The time between Halloween and New Years is probably the single worst time of year to do any kind of major home remodeling. Between guests, celebrations, tight budgets from gift-giving, and just good old fashioned bad weather, there’s a lot stacked against end-of-the-year renovations. But this is also the time of year where people that don’t usually see your home are the most likely to – whether that means friends, relatives, or even co-workers, which means it’s the season you most want your home to shine. So if you want to spruce up your home for the holiday season, these five ways won’t break your budget, and don’t require any messy demolition or construction.
New Furniture (Or At Least New Furniture Covers)
While you probably don’t want to knock any walls out in the middle of the holiday season, swapping out some of your furniture is actually one of the easiest ways to get a fresh knew look in any room in your house. Now, I’m not suggesting that you go out and buy yourself a Christmas couch or anything like that. But if your furniture is looking a little tired anyway – whether you’ve been wanting a new accent table or an entirely new sofa set – this is a good, sale-packed time of year to make the change. With a good delivery service (and possible haul-away for your old items) the whole process is minimally invasive and can make a huge difference in the way your major gathering spaces look when your guests arrive.
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That said, “buy a new sofa” isn’t exactly the most budget-friendly advice I’ve ever given. And while adding a sassy new side table is a little more reasonable (and can have almost as big an impact!), if you hate hate hate your sofa and chairs but aren’t quite ready to replace them, another good, much more affordable option is to invest in high-quality furniture slipcovers. It’s easy to throw a decorative blanket and some festive pillows on your sofa and seat cushions on your dining chairs and call it done, but the best quality slipcovers are less like throwing a sheet over your sofa and hoping no one notices, and more like getting your furniture reupholstered. With something like the Couture Covers collection from Bailey Street, you can even change out your furniture slipcovers by occasion or season and get what looks like an entirely new chair.
Add A (Ventless) Fireplace
To me, having a fire in the fireplace is the truest sign of the holidays. But if you don’t have a fireplace or don’t use the one you have because it’s cumbersome and messy, you might think your holiday season is destined to be toasty-hearth free. But new, ventless fireplaces can be installed in places where traditional fireplaces can’t, and the use a completely clean-burning liquid fuel, which means no messy maintenance. Depending on your budget (and whether or not you want to use it year round) ventless fireplaces range from about the size of a small flat screen TV that can mount directly to your wall all the way down to small table-tops that make for a unique, dramatic holiday centerpiece.
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I’ve seen a lot of suggestions for great ways to update your kitchen on a budget, but if I had to name one project that makes every top-five list, it would be changing out your door and drawer pulls and other decorative hardware. For a long time I sort of rolled my eyes at this, because how big a difference can it really make? The answer is, more than you think – it’s a small, almost purely cosmetic alteration that won’t take you more than an hour to do, but adding decorative knobs (especially if you don’t have any door or drawer pulls already) is surprisingly eye-catching, and a good way to help visually unify and update your kitchen for the holidays and beyond.
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Give Yourself Some Work Space
The whole holiday season is a time for family, giving, and gratitude. But it’s also a time for food, and with great food comes a whole lot of cooking. More than any other time of year, you’re likely to need more kitchen real estate than you have, but it’s not exactly the best time to install that new double oven or induction cooktop. Heck, it’s an even worse time to try to install a custom kitchen island, which can mean massive work and a total shut-down of your kitchen during the holidays – the time you need it the most. But pre-made, free-standing kitchen islands and kitchen island carts install more like moving in a table than building a new set of counters and cabinets, while giving you tons of extra work space (including a massive butcher block) without the muss or fuss.
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Impress Your Guests
I’ll admit, this last one really has nothing at all to do with the way your house looks, but everything to do with showing off for holiday company – which, as well all know, is the real meaning of the holiday season (right?). Installing a towel warmer in the bathroom your guests will be using is a nice little surprise that screams luxury. Even your mother in law is more likely to be pleasant if she wakes up to a warm bathroom, and steps out of the shower to a nice hot towel. The best part is, if you get a floor mount (rather than wall-mounted) version, you can just unplug it and move it into your master bath after the holiday season is over. Just be careful to get an electric towel warmer (NOT! hydronic, which need to be linked to a radiator system or your water heater) , and double check to make sure it’s one that plugs in rather than requiring electrical wiring, or you might end up with a little more work than the holidays can handle!
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So this year if putting up twinkly lights and some greenery or a few gourds doesn’t quite seem like enough to get your home holiday ready, consider taking a bigger step. Unlike your Christmas tree or lawn ornaments, it’ll last you well past the new year! How are you planning on dressing up your home for the holidays?