The Holiday-Ready House
20 ways to make your digs more functional, safe, and guest-friendly
The fire's blazing, the hors d'oeuvres tasty, the tree a-twinkle...but if your guests slip on a wet floor or shiver through dinner, no one will remember those lovely details. Use our cheat sheet to help make your home comfortable for everybody, from your baby niece to Great Uncle Harry.
Replace blown-out bulbs in exterior lights.
Scatter sand or kitty litter on slippery steps.
Knock away icicles hanging above the front door—no skewering your guests!
Add a dimmer switch to the hallway fixture (soft light = instant mood-setter).
Roll out a runner to absorb slush and snow.
Fix squeaky hardwood floors by sweeping graphite powder into the cracks.
Ratchet down the thermostat by 3 degrees F—guests hate sweating over their holiday cocktails.
Keep area rugs in place with double-sided tape to prevent tripping and slipping.
Treat fabric-covered furniture with a protective spray, such as Scotchgard, so that spills don't become a permanent record.
Plug up window drafts with weatherstripping or caulk.
Add seat cushions, especially for folding chairs, to ward off marathon-meal butt numbness.
Fill scratches in the dining room table with colored paste wax.
Scrape away deposits from the series of flush holes under the toilet bowl rim so that guests don't have to double flush.
Replace the washer or O-ring on an annoyingly drippy tap.
Rinse out grit from the faucet's filter screen to keep the water flowing.