Decorating Shortcuts: Get Your Home Ready for Guests

Maybe you’ve just moved to your new home in the suburbs or you’ve been in your home for a bit, but still have empty rooms and now you are hosting guests and do not feel ready at all! Moving is overwhelming enough and now you have to figure out how to host a holiday when your home isn’t done or even close to looking party-ready. I want to provide you with some simple solutions during this frenzied time- so you too as the hostess can enjoy your home and the holidays as much as your guests! Here are some decorating shortcuts for getting your home ready for guests.

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Prep your Empty Dining Room so it is ready for Guests

So perhaps you don’t have a dining room table big enough or don’t have one at all… well here’s an effective hack!

The “Fake it ‘til you make it” Solution/Hack

Local party rental companies are very affordable for folding tables, tablecloths, dishes, glasses and silverware! These companies will drop off and pick up! Plus you don’t have to do any washing, just return everything as is (dirty and all!). Not only will everything look good but this will also save you a lot of clean up time!

If you have a small table, to make it bigger just rent a table and set it next to the one you have. You can extend the table by putting a tablecloth over both tables to make it look like a long one. Or you can rent a large table if you don’t have a table at all.

An alternative to renting is to purchase folding tables from Amazon, Walmart and the like. These folding tables fold for easy storage year after year. Even once you get permanent furniture the folding tables will come in handy for extra seating (kids tables) and other occasions like birthday parties. Then you can either rent tablecloths or purchase simple hotel style table linens available at most big box stores. Once it is clothed and decorated no one will even know the difference!

Lots of different chair styles can also be rented affordably for extra seating. You can add chairs to your rental list as well. An alternative to renting is purchasing some like these bamboo folding chairs. They are my top pick and one of my long-time favorites. They store easily and happen to look great for extra seating ANY time of year.

Once you have these basic staples in place you can set your dining room to like a pro. Add a garland, centerpieces, candles and you will have a beautiful dining room to welcome your guests!

Shortcuts to Setting-Up the Guest Bedroom

The guest bedroom isn’t furnished yet and friends or relatives are coming to stay in your new home for maybe the first time!

“There’s Room at the Inn” Hack:

If you have a mattress and don’t have a bed frame, the basic metal ones are available at the sleep stores for $50 and under is a good temporary fix. This is the quickest and cheapest solution if you are not ready to commit to a headboard or permanent bed frame. The metal bed frame gets the mattress off the floor and creates an illusion of a proper bed.

Next, make the bed up with some nice sheets. There are a lot of affordable options at places like Home Goods and West Elm and even Target.

Utilizing a sleep sofa in your home, if you currently have one, can be another option. Use that space and set it up to welcome guests. Open the sofa bed and have it fully made with lots of pillows. A good idea on most sleep sofas is to also buy a nice mattress pad for additional comfort and support.

If there’s no wall-to-wall carpet or area rug in the space- add one- it makes a big difference! Sisals are easily available and very affordable online. If you want to shop local, Redi-Cut in Westport has lots of remnants available, or even Home Goods will have things to fit the bill.

If the walls are looking bare, add some fun wallpaper by using peel and stick wallpaper on one accent wall (behind the headboard or back of the bed). This can make the room more put together. I love the peel and stick wallpaper from Kerri Rosenthal.

Make sure to also add a nice vase of fresh flowers on the end tables for your guests and a candle. These special touches will make your guests feel at home and welcome.

Getting Your Home Ready for Guests

Get Your Living Room Ready for Guests

You haven’t replaced your sofa yet and you find it to be an eyesore. You were hoping to donate it or to relocate to the basement for the kids. The living room is one of the most visible rooms of your home and probably one of the first things you should work on for getting your home ready for guests.

The “Take a Seat” Hack:

The easiest and most affordable way to refresh your old sofa is to add throw pillows and a soft textured throw. You can find very affordable pillows and throws at Home Goods and West Elm. However, if the upholstery looks tired and throw pillows are not enough, you can cover it up with pre-made slipcovers.

Work on your coffee table by placing candles, a stack of interesting coffee table books, a low bowl or tray on the coffee table. Even if your coffee table was also a piece you were hoping to replace, all the items you have on the table will take the focus off your not so attractive coffee table.

Shortcuts to Creating a Festive Bar

You don’t have a bar or a bar cart.

The “Belly on up to the Bar” Solution/Hack:

Set up a festive bar by using trays on the counter or the kitchen table. Lacquer and Lucite trays make great stations for drinks and barware. Carve a corner of counter space in the kitchen for your drink station.

Getting Your Home Ready for Guests

Make Your Front Door Inviting

Easily forgotten and sometimes just too busy to care. BUT first impressions are everything so don’t forget to welcome your guests in style even before they step into your home. Start with the front door when you are getting your home ready for guests.

The “Judging a Book by its Cover” Hack:

Make sure you have a fun, stylish doormat but more important a clean one. Fill planters with magnolia leaves, white birch logs, LED twig lights, pinecones and more. These are very easy arrangements that do not take a green thumb to maneuver. No real planting involved, just some base of soil to stick everything into. And don’t forget to hang a beautiful wreath on the front door.

Getting Your Home Ready for Guests

I hope these decorating shortcuts will help you in getting your home ready for guests.

About Jill Kalman

Interior Designer, Jill Kalman was raised in a family-owned antique and auction business. Constantly surrounded by furniture, art, textiles and décor, it seemed only natural that after years of careers in corporate Sales and Marketing roles with luxury brands like Tiffany and Co. and Neiman Marcus to move into her true passion- Interior Design. So in 2009 after completing the Design Certificate Program at Fairfield University, Jill started her own firm.

Jill designs spaces for families moving from a large city to the suburbs. She is your guide to designing a home that embraces family and feels welcoming and inviting. Her services (which also now include digital) allow you to take the reigns with the guidance of a pro. She feels your home should be the place you want to come back to Every. Single. Time. Stay tuned in 2020 for another digital design package and her new podcast Welcome Home! Website: Jill Kalman Interiors

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Suburbs 101 is an online lifestyle guide for the New York Suburbs of Westchester County, Long Island, Fairfield County and Northern New Jersey.  Get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to live in the New York suburbs through our interviews with local suburbanites and features on Food, Fashion, Home, Travel, and Local Events. Be sure to Follow Us on InstagramLike Us on Facebook and subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter.

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