordable updates to refresh your home for entertaining. Now, you can plan ahead, relax and (most importantly) enjoy the season with those you love!
Two Weeks Before
Here’s where we start with the “bigger” home updates. First off, let’s talk cleaning. Every good project needs a solid base, so take the time to give any entertaining spaces a solid scrub down. Remove water damage and scratches from your dining room table, disinfect surfaces and dust anything else that can hurt the overall appeal.
Now that everything’s been cleaned, check to see if your furniture is in party-condition. If all imperfections have been buffed out, you can try some more minimal updates:
Go natural with stain. If you’re set on embracing the natural wood of your dining room table, consider re-staining as a good way to freshen it up. Go darker for holiday drama, or find a tinted stain in an unexpected shade.
Add a fresh coat of paint. Not only will a new paint job brighten up your table, it also works to help fill in various issues (discoloration, weird wood grains, etc). Likewise, the only thing standing between hating and loving your chairs can be a nice paint session. This will be especially beneficial if you have a mismatched set, since a uniform color will tie them all together. An easy and dramatic fix!
If you’re dealing with persistent scratches or dismal seating, we’ve found some alternative routes for you to take:
Reupholster. For those with a strong DIY initiative, reupholstering cushioned chairs with a new design can be an instant transformation. I’ve seen vintage dining sets immediately given an modern appeal with fresh upholstery.
Repaint the chair cushions. Did you know you can also repaint upholstery? Depending on the fabric you’re working with, there are a ton of customizable ways to give the cushions a facelift.
Go big and bold. Really ready to wow? Three words: zinc-topped table. Adding this thin metal sheet gives a nice industrial edge and is guaranteed to stand out to your guests!
Next up, your overhead lighting. Rather than deal with the hassle of electrical work, here are two DIY options that will update your look (without the risk of a holiday house fire).
Paint, paint, paint.We’ve already seen how transformative a fresh coat of paint can be, and it can also work it’s magic on your lighting! 90’s brassy-yellow tones turn into matte blacks, dingy browns are instantly updated with a fresh pop of white…we’re pretty much spray paint’s #1 fan at this point.
Create a customized fast fix. Cover your existing light fixture with a new look: an upcycled drum shade, something edgy and so much more. Start browsing, and find the perfect one!
One Week Before
With big projects out of the way, it’s time to focus on the details.
Go scavenging. You probably don’t have a giant set of formal glassware or holiday seat cushions on hand, so now’s the time to do some secondhand shopping. Don’t stress too much about finding perfect matches, and embrace the gathered look: as long as you find a way to tie the different pieces together (similar colors, patterns, materials or shapes) it will look relaxed and intentional. Dig through local secondhand shops and check Krrb to fill your cart at a low cost!
Look locally. Every good holiday party needs candles, so take the opportunity to grab something special that can’t be found in the same old home goods stores. Look for neighborhood shops that offer handmade selections so you can grab something unique while also supporting your local economy.
Call for backup. Not everybody is looking to invest in a ton of new stuff just for the holiday season, so consider asking some guests to contribute. Instead of bringing another appetizer, things like extra cutlery, glassware and plates will be a welcome sight!
One Day Before
It’s almost the big day! You’ve rounded up all of the essential pieces, so now we’re looking to finalize a party environment.
Clean & polish. They say not to judge a book by it’s cover, and dingy silverware is the perfect example of why this rule exists. A quick clean with a homemade recipe can transform even the grimiest cutlery into holiday-worthy staples. Always make sure the things that will be spending the most time close to your guests’ faces are looking their best!
Start off on the right foot. You can’t beat a solid first impression. Make sure your guests are happy from the get-go with a DIY welcome mat to greet them. It’s so cheap you could even make a holiday-specific one!
Set the table. It’s time to put all of your freshly-cleaned cutlery and china to good use! Don’t freak out if you keep forgetting which side the fork goes on: we’ve also made an easy guide to help you craft your perfect table scape.
Decorate. Of course, the biggest transformation of all is holiday decorating! Depending on your preferred design style, you can add a few subtle seasonal touches, or go all out with all-over decor. Tis the season to get creative!
A Few Hours Before
The guests should be on their way! Now’s the time to take care of some quick, last-minute preparations so that you can get the party started smoothly.
Make a playlist. No one wants to sit in silence, and keeping your music stream unattended might pull up some questionable jams. These suggestions for soundtracks will let the music flow without awkward pauses, and of course you can create a customized playlist. Just be sure to test out the volume to make sure no one will go deaf over dinner.
Include some seasonal smells. After all your hard work, you can’t forget to clean the air! Whip up a fast & spicy oil mixture that will diffuse the best scents of the season throughout your home. It’s relaxing, welcoming and a good way to get people in the door and hungry for dinner.
Set the mood. Bust out those candles! Dim lighting creates a more intimate feel while also helping to hide any additional imperfections the room may have. Try clustering them as a centerpiece, or spread them in groups around the room to create a soft glow.
We hope we’ve put you in a festive and stress-free mood! What’s your go-to home-improvement project when you know you’ll be entertaining? Let us know in the comments!