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Is your house ready for the holidays? It might’ve seemed a bit premature when radio stations across the country started playing Christmas music last week, but time somehow speeds up in November and December, and many busy families are already wondering how they’ll tackle their holiday to-do list in such a short time.
The good news is there’s still time to update your house before the holiday season. If you’re hosting your family’s holiday gathering, or if you’re just looking to make a few seasonal upgrades, there are plenty of ways to beautify your home that won’t cost an arm and a Christmas bonus.
If you have one of those relatives that typically hosts the holiday dinner, and they always seem to have the perfect tree, the perfect dinner table and the perfect kids that speak multiple languages and eat all their broccoli, relax. Focus on togetherness, not competition, and your holiday party will be a slam-dunk, because after all the leftovers are packed away, the perfect holiday home is one filled with love.
That said, a few well-placed throw pillows never hurt anybody. We pulled together our favorite upgrades to help get your house holiday-ready.
Let’s start outside. From the moment your in-laws pull into the driveway, here are some easy, affordable upgrades to make your home more inviting.
Paint the front door: Nothing makes a great first impression like a newly-painted front door. Keep it simple and choose a color that fits your home and your style. You can always paint over it later if you decide you don’t like the new color. A number of paint companies let you try out paint colors online before making your selection.
Need help planning? The DIY Network offers a step-by-step process and the entire thing can be done for less than $50.
Fix the steps: If the concrete on your front steps is cracked, or the wood is splintered, grandma’s upcoming visit is all the reason you need to begin repairs. Check out this Pinterest board for inspiration or if you have the time and the skills, here’s the DIY Network’s take on fixing an entrance.
Upgrade your address: A new house number can make your house feel more modern, more rustic, or more of whatever style you’re going for. They’re inexpensive and easy to install. You can find simple styles at your local hardware store, and a variety of fancier, hand-crafted options by artisans at Etsy.
Light your path: Don’t you love it when the walkway to a person’s house is well lit? It feels magical, like walking around the grounds of your favorite Hawaiian hotel at night. A quick search features more than a few options for under $50.
Seal away drafts: The quintessential holiday home is warm and cozy, not cold and drafty. Sealing air leaks can reduce drafts, control moisture and make your home more energy efficient. You can do it yourself by sealing seams around windows with caulk or partner with organizations like Oregon Energy Trust who can help you find contractors in Oregon and Washington.
Once your guests come inside, there’s more than a few ways to dazzle them with your holiday spirit.
Lights, candles, action! Nothing sets the holiday mood quite like lights and candles. Drape doorways with festive Christmas lights and use a large group of 10-15 candles at the center of your dining room table to set the holiday mood. Just remember not to leave burning candles unattended.
Bathroom curtains and towels: The last thing you want over the holidays is one of your in-laws commenting on an old shower curtain at dinner. Oh the horror! Brighten up your bathroom with an option from Houzz or Overstock. And don’t forget new towels. Everyone likes to ring in the New Year with bright, fluffy towels.
Upgrade your throw pillows and blankets: The holidays are the perfect time to replace lightweight cotton with heavier knits and wool blankets that make everything that much cozier. Use bright, seasonal throw pillows to create a pop of holiday color on couches and chairs.
Add a splash of color: You probably don’t want to repaint entire rooms right before the holidays but what’s to stop you from touching up a bookshelf or bringing a side table to life? Adding a little splash of color in the right space can turn a drab room into a delightful one just in time for the season.
When you’re getting your home holiday-ready, it helps to have a checking account that offers you flexibility and access to your money whenever and wherever you need it. Access Checking gives you four rebates per month on non-Umpqua ATM fees, plus great mobile banking. You can even open an account online.