How to be a stress-free host

November 17, 2015

We’re approaching the time of year when we make the most of our homes — guests are expected through the Advent period leading up to and during Christmas, and we’re all thinking hard about how to make sure it’s a special time.

Believe it or not, it’s not hard to spruce up your home for the festive season without getting stressed out — after all, everyone deserves to enjoy Christmas, especially you!

But now is the time to be planning and acting, because the sooner you act the sooner you can relax and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Here are the key areas to focus on



amara_1000557310904516 copyEating is of course a major part of the festivities, so dining space can be at a premium if you are expecting an influx of guests. Whether you have a dedicated dining area in your home or a kitchen-diner, turn this key space into into something very special.

First, assess your assets. Bring out your tableware and check there’s enough for all of your guests. If not, no worries — you can often source extra plates and bowls to match your set from stores or on-line, but if not, you can add plates and bowls in matching or complementary colour palettes and made it look deliberate by alternating them round the table — this type of ‘harlequin set’ is bang on trend.

Debenhams_mats copyA new tablecloth will also help set the scene for a deliciously-set Christmas table. Crisp white is a classic choice that can also be reused throughout the year, but this year look out for gorgeous golds and silvers. Metallics are a key interiors trend at the moment, and look wonderful for a big occasion.

Boost the sparkle by getting crafty and making a pretty table centrepiece by filling a dish with beautiful baubles that match your décor.



marksandspencer_98201993983996 copyIf you expect guests who are going to stay over, make sure they’re going to have somewhere comfy to sleep. Guest rooms might not be used that often, so take a good hard look at yours and ask yourself if the room looking a bit neglected.

The right accessories can make all the difference without a large outlay. Snuggly woollen throws and knitted cushions make the bed look sumptuous, and a new rug adds colour and comfort underfoot.

In the depths of winter, warm hues and good lighting are important. If you have the time and inclination to redecorate your guest room opt for dark, rich reds or chocolates and charcoals to make the room feel welcoming and snug. Even if you don’t have much to spend, a new blind can make all the difference in sprucing up a room. They are a useful and contemporary way to make the most of whatever daylight is available, while maintaining privacy.



If your bathrooms need to be shared, clear out all the clutter with the help of clever storage baskets in natural woven materials — matching towels and a few carefully-chosen ornaments smarten the room in a jiffy.

Get your lighting right -- Dome light and LED candles from BHS



Little touches of warm colour throughout the house help — glass bottles or vases grouped by colour on the windowsill will reflect the winter light during the day, and lamps with deep-hued lamp shades provide intimate pools of useful light for the night time.

And once it’s done, try to relax. Your guests are coming to see you and your loved ones — and Christmas just can’t happen without a happy host!