Monday, December 2, 2013

The holidays are here! It’s a time of joy! A time of feasting! A time when family and loved ones will be ringing the doorbell!

Ok, did you just panic? Are you thinking about all the decorating and redecorating you want/need to do before a mass of humanity descends upon your home?

Well, just take a deep breath and relax, and remember that the family is coming to spend time with you, not critique your interior design or crafting or cooking skills. Of course, we all want to create a beautiful presentation and we want our meals to be devoured. I readily admit that I am somewhat of a perfectionist when it comes to such matters.

So, where do you start? Well, it’s amazing what a difference it makes just to clean your home. I mean really clean your home. When my house is clean, it looks like a page out of a magazine. Of course, that is a rare occasion and it generally looks more like the scene of a robbery, but I digress. Get out those brooms and mops and dust rags and start going over every surface. Scrub those dirty spots on the doors, walls, and baseboards. Dust furniture and books and decorative items you may have strewn about your horizontal surfaces. While you’re at it, organize them too.  Clean those windows inside and out. Make sure bathrooms are sparkling and beds have fresh linens. Scatter scented candles, sachets, or diffusers around the house.

When your house is clean and organized, think about what you really want to do as far as decorating. Are you thinking about trying to tackle large projects? Well, don’t get too ambitious. Unlike what you see on HGTV, projects can actually take a lot longer than people realize. Make certain that you have the time and energy to pour into larger projects. Maybe you would like to paint a room. That can be done in a weekend. A whole house? Not so much. Perhaps some new furniture? Ok, but make sure the item is high quality and in stock. Or consider rearranging furniture or purchasing slipcovers or new pillows instead. 

On that subject, new accessories might be the answer to your decorating dilemmas. New window coverings, rugs, or artwork can make a dramatic difference without the cost and time of a complete overhaul.

Now, let’s say you are thinking about rolling out the red carpet for your guests, but your flooring is not up to the task. Maybe you have been considering a new hardwood floor for a long time and this might be just the perfect time. Here are few things to think about prior to making such a big decision:

We are human and as such, we often do things at the last minute. This is true in the world of hardwood flooring. Most contractors experience a spike in sales and installation in November/December. Everyone wants a new hardwood floor and they want it by Christmas! Well, there are only so many experienced, reliable contractors around and their schedules are quickly filled, and they can only move so fast. And you should never rush an installation.

Not all products are stocked or readily available. Some sell out. Some are custom and require long production times. Some get held up in customs. A contractor has no control over this. Have your contractor or salesperson check stock before making that final decision. On the subject of products, if you want something installed quickly, then a prefinished, engineered product is your best bet.

If you have a hardwood floor and just want it to look a little more presentable, you can consider a buff and recoat. It doesn't take as long or require as much work as a sand and finish. However, if your floor needs more intensive rehabilitation, then you want to schedule that sand and finish as soon as possible, like now. Depending on many square feet you need done, it can take as much time as an installation, and you’ll want to let the floor cure a bit before everyone walks all over it.

Once you've drawn up a plan and made your decisions, don’t forget about those decorative holiday touches! Hang a wreath on your door or over your fireplace. Lay a garland on your mantle and hang those stockings. Place apothecary jars or vases filled with pine cones or glittery ornaments on your dining table. Lay soft faux fur or wool plaid throw blankets on your sofa and/or armchairs. And lights aren’t just for the tree! I like to wrap some around my stair banister and railings. Place a basket of small logs by the fireplace. And don’t forget candles. They are quick, inexpensive way to cozy up a place!

I hope these tips help. And I wish you and yours safe and happy holidays!

P.S. We have some room in our schedule if you would like to purchase a new hardwood floor   ; )