MISSION: FEATHER THE NEST
DIY tricks that will impress the
hell out of your holiday guests!
Who doesn't want
their houseguests to go home thinking, "Wow, I wish my
home was like hers!"? Well, you can go out and buy stuff
to impress the hell out of them (see our
things that will impress hell out of your holiday guests" article in the
shopping department). Or you can
use these simple, easy DIY tricks to create a
similar envious effect....
home smell delicious
Infuse your home a wonderful
using smoky incense or chemical-filled air fresheners.
Thirty minutes before your guests
arrive, here's what to do to give your home a...
Sprinkle cinnamon on aluminum foil and place it in an oven
on medium heat. Leave the door open for the maximum
scent of baking bread: Sprinkle vanilla essence or
extract on a loaf of white bread and pop it on the oven
on medium heat.
Sophisticated scent: Place half a cup of coffee beans in
the oven on medium heat.
scent: Spritz a little pine cleaner around. This
cleaning fluid is so pungent, just a little makes guests
instantly believe you've mopped and scrubbed for hours.
cat, dog or other smells you need to get rid of? Heat a
little white vinegar on the stove—it'll
neutralize unwanted scents.
If you're baking a
holiday cake, instead of using full-sized cake pans, use
a mini-bundt pan or your cupcake pan for individualized
Splurge on a
$2 tube of piping gel or decorating icing from the
supermarket and personalize the cakes with
sayings, such as, "The funniest uncle ever" or "My
favorite (okay, only) sister!"
Place vases of
fresh flowers where guests first enter your home—the
where they least expect them, but
where they're sure to go—the
bathroom, kitchen and your bedroom, where coats usually
pile up (or they will undoubtedly snoop!).
favorite humor books or comics off your bookshelves and
put them in the bathroom. This tried-and-true technique
has been putting a smile on the face of even the most
grouchy of holiday guests for centuries.
Don't have any funny tomes
at home? Pick up a copy of
Hobbes' Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster
Snow Goons by Bill Watterson,
Not Fat, He's Just Big Boned by Nicole
Try Rebooting Yourself by Scott Adams or
Monkey Portraits by celebrity photographer Jill
Martha Stewart on them
To add a
touch, make holiday-themed dried cranberry candleholders.
To do it: Fill shallow
glass bowls or wide-mouthed candle holders with dried
cranberries. Then simply set a votive candle in the
center and light. Did we mention it was super-easy?
Everyone's got a
latte maker nowadays. To make a real splash, you gotta
do more, like, say, create latte art like they do in the
chicest coffeehouses. Get a three-minute lesson from
this video on
Don't have a latte machine? Then whip up some cocoa
and cut marshmallows into snowflakes, stars, crescent
moons or hearts and drop them in!
windows. Guests probably won't notice the streak-clean
shine, but they will notice the crisp, bright look that
Four Seasons, Mozart, Handel orother
classical classics on the low volume—so
low it's barely noticeable. It gives guests the feeling
that they're somewhere truly elegant.
lights. They make rooms feel washed out and lifeless.
Turn on lamps around the room instead. Need more?
You don't need to spend hundreds on a set of designer fixtures.
Mixing and matching vintage (read: gently used) lamps creates a homey feel, and can be
bought for a mere $10 to $20 on
TIPS FROM FOUR WEEKS READERS:
"I like to pour
liquid soap into a wide bowl. Then I sprinkle fresh mint
leaves, rosemary and sage into it and put it in the
bathroom. My guests love dipping their fingers into it!"
—Asha Hulle, New York, NY
"All of my
Christmas decorations were broken in a cross-country
move and, of course, I didn't notice until after I had
volunteered to host the office Christmas party. I spent
a little time each evening cutting huge paper
snowflakes, then hung with red ribbon of various lengths
from the ceiling. The room got huge gasps from each
guest who entered. Many of them couldn't believe the
winter wonderland that I was able to create for FREE!"
"When I invite
friends and family over for a party, I leave little
place cards all around that include funny or interesting
facts about each guest. It's an instant ice breaker and
helps people get to know each other better."
—Maryanne Richie, Sausalito, California
"I like to
make it easier for my guests to freshen up when they go
to the bathroom. I leave out breath mints, floss, hair
spray, hand lotion and tester bottles of perfume and
cologne that I pick up when I'm at department stores."
—Tisha McHenry, St. Augustine, Florida
near a lot of pine trees. So I scoop up a whole bunch of
gorgeous pine cones and set them in bowls and place them
around the house. They add a beautiful, natural and
festive touch that my guests always comment on!"
—Emma Bauer, Rockport, Maine
up cakes by using fun-shaped cookie cutters to add
sprinkles or jimmies. My friends and family seem to
appreciate the creative touch."
—Nisha Lightfoot, Brooklyn, New York
your impress-the-guests secrets!
What are your
favorite ways to impress your holiday guests without
spending a bundle? Let us
know and we'll post the best suggestions throughout the