Written by Andrew Dunning of APD Interiors
Read APD Interiors’ blog here – www.apdinteriors.com
As we move from the warmer summer months into autumn and winter, it is a good time to think about finishing the list of small jobs you have been putting off.
The Christmas season is a time when everyone gets together to celebrate so you will want your home to look it’s best.
Our list of the top 10 tips will help to put your home in order for your visitors.
1. Tidy the front of the house
As we all know first impressions count and this is just as important when someone arrives at your home. We often neglect the front of our home; now is a good time to get it looking smart. Ensure your front gate closes correctly, and if it is wrought iron consider repainting it – this is an easy task and will also help with the weatherproofing. A well painted front door is another easy way to improve your entrance for little outlay. Also try to have a well-lit entrance to your home as you will be arriving home in the dark over the winter months. The lighting will also be more welcoming to guests.
2. Draught proof your windows
If you live in an older house with sash windows they will often be draughty and rattle in the wind. To make your home more comfortable and to reduce your heating bills, you should renovate your windows before the cold weather sets it. Specialist window companies can remove the existing frames, route the frame and add draught proofing strips and then replace them. On a simpler level you could consider using secondary glazing film; this is easily applied but surprisingly effective.
3. Change your curtains
In the warmer summer months it is nice to keep your windows clear of any window treatment to allow the sun in. The winter months are very different and we all feel the need to retreat inside. If you can it is nice to have a richer heavier pair of curtains to use over winter. When you change the curtains it will instantly change the mood of the room. Using a traditional check pattern is a lovely choice for winter and Christmas. Rich berry tones will also add a warm tone for the colder months.
4. Preparing for extra guests
If you are entertaining over the next few months it will generally be inside so you might need to make arrangements to seat extra people. An extendable table can work really well if you need to occasionally seat extra guests. Remember to plan for the extra chairs needed, uncomfortable collapsible chairs will not be popular with your guests. If you have two formal chairs elsewhere in your home you can use these for the hosts when needed. This will also add an eclectic style to your dining table.
5. Review your lighting
The mood of a home is enhanced by lighting, and as the nights start to get darker your lighting becomes more important. Adding dimmers where possible will help to set the mood if you intend to entertain. You can also put a small lamp in the corner of your room to help to create atmosphere. A kitchen is a good place to situate this, especially as most of the lighting will be overhead in this room. If you install a timer onto the fitting it will always welcome you home on the dark nights.
6. Service your heating system
Before the cold weather arrives it is a good idea to get your heating system overhauled by a professional. A well maintained system will not only ensure that your home is warm, but a more efficient boiler will also reduce your bills. Ensure that your pipes are lagged where possible to protect them from the cold. Burst pipes are a major cause of home insurance claims but this can easily be avoided by using pipe jackets. Also set your thermostat and radiator valves to provide a temperature that is even and average throughout the whole place.
7. Declutter your home
Often offered as advice but generally ignored, decluttering your home can make a huge difference to the enjoyment of your home. Over the colder months we tend to spend more time at home and it will be more fun if you aren’t surrounded by junk! Tackling the task in small time chunks will ensure you get it done more efficiently – don’t spend the whole day decluttering as you will soon lose interest.
8. Have the carpets and upholstery cleaned
Having your carpets and upholstery cleaned is a very simple way to freshen up your home for the winter months. The most effective way to do this is to ask a professional cleaning company to visit with a steam cleaner. Steam cleaning gives a very deep clean but it doesn’t wear down the fibres in your carpets. A professional cleaner can also clean your upholstery and curtains.
9. Install a sound system
If you are planning to entertain over the winter, and especially at Christmas, this is the time to get ready for some dancing! With the advances in WiFi it is very easy to add a good sound system to your home without having wires everywhere. WiFi sound systems can access the music stored on your computer and play it through wireless speakers. If you want to have a more upscale installation you could consider speakers in the ceiling to give music throughout your home.
10. Check the exterior structure
After ensuring that the interior of your home is ready for the cold months it is worthwhile taking a walk around the outside and reviewing the structure. You should check that your roof is sound with no missing tiles or visible damage. While you are checking the roof you should also look at the guttering – there will be more rainfall so will the gutters cope? Also pay attention to the brick work, air vents and drainage to ensure everything can cope with the colder weather.