It's the 1st of December! There's now no shame in dusting off the tinsel, mixing up a batch of mulled wine and fine tuning your Christmas playlists.
It's also the time to get your home ready for the festive fun ahead. Here are our tips for staying one step ahead of the magical chaos that is December.
Out with the old. Start with a good declutter
The first step in setting the stage is to start with a good old clear out and clean down to make room for decorations and all those extra bodies coming and going over the next month. Tackle the rooms that will be on show and doing the heavy lifting first, such as your kitchen, dining room, guest bedroom and bathrooms. Take one room at a time and slowly but surely work your way through.
This is also a great opportunity to look for items to donate to charity. You can donate toys and gifts for children living in poverty. Find your local drop off point here.
This goes for your kitchen cupboards too. Get rid of anything well past its sell-by date to make room for fresh ingredients for your festive feast. Take this opportunity to do a deep clean of the cupboards and finally get around to giving your oven some love!
It's also the time to do a little stock take of your guest bed linens and towels and see if any are looking a little tired and need replacing. Check out our client Tracy's dreamy laundry cupboard with boxes for each bedroom in her home....the stuff of dreams! Check out her house tour here.
Does your home need a designer's touch? Book a free, no-obligation call with our team to see how we could help:
Finish off those niggly little DIY jobs
We all have them! Maybe it's that picture gathering dust while waiting to be hung. Perhaps it's the toilet roll holder that's hanging precariously off the wall, or the flat pack that hasn't yet left the confines of it's box? A great way to tackle procrastination is to have a deadline, and there's no better deadline than your in-coming mother in law!
Block out a weekend between now and Christmas that's dedicated to finishing off these tasks. For anything that needs a more skilled pair of hands, get the trades booked in quickly before they clock off in December.
Having cleared out your rooms, you can also now look for any areas in your home crying out for a bit of love. Check out our blog post on finishing touches that will add that extra 'sparkle' in just a weekend.
Create atmosphere with lighting
Now we're not just talking Christmas tree lights (great as they are). A successful lighting scheme will quickly and affordably transform your room like nothing else. Think about the romantic restaurants you love, do they have bright, white over head lighting? Or do they have soft, warm atmospheric lighting? They're designed to put you at ease, keeping the wine and fun times flowing so you should do the same.
For a cosy vibe that will get you and your guests in the festive spirit, think about layers. Your ceiling light can be useful but when entertaining, it should be switched off. Instead, you should have lower level table and floor lamps around the room, lighting dark corners and highlighting your favourite décor pieces to create little focal points or 'vignettes' as us designers like to call them. To create that warm, yellow glow - buy bulbs that have a kelvin rating of less than 3,000.
For more tips on creating a cosy living room with lighting, watch our video with lighting pros houseof.
Stock up on scented candles
Don't forget to think about all the senses to get that truly festive feeling. Your sense of smell is one of the most powerful for triggering memories and feelings and so scatter them all over your home when entertaining.
We love a wax melt because the smell seems much more intense (in a good way!) Our design team are currently loving Rock That Scent and their latest winter collection.
Turn your 'dump room' into a boutique guest suite
Give your friends and family a 5* hotel experience when they come to stay to help them feel at home.
We'd always recommend spending a night or two in your guest bedroom. You might find things that need tending to like a particularly lumpy mattress, or even something as simple as a lack of hooks to hang towels and clothes.
Try to pre-empt your guest's every need. The little details can make a big difference such as hand moisturiser on the bedside table, fresh neatly folded towels, a spare blanket for colder nights and perhaps some hangers for their fancier garments.
Hotel-worthy bedding will be a real game changer. The general rule is the higher the thread count, the better the quality. However, this isn't always the case. Extra threads called 'picks' can be woven into the weft threads which increases the thread count but doesn't necessarily increase the quality, so be wary of cheap sheets with an extremely high thread count. Aiming for a thread count between 300 - 800 should ensure a good night's sleep.
Next, layer in plenty of texture through throws and cushions in different fabrics to create a bed that your guests can't wait to dive into.
There's still plenty of time to whip out a paintbrush if your spare bedroom needs a big update. Don't feel like you have to play it safe and neutral with the design for your guest bedroom, put your stamp on it and give your guests the full immersive experience!
