Creating A Holiday-Ready Home

Tara Dickinson
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Tips For Preparing Your Home For a Full Holiday Season

holidayEnd of year holiday time is here! To prepare your home for the hustle and bustle of guests, dinners and parties, relatives coming to stay, and all the other festivities that are about to take place, there are some steps you can take now to have your home holiday ready.

Four basic principles to remember when preparing your dream holiday home that will be outlined below are:

  1. Location and surroundings
  2. Furniture and lighting
  3. Function
  4. Decor style


1. Create a warm welcome

For any overnight guests or longer staying friends and family, make them feel immediately welcome into your home as soon as they arrive.

  • Keep the energy relaxed but excited.
  • Let them decompress right away, take a breath and unwind.
  • Placing a personal welcome letter in their room is a thoughtful and welcoming gesture.
  • A small gift or treat basket also makes your guests feel special and pampered.

2. Cleanliness

It may be obvious to some, but maybe not to others. But everyone feels most comfortable in a clean house. A lovely holiday home starts by investing some time and energy to make your home sparkle.

3. Fresh linens

Going along with the cleanliness principle, having good smelling and freshly cleaned towels and linens is a pure comfort for your guests.

4. Details

People enjoy the feeling of a cozy home, thus paying attention to all the little details that make up a home environment will make the whole holiday visiting experience extra special.

  • Good books and magazines
  • Games
  • Movies
  • Wifi

And let your personality shine, sharing art you enjoy, treasured accessories, and family photos.

5. Stock the pantry

Make your guests feel spoiled this holiday season when visiting your home by also providing a well stocked kitchen and pantry with healthy snacks and treats. Be sure to invite everyone to help themselves so they truly feel like part of your home.


Location and Surroundings

How you begin to set-up your home for the holidays absolutely depends on where you are located and your natural surroundings. For example, a home on the coast with a water or beach themed feeling is going to have different elements of furniture, funcation, and decor than a cabin in the woods. Environmental elements inspire the styling of your holiday home unique to your location.

  • Snow and mountain homes would include lots of texture, fur and knits. Decorated with evergreens, pinecones, and winter-themed items.
  • Coastal homes would have light furniture pieces and nautical colors such as sand, blue, and green.


As your interior style reflects your location in application to furniture and lighting, the aesthetics plus the function need to all be considered when organizing your holiday home as well.

  1. Provide plenty of seating options
  2. Select furniture pieces (dining chairs, armchairs, and outdoor settings) that are easy to move for entertaining purposes, preparing for any unexpected guests.
  3. Having a sofa bed anywhere in the home is a bonus as you can comfortably host additional guests.
  4. Consider the ease of cleaning your furniture pieces when purchasing. Are you willing to clean fabric seats or would wood, recycled plastic, or cushions on harder surfaces be better for your circumstances.
  5. Place furniture in an uncluttered layout, allowing for ease of movement and flow around your home. 


Lighting sets the ambiance and mood of your holiday home. Well-lit, light, and bright spaces lift moods and keep the energy positive and festive.

  • Good lighting is a combination of natural and artificial elements.
  • Prepare windows to be open through the day with good blackout style curtains at night.
  • To control the lighting as the activities and mood changes during the day and evening, place layers of light by using table lamps, floor lamps, wall sconces, ceiling lights and pendants.
  • Installing dimmable switches makes the whole operation effortless.


Now, looking at the function of your home’s spaces will help direct the layout for holiday entertaining, paying special attention to the living and dining rooms. Determining how many people can comfortably hangout in each space will help you figure out the proportion of seating you need in these areas. Also consider the activities your guests will be doing in each area, this can be affected by the location of your home (more indoor activities or outdoor activities?).

  • Coastal houses would need to cater for wet, sandy feet, amazing views of beaches and indoor/outdoor living.
  • Hard flooring with throw rugs is much easier to clean and maintain.
  • Window furnishings should allow for light control and views of nature.
  • Mountain homes need to consider cooler temperatures, stocking the fireplace will supplies; armchairs and lounges that are soft and comfortable with lots of throws and layers of fabrics to snuggle up and keep warm.
  • Keep living rooms or family rooms conversational, as guests are all going to want to spend time together, chatting and entertaining.
  • Two lounges opposite each other, or a U-shaped floor plan will encourage conversation.
  • The size of your dining table and the seating around it will also depend on the space.

Decor Style

On to the fun part, holiday decor style! First, think about the season.

  • For example, Thanksgiving during the fall might inspire dining room décor that plays on the changing colors of leaves, evergreen foliage, branches, berries and other fall themed furniture and decor.
  • Whatever the holiday, traditionally the focal point in a dining room will be the centerpiece on the dining room table.
  • Highlighting it with natural elements that match the holiday being celebrated will create a cozy rustic feel.
  • Other important elements you should think about before transitioning from year-round décor to holiday decorations, is the color scheme you want to stick with throughout your home.
  • You’ll also want to decide if you want to go with a traditional or trendy look.

Focal Point

By picking a focal point in each room and working from there, you’re creating a well decorated space to host your guests. For example, a Christmas tree or fully decorated mantel over the fireplace would be an ideal focal point, where family gatherings, game nights, and holiday events can focus. Your goal is to highlight the most important parts of the room and then use smaller décor to help accent the main focal point.


  • Fireplace mantel- stack books in a basket; add texture with pinecones or leaves and drape greenery along the sides.
  • With the mantel as your centerpiece, add smaller details around the room such as throw blankets and accent pillows.
  • By choosing one focal point in each room you’ll be sure to not overly decorate. 

Cohesive Color Palette

Your style is your own of course but when decorating your home for holiday entertaining and hosting, keeping the surroundings cohesive will help the space feel grounded in the midst of holiday chaos.


  • Trendy looks- mix metallics into your theme colors, in every room. Gold, silver, and bronze add a touch of luxury to your home.
  • Traditional looks- seasonal colors such as oranges, reds, and greens. White and blue. Warm colors can be added by placing a bowl of apples and oranges in the kitchen.
  • Drape colored throws over your couch and add warm colored accent pillows.

BONUS: Cozy Outdoor Spaces

Outdoor spaces might be overlooked when preparing your holiday home, so this is a reminder: don't forget the outdoors!

  • Sweep up those autumn leaves and freshen up your front door by hanging a coordinating holiday wreath that can be changed with each celebration.
  • Front porch- place a couple metal containers around your porch and fill them with foliage and seasonal gourds.
  • Outdoor entertaining area- leave a basket of small blankets by the door, allowing guests to enjoy the outdoor space even in cool weather.
  • Fire pit- place chairs, leave the fire ready to light, and a stack of wood in an easy to see spot. It’s a temptation few can resist and those moments really make memories.



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