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Living Space: Freshen up your home for holiday visitors

By By Kathryn Weber
Nov. 21, 2013 at 5:21 a.m.

Nothing is as welcoming as a roaring fire and a beautifully dressed fireplace during the holiday season.

As the year winds