Need help turning your junk room into beautiful boutique experience?! Book a free, no-obligation call with our team to see how we could help:
Rearrange your furniture for a social layout
Is all your furniture positioned towards the TV? No shame here! For 360 days of the year, that's perfectly acceptable. However, Christmas movie marathons aside, there won't be a lot of TV time over the festive party season.
Take some time to do a little rejig of your furniture in your living room to encourage socialising by facing them inwards. Your furniture doesn't need to be up against the wall - bring everything closer together to create a more intimate feel and prevent people from having to shout at each other across the room! This also creates a bit of space around the outside of the room to move around freely without walking through the middle of a conversation.
It's also a nice touch to create little break-out zones for private chats. Look for spaces to pop a couple of armchairs, a side table with a bowl of snacks and a floor lamp for the atmosphere.
Speaking of side tables, make sure you have enough dotted around the room for guests to pop their drinks on to prevent a glass of wine from getting booted across the floor accidentally!
Check out our dedicated guide on getting your living room ready for entertaining.
Make sure you have enough seats for bums
If you're planning a sit-down meal, check whether you have enough dining chairs to accommodate everyone. Don't feel like all your chairs need to match though, there's something quite nice about mixing up the styles like in the image above. The important thing is that guests are comfortable and they're encouraged to stay well into the evening.
Benches are very adaptable and can seat more people along them than chairs. They also take up less space and can be tucked under the table once the meal is over. The only downside is that they can be uncomfortable to sit in for long periods of time without a back. If possible, put your bench along the wall and add cushions like we did here:
Incorporating occasional seating into your room design is a great way to save space and avoid unnecessary furniture taking up valuable floor space when you're not hosting. We love this coffee table that includes two pouffe's underneath that can be pulled out when it's party time:
Plan your Christmas tablescape
It's time to get creative! Going that extra mile with the table décor can be what turns your average Sunday roast into a Christmas day feast! So dust off your fancy crockery, polish those wine glasses reserved for 'best', and start planning a Christmas tablescape that will win plenty of 'oohs' and 'ahhs' from guests.
We've written a blog post totally dedicated to this topic with lots of ideas for you to borrow. Take a look here.
Make space for your guest's coats and shoes
Nothing quite wrecks a home's first impression than tripping over coats and shoes soon as you open the door. This is the perfect time to move all of your summer jacket and flip-flops (if you haven't already!) upstairs to clear space for your guest's coats and shoes.
Speaking of first impressions, your hallway is also the perfect place to pop a scented candle or wax melt to set the tone and give guests that warm, wintery vibe as soon as they enter out of the cold.
Wheel out the home bar
We love a good bar cart. Wheel it close to the entrance of the room to encourage guests to grab a drink on their way in. It also helps to avoid traffic jams in the kitchen.
Don't overload your bar cart with anything and everything in your alcohol cupboard! Pick just a couple of cocktail options and provide all the necessary garnishes and mixers. You could even write down a little recipe card for guests to make their own.
On the top shelf place glassware, a bowl of snacks and all the equipment they might need. Add in some tasteful decorations and the party can get started!
Dust off the decorations
The stage has now been set and you're ready for the fun part! Pop on Mariah, wriggle into your most decadent of Christmas jumpers and settle down for an evening of decorating. Here's hoping you took the time to pack them up properly last January rather than throwing them in the box! 🤞
When styling your Christmas decorations around your home, you can use the same principles as you would when styling at other times of the year:
1. Less is more - this can be the difference between 'tacky' and 'tasteful'! Focussing on a few key showpieces like your tree, bannisters or fireplace will provide a clear festive focal point.
2. Layers - mix up the levels of different items as it keeps the eye moving around the room and stops everything looking flat.
3. Balance - ensure there is an even balance of decorations and colours around the room to bring it all together.
4. Rule of threes - a classic styling trick because it just always works. Those three kings knew what they were on about.
5. Scale - yes this also applies to the size of your tree! If you're looking to cut costs with a smaller tree this year, give it a lift by sitting it on top of a table so it can still get the attention it deserves.
1. Give your children their own tree to decorate!
2. Get one new decoration a year
3. Always keep in mind how the room looks from the street to give you cosy and welcoming vibes when you come home
4. Make your own decorations
5. Test your lights before putting them up