Looking for some ideas before you start preparing your house for the holidays?  Be inspired by our “Ten Tips for Sprucing Up Your Home for the Holidays” in the latest issue of WellesleyWeston MagazineNatureWorks Landscape Services, Mollie Johnson Interiors, and Shafer O’Neil Interior Design have great ideas for a festive home inside and out.

Ten Tips for Sprucing Up Your Home for the Holidays

by Dawn Dellasanta-Swann

Winter’s short days leave plenty of long nights for holiday entertaining. Before welcoming far away family and friends, try some of these top tips to give your home a fresh face.

one: Focus on the front.

The entryway is the first — and last — part of your home that guests will see. Give the front door a good scrubbing or even a fresh coat of paint.  Add a bright new doormat or bold little area rug just inside the door for a pop of cheeriness.

two: Light it up.

Shorter days and slippery walkways make exterior lighting all the more important. Lights warm and welcome guests arriving out of the winter gloom. Inside, candles provide flattering, cozy light and a crackling fire warms more than just snow- bitten hands. Treat your fireplace to a brand new screen, a new style of tools, or a fresh log holder.

three: Free the clutter.

Before cracking open that freshly painted front door, walk through the house and repeat interior designer Mollie Johnson’s mantra: “Let spaces have some breathing room.” Put away piles of clutter, even if it’s only into a “sort-later” box, and swap yesterday’s tangled cords for updated wireless holiday decorations and lights.

four: Clean it up.

Look over high-traffic areas for signs of wear and tear. Touch up painted finishes, clean the fingerprints off the walls and the switch plates, and rent a steam cleaner to bring dingy sofas and carpets back to life. Don’t forget the guest room. Change the sheets; add a little basket for guests of often forgotten items (toothpaste and toothbrush, hairbrush, tissues, and the like) and a vase of flowers.

five: Make small changes for big impact.

Judy O’Neil Labins of Shafer O’Neil Interior Design says to go for maximum impact in minimum space by painting or papering the guest bathroom. Replace the knobs on kitchen cabinets or update the faucet style to refresh the room. Switch artwork around or create a gallery of portraits with matching or complimentary new frames. “Finally,” says Labins, “if you have pets, buy them new collars. They will love you for it.”

six: Mix materials.

Combine natural materials like moss or pine cones with slick metal or glass for visual and tactile contrast. Put out a bowl of glass ornaments for sparkle. Mix and match silver, glass, and wood candlesticks to create an interesting landscape.

seven: Be bold with color.

Find ways to pop strong colors throughout the house, inside and out, to provide a festive and fresh look for the holiday season. Choose two to three colors and keep them consistent. Switch out pillows, accent fabrics, and table settings seasonally. The use of metallic materials in winter brightens a room.

eight: Go green.

Use a mix of cut greens, colorful branches, and live plants for window boxes, planters, wreaths, garlands, and tabletops. “In addition to traditional pine branches,” says NatureWorks President, Matt Gramer, “consider variegated holly leaf branches, juniper sprigs with blue berries, red and yellow twig dogwood stems, pine cones, and other unusual organic materials.” Keep cut plants in fresh water and use easy anti-desiccant products to retain moisture.

nine:  Use inviting scents.

“Let your nose know it’s the holiday season,” says Gramer. Place seasonal potpourri or scented candles near the entryway and throughout the house, bake cookies shortly before guests arrive, or use deliciously scented flowers in arrangements.

Ten: Keep it safe.

Replace old extension cords with the new UL rated cords — or go cordless. Route cords to minimize the chances that someone may trip on them. Keep candles away from curtains and other flammable materials and take the stockings down before lighting a fire in the fireplace. If you plan to have a live Christmas tree, check it for freshness, water it frequently, and keep it at a distance from fireplaces, candles, radiators, and portable heaters.  Be sure that breakable ornaments and poisonous plants are out of the reach of young children and pets.


For more help decorating inside and out:

NatureWorks Landscape Services,  natureworkslandscape.com,  508.660.3139

Mollie Johnson Interiors, www.molliejohnsoninteriors.com, 781.431.2289

Shafer O’Neil Interior Design, www.shaferoneil.com, 781.235.7505