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  • The holiday season is just around the corner, and so are lots of house guests. If you're anything like me, you go into panic mode late-November when you realize you never hung those pictures you swore you would and suddenly your living room curtains are looking a little drab. The impending rush of parties and pop-ins makes us scrutinize our homes and want to make everything perfect before people arrive. To help you get ready, I have a few tips to refresh your home without breaking the bank!
  • Spruce Up Your Entryway

    The entryway sets the tone for your house. You want guests to feel welcome and calmed upon their arrival, so it's time to tidy things up! Store extra coats and shoes in a closet and make sure there are plenty of open hooks and spaces for your guests' belongs.

    Don't have a hall closet or coat rack? Rent a rolling garment rack from your local party-rental spot -- it's a small investment to keep your guests from having to throw their belongings in a pile. It's important to set the tone of your decor in the entrance, too. String lights or ribbon down your banister, hang a collection of wreaths in clusters, or fill vases and hurricanes with evergreen boughs and faux snow for a quick festive update.

    Tip! ​I always put a little chair in the entryway in case guests are changing out of snow boots and into their party shoes!
  • Fashion a Bar Cart

    People like to have direction at parties, and creating a self-serve bar station gives them a spot to congregate. It also will help you strategically move people away from problem areas in your home you don't want to be the focus. Maybe there's some peeling paint in the far corner of your living room? Position the bar set-up in the opposite area; it'll help keep some of the congestion away from that eye-sore. And remember, you don't need a full bar cart to accomplish this. Use an oversized tray to corral your ingredients on a side table, console, or a corner of your kitchen countertops. 
  • Give the Guest Room a Face Lift

    The key to creating a great guest room experience is to give them a sense of comfort. For some no-cost updates, bring in a sturdy chair or stool that guests can leave their suitcases on, stock a tray on the nightstand with a glass for water (or water bottles), a scented candle, and some fun magazines. For a low-budget update, consider buying some fluffy new towels and high-quality pillows for the bed.

    Tip! Don't forget the guest bath, too. Keep it stocked with essentials like extra toothbrushes and face cloths. 
  • When in Doubt, Add Fresh Flowers and Candles

    If you only have $25 to spend on sprucing up your space before guests arrive, do this: head to the store and grab a few bunches of flowers and a package of candles. Flowers bring so much life to a room. Split up the bouquet into collections of bud vases and sprinkle them around the house, in the bathroom, on the entryway console, on the nightstand of your guest bedroom. Lighting can completely change the atmosphere, so dim the lights and use candles instead. I promise it'll help hide the dust on that bookshelf you forgot to clean. Your guests will thank you—everyone looks better by candlelight! 
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