Get ready for guests this Christmas
Get ready for guests this Christmas
Make your celebrations merry and bright this year! Read on for our room-by-room guide to entertaining, from how to fit everyone around the table to creating a gorgeous guest room…
Feature image: Wychwood Woodburner, ACR Stoves
A place to curl up
Making the lounge cosy and festive is all part of the fun. If you don’t have a fire, you can add a stove for instant appeal. They can produce 90% fewer emissions than an open fire.
To be as green as possible, look at those granted EcoDesign Ready approval. And consider what you burn. The Government’s Environment Bill came into force in February and affects homeowners with woodburners and multifuel stoves. Vicky Naylor, general manager of ACR Stoves advises: “Always look for responsibly sourced pre-packed wood with the Woodsure “Ready to Burn” logo on, as this guarantees your wood has less than 20% moisture, helping to protect our health, as well as our planet. Seasoned, dry logs are always the best fuel as they combine sustainability with low carbon energy, which is renewable in our lifetime.”
Add throws, textured cushions, a new rug and even some new lined curtains to keep out winter drafts. Candles on the mantelpiece or sideboard can add to the ambience if you don’t have a fire. And install dimmer switches or plugs to your lights to help you create the mood you’re after. If you’re short on lighting and have no time to call in an electrician, we love the rechargeable light from Pooky and Matthew Williamson, which looks like a regular table lamp but doesn’t need to be near a socket so you can take it from room to room as needed. Add some extra light to a dining table, or even pop it into the bathroom to add atmosphere.
A projector and screen and a popcorn maker are a fun addition for your festive films.
The cocktail hour
Whether you’re going for full-on party vibes or inviting friends over for a quiet cocktail, there are some gorgeous ways to create a home bar area. Go for an Art Deco cocktail bar for an opulent look. Audenza has a gorgeous range of cocktail trolleys and accessories, or for an upcycled version try Conscious Cubby or a local antiques centre.
A set of striking glasses and a cocktail shaker will add the finishing touches.
Nests of tables and ornate and jewel toned cushions are useful additions when you have extra guests looking for a place to perch their drink or a spot to sit.
IMAGES: Splashback wallpaper, Lime Lace. Art Deco drinks trolley, velvet armchair, sunburst mirror, Audenza. Nesting Tables, Atkin & Thyme. Extending dining table, Made to Last. Mongolian cushion, The French Bedroom Company. Cocktail glasses, Audenza. Pink and green lamps, Pooky x Matthew Williamson. Merino throw, Country Mouse
Just how many people can you fit around your dining table? An extendable option makes life so much easier when you’re entertaining a large group but need something more compact for everyday living. Look for reclaimed wood or wood from sustainable sources. Check how many chairs will comfortably fit. A bench is a great option for squeezing more in.
If you’re having a big dinner party, make sure you will have enough crockery, cutlery and glasses. You could hire rather than buy. Try The Crockery Cupboard for a charming vintage range. Make life easier with tablescaping packages, with everything colour-coordinated to add the finishing touches.
If you’re hosting this Christmas Day feast this year, plan ahead on how you can ensure your kitchen is up to the task.
A few simple updates can make a world of difference. Changing cupboard doors or even old chipped handles can make a room look more cared for. Splashbacks, taps and flooring can all be updated easily in time for Christmas. Splashback wallpaper is a super-quick and effective way to freshen up he look and can be dramatic.
The big sleepover
Whether you’re accommodating an occasional overnight guest or have relatives staying for the duration, a comfortable sleeping area is a must. If you don’t have a spare bedroom, then consider screening off an area of the living space or a corner of the home office. Pick a beautiful ornate screen to add drama as well as privacy. If you’re upgrading your sofa, opting for a sofa-bed offers a simple solution when you have overnight guests. Try before you buy making sure that the converted bed is as comfortable as the seat. If you don’t have the space, an ottoman that folds out to a bed is a great solution. If you have a spare room, make your guests feel welcome with new bedding, and a bedside table and light. Says Georgia Metcalfe, founder and designer of The French Bedroom Company: “Guests often enjoy a few moments of calm in their bedroom, away from the festivities downstairs. For these ‘pause’ moments, place a faux fur throw at the end of their bed, and a mindful book on their bedside table. We place handknitted socks wrapped up in a little parcel on the pillows (it makes a delightful early Christmas gift – and provides Insta moments aplenty on Christmas day!). “Other welcoming touches include scented candles in the bathrooms which we light in the evening, Christmas bedside tissues, bathrobes on the back of bedroom doors (for a lazy Christmas Day breakfast), silk eye masks and finally, an Alka Seltzer tablet in the bedside drawer with a comforting handwritten note!”
Make an entrance
If your hall is somewhat dysfunctional, this is only amplified the minute guests arrive and have to find somewhere to put their coats, bags and shoes. Make space on your hooks by moving all your family belongings to a temporary spot in your wardrobe. Invest in a new coat and umbrella stand, and offer a place to leave muddy outdoor shoes. And get all your winter chores sorted in advance, whether that be getting the boiler serviced or upgraded or ensuring your paths up to the house are well-lit, clear and safe.
En-suites and family bathrooms can be made guest-ready with fluffy matching towels, face cloths and some gorgeous refillable soap and shampoo dispensers. Add candles. We love The White Company’s classic Winter candle. Add some plants, have tiles and grouting cleaned, and upgrade worn and chipped old taps. Bland bathrooms can be brought back to life with some statement lighting