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shutterstock_48974827From cookie exchanges and cocktail parties to family dinners and out-of-town guests (and the occasional drop-by-unannounced ones), your home is the hub of December merrymaking. With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to consider what changes you can make to turn it into the perfect place to entertain guests. While you could easily rack up a big bill creating a holiday makeover wishlist, the following ideas are affordable alternatives that pack a punch without a huge price tag:

Rearrange the Family Room

As you start planning your holiday gatherings, consider how you can rearrange the furniture in the main areas of your home to be more conducive to conversation. For instance, if your family room is arranged around the television, move things around a bit to take the focus off the TV and bring it back to the people who make your life bright. You will likely need to reorganize things to make room for the Christmas tree anyway, so take that reorganization a step further by adding intimate seating areas around the room.

The obvious exception to the above piece of advice is aimed at families who bond over TV. If your home is where everyone gathers to watch the big game or see the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, then you’ll want to optimize the viewing experience, not take away from it. This Samsung article has more about the best viewing angles, viewing distance and screen size for your family room.

Set the Mood

Lighting is a critical element of any party, though often it’s the most overlooked and undervalued detail. Too much bright overhead lighting and the ambiance is too harsh and clinical; too little light in any given area is uninviting and may keep guests away. Find the perfect happy medium by adding dimmer switches on the lights in the main entertaining areas in your home. With dimmers on the lights in the kitchen, living room, family room and dining room, you can control the mood easily and adjust as necessary.

Prep for Holiday House Guests

If you have family coming to stay with you over the holidays, now is the time to inventory your guest linens. Make up the guest room and then try it out yourself, making sure the bedding is cozy and the pillows and mattress are comfortable. Test out the guest bathroom situation as well. Do you need new towels? Is the water pressure in the shower strong enough? Is there enough space for guest toiletries on the countertop? By stepping into their shoes, you can better determine any needs that you may not have considered and adjust your shopping list accordingly. Visit Houzz.com for more ideas on how to be a good host or hostess.

Revive a Space with Textiles

If you’ve grown bored with the living room decor but don’t quite have the budget to completely redecorate, revive the space with new textiles. Swap out old throw pillows for new ones in a variety of sizes and shapes in coordinating colors and prints. Add a new wool blanket over the seat of the couch and replace the rug with a new one. If you’re feeling noncommittal and want a more spirited look, store all of the old stuff until after the holidays and select new textiles that are festive and suited to the season.

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