By Yuka Kato
Every December, millions of people around the world gather together with family and friends to celebrate the season. And whether it’s your first time hosting, or your 50th, many people experience some degree of anxiety and stress surrounding the holiday season. Part of this includes ensuring that your home matches your standards, both in aesthetics and in function.
While there’s no way to eliminate all the stress this holiday season, these 5 tips will help you ensure that your home doesn’t have to be one of the causes.
Light Up Your Home
Many holiday parties take place after dark, and with the shorter days at this time of year, darkness may descend as early as late afternoon in many areas. So, make sure that your is well-lit and that your exterior and front walkway are safe to navigate after dark.
Consider installing some Christmas lights to help create a festive atmosphere for your guests, and make sure that you update your outdoor lighting if your front walkway and steps aren’t as illuminated as they should be.
Use any of these guides depending on the context.
Warm Up Your Home Efficiently
Extra people mean extra utility costs as you try to keep your home warm and lit throughout the season. Keep your guests toasty without sacrificing on your heating bills later by installing some new, energy efficient heat sources.
According to the Energy Saver Guide put out by Energy.gov, installing a smart thermostat ($200 - $250) can save you about 10% on your heating bills all by itself. To save even more, consider installing a geothermal heat pump ($7,500), which is the most efficient method of heating your home,
particularly if you currently have electric heat installed.
Create the Perfect Seating Area Around Your Fireplace
Fireplaces are natural gathering places within a room, particularly when you have a roaring blaze already lit. So, make the most of this area by focusing your interior design here and turn it into the perfect conversation area.
Start by framing out the space in front of the fireplace with a throw rug to define the area and visually separate it from the rest of the room. Next, stack some large, floor-sized throw pillows nearby. Set chairs or love seats at angles to one another, so that guests can both see the fire and speak comfortably to one another at the same time. Finally, make sure to either set some tray tables nearby, or invest in a pair of end tables to set on either side to hold things like plates and drinks.
Renovate your Kitchen to Streamline Dinner Preparation
There’s an old saying, “No matter where I seat my guests, it seems they like my kitchen best.” And it holds true today, with many people ending up in the kitchen during a holiday gathering as you prepare and serve the food. So, if your kitchen is out of date or cramped, consider remodeling.
A full kitchen remodel costs around $20,000 for mid-range designs and appliances or around $101 a square foot. Keep in mind that full scale remodels do take several weeks to complete, so if you’re in a hurry, you may want to invest in more cosmetic updates like a fresh paint job, new counter and sink, or a new backsplash instead.
Create a Place to Entertain
One holiday tradition that many families take part in is the watching of holiday specials. Treat your guests to a better movie experience by creating a home theater setup in your home.
Home theaters can be dedicated spaces complete with acoustic soundproofing, or you can just upgrade your viewing and sound equipment and seating in your living room instead. Either way, a home theater is something that you can use year-round after the holidays are over, enhancing your home and property values at the same time.
A full home theater setup costs around $1,300 including a 48-inch TV and audio setup.
Treat Your Guests Right
The holidays may be stressful, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy them, too. Take the time to get your home ready for your holiday guests, and get more out of the time you spend with family and friends when they visit your home.