’TIS THE SEASON TO SPRUCE UP
DIY Ways to Get Ready for the Holidays Plus a Big Help from Our Pro Friends
By Barbara Kuntz
Wow! It’s November already! Harvey washed away a few months of this year’s calendar, but family and guests will be arriving soon for the holidays. We all should end 2017 on a note of thankfulness, happiness and good cheer. It’s time to celebrate.
If you don't have the time or money to spruce up the entire house before loved ones ring the doorbell or knock on the door, focus on a few key details to help make the rest of your holiday entertaining fall into place. Here are some easy and inexpensive ways to be the hostess — or host — with the most.
The biggest bang for your buck is with paint, no doubt about it. Pick a single key wall, prep it and roll on a new color. That wall may be in the entryway, dining room, den…wherever you think the results will be the most dramatic and make the biggest change for the season — and for year-round.
THE KITCHEN & FOOD
The kitchen is the heart of the home, and especially during this time of year when everyone is cooking, baking and enjoying one another’s company. Add an attractive backsplash for an updated look. Visit your favorite neighborhood store for a shiny new faucet or updated hardware, such as drawer pulls and knobs. Change out everyday kitchen towels with special holiday-themed versions. And light delicately apple-, orange- or cinnamon-spiced candles to waft tempting aromas throughout your home, like something yummy is always in the making.
If Harvey damaged your stove or oven, replace it now.
If these appliances are out of your budget, call today to reserve delivered or to-go full and delicious holiday meals. An inexpensive microwave can warm to-the-top-filled plates aplenty.
Or, forget cooking all together with dining out at some of Houston’s best restaurants open on Thanksgiving Day. Reservations are going fast at these establishments, so make your call soon. You can always come back afterward to your lovely “new” home for cocktails or hot chocolate, your preference — and dessert!
THE DINING ROOM
Even if you’ve secured restaurant reservations for Turkey Day, you know here’s where meals happen at home each and every day: The dining room. If setting the stage with flowers is out of your budget, no worries!
Consider placing single stems of flowers on a napkin or on each plate. “Try arranging fresh and/or dried fruit as your centerpiece,” says Sandy Chilewich, designer and home entertaining lady extraordinaire. “A gorgeous tart can be the centerpiece if served on an oversized marble plate. Don’t bring out everyday cake plates for a special occasion.”
Remember, less is more. “For me, most always,” Chilewich says.
Buy or build a plate rack for your most attractive plates, bowls and glasses you use for parties. The rack presents a decorative feature, as well as lets guests know where to “grab a plate,” instead of politely and repeatedly asking permission to rummage through your cabinets. No matter how many times you might tell them, “Make yourself at home,” some visitors may feel more comfortable helping themselves to obvious choices.
GUEST BEDROOMS & BATHS
Make sure your guests feel special and are comfortable with a few extra touches to these rooms. In bedrooms, make the best beds you’ve ever done: Pretty, inviting and snug-as-a-bug. Accent pillows add a splash of color without changing your linen sets, duvets or bedspreads.
A luggage rack is always nice for short-term visitors carrying minimal luggage, such as just a backpack in tow. Make room in the bedroom closets for extended-stay visitors, with easy access to extra blankets and pillows.
In the bath, body towels at hands’ reach, with the addition of a few holiday-themed hand towels for accents, help create a spa-like experience for family and friends. Candles, lotions and extra toiletries set out are appreciated, too.
Prepare a play list in advance with tunes for everyone and every moment, from classics to sing-a-longs to even dance numbers. Karaoke is always fun for later in the evening.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!
Replace nonworking or missing light bulbs so when anyone flips a switch, there’s light. Chandeliers, especially those above a dining room table, should be checked, even if you plan on using the dimmer switch for a more intimate affair at home.
Speaking of lights, hand out sparklers to the young and young-at-heart and create your own bright-night celebration. Rather than rushing to untangle and hang outdoor lights, invite everyone to participate in after-dark festivities with long-stemmed safety sparklers. The Original Sparkler Co. (www.sparklersonline.com) is just waiting for your order.
NEW WELCOME MAT
Change out your worn-out mat with a new one noting the season…and extending a welcome to everyone. Easier than pie!
HELP FROM THE PROFESSIONALS
For bigger tasks, those needing professional attention, we have a great list of contacts for you to call for HVAC, hot water heaters, chimney care and more. Here they are:
Moore’s Chimney & Dryer Vent Cleaning
Home Exterior Systems
HOT WATER HEATER
Hot Water Guys
Air Depot Air Conditioning & Heating
All Starrs Stone Care