By: Shoshana Gosselin
 
Sometimes you don’t have much time to prepare for company when so many other things are consuming your time. Your home could use some sprucing up, but quickly! Here are simple tips to add personality, a fresh feel and function.
 

1. Check your bulbs. Lighting can make or break a room. One burned-out bulb can ruin the the mood, whether it is a ‘large and in charge’ chandelier or a simple recessed light. If you know company is coming, do a quick walk-through of your home with pen and paper, turning on each light. Make a note of any bulbs you need and you will only need to make one trip for replacements.
 

2. Cut tags from throw pillows.

A lot of decorative throw pillows come with annoying plastic tags. Those tags can be frustrating to work with when you’re placing pillows on your sofa: the pillows have to be placed just so and then you have to tuck the tag under so it doesn’t show. Whatever you do, don’t rip those tags off: you might tear the seam. Instead, use a pair of sharp scissors and cut as close to the seam as possible. I have a friend hold the pillow and stretch the tag, pulling it out as far as possible so I can cut close to the seam.

 

3. Keep an extra roll on hand. An inviting bathroom definitely includes an extra roll of toilet paper. Store it out of site, or try placing it in a basket for a more casual feel.
 

4. Make vent covers, switch plates and outlet covers disappear. Walls painted in a deep rich color can be beautiful, but any vents, outlets and light switches on that wall can really stand out. Help them blend by painting them. Simply unscrew the covers and dust them off with a clean cloth. For switch and outlet covers, spray with a bonding primer like XIM, then paint. For vent covers, lightly rub steel wool (so the paint can adhere) and paint.
 
Tip: Never paint the actual switch or outlet. It could be dangerous and interfere with the function of the electrical mechanism.
 

 
5. Reorganize your bookshelves. Bookcases can become cluttered. Turn on your favorite music and spend an hour rearranging them. Try turning a few books on their sides and using small accents throughout to bring in personality and keep the shelves from feeling crowded.
 

6. Create a showstopping wall. Pull a wall together using all the lonely framed art and photos you have around the house. The frames do not have to match. Hang them close together. Recently I added three more framed photos to two that were already hung on a wall. It filled out the wall nicely and I love it.
 
To figure out how I am going to hang my art, I like to lay the pieces out on the floor in front of the wall, create my design (use a tape measurer to make sure the length and height work with the wall), then snap a photo to use as my guide for hanging them.
 

7. Add ‘Wow’ to your dining set. To up the drama, add new head chairs to your dining set. If your other chairs are wood, try two upholstered chairs to give them significance.
 
If you have the time, consider reupholstering the seats of your chairs. If you are a DIYer you might be able to unscrew the seats and fasten new fabric on the seats using a staple gun. Or go to your local upholsterer for the job. Recovering just the seats is an economical way to refresh your chairs, as you don’t need a lot of fabric.
 

8. No window treatments; no problem! Create a statement in minutes using plates, platters and bowls. Hang them on either side of a window or door. You will need to purchase plate holders from a home improvement store. I had a client who did not want window treatments in her dining room because her son had allergies, so we hung a plate holder on either side of her window, and used brightly finished plates.
 
Related Links:
Double Check the Bulbs in Wall Lights
Outlet Covers That Blend In With Walls
Lighten Up the Home With Indoor Plants and Fresh Flowers

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