It’s the most wonderful — and the most expensive! — time of the year, especially when getting your house ready for visitors. But we’ve put together a list of ways to welcome guests in style without breaking the bank.
Below, experts reveal simple tricks to prepare your place — on a dime.
Guest Bathroom Ideas
Create a welcoming bathroom for 75% off.
“Making little tweaks to a guest bathroom, like updating cabinet and drawer pulls or towel racks, is a great way to give it a fresh look. Shop the clearance section at stores like Lowe’s or Ace Hardware to find supplies discounted at up to 75 percent off retail! Pro tip: Before purchasing new hardware, make sure it fits with previous hardware drilling holes.” — Lori Felix, money-saving expert at MoreWithLessToday.com
Color Light Bulbs
Change the look of a room with lights.
“Most of us don’t have the time or money to paint the house before guests arrive. Instead, 'touch up' a room by swapping regular light bulbs for colored ones. They can be picked up cheaply at places like The Home Depot or Walmart. Soft red, blue or yellow low-watt lights create a zen-like atmosphere while helping wall scuffs or paint chips go virtually unnoticed. And try adding a few drops of peppermint or pine essential oil to the bulbs. As they warm up, the scent distributes through the room, making the whole house feel festive without breaking the bank.” — Dorothy Breininger home organizer at DorothyTheOrganizer.com
Cheap Guest Room Items
Stock up on toiletries on the cheap.
“What guest wouldn’t love arriving to personalized toiletries? Simply buy some travel-size bottles, like the Equate Grab-N-Go 3 Fl. Oz. Flip Top Travel Bottles ($3.12 for 4-pack, Walmart), fill with shower essentials and label with patterned duct tape and a Sharpie. Or visit Minimus.biz to order travel-size toiletries. They offer free shipping for purchases over $20.” — Judy Woodward Bates, founder of Bargainomics.com
Cheap Phone Chargers
Fill a guest room with essentials for $1.
“I take a trip to the dollar store to look for bargain buys for travel-weary visitors. I’ll pick up granola bars and snacks, a power strip for phone chargers, a night-light so guests can navigate unfamiliar hallways and maybe a scented candle to add ambience—all for a few bucks! Another great idea: I always buy a binder and create a guest handbook that includes key data like Wi-fipasswords, alarm codes and remote control instructions.” — Elaine Griffin, author of Design Rules: The Insider’s Guide to Becoming Your Own Decorator ($25, Amazon)
Deals On Bed Sheets
Score a deal on mix-and-match sheets.
“Instead of buying a matching sheet set for $50 or more, head to the clearance area in department stores or places like Bed, Bath & Beyond or HomeGoods and choose individual items like pillow cases and sheets in various patterns that are related by color. This allows you to create your own set of sheets for guests that looks like it came together for 70 to 90 percent less!" — Charmaine Wynter, owner of CharmaineWynter.com
Diy Christmas Ornaments
Bring new life to old ornaments.
“Your holiday decorations seem just fine for your family, but with guests coming to visit, you may want to take it up a notch. Ask nearby friends, check out what’s being offered for free on local Facebook groups or put a request on neighborhood sites like NextDoor.com, asking if anyone has holiday items they no longer want. We all have at least some holiday decor stored in our basement that we’d be happy to get rid of. Keep in mind that even ‘ugly’ decorations can be made beautiful with gold or silver spray paint. You’ll have ‘new’ luxe-looking decor for next-to-nothing!” — Elaine Griffin
Sale On Throw Pillows
Brighten any corner for pennies.
“Place a decorative pillow in a festive color in your living room, colorful bowls on the kitchen counter, or a jar of Christmas tree bulbs in your bathroom to instantly brighten the area. To find pieces that freshen everything up without costing a whole lot, try discount stores like HomeGoods, Ross, or Christmas Tree Shops.” — Sean Juneja, co-founder of Décor Aid at DecorAid.com
Wall Art Decor
Repurpose around-the-house extras.
“You can make major updates to your house without busting your budget with inexpensive touches or easy hacks. For instance, moving existing furniture around changes the flow of a room. Changing the artwork on your walls — even moving a piece from one room to another — makes both rooms look and feel different. You can do the same with mirrors, which can also bounce light around to make a room look bigger: Just group a few small mirrors together or pick up a large one at an estate sale or thrift store to add new life to your guest room.
"Or simply add a seasonal touch, like taping Christmas cards around the frame of a painting or mirror. You could also place joyful accoutrements, like wreaths on doors inside the house or cornucopias on nightstands in the guest room, to liven up any room or hallway with festive glee.” — Sean Juneja
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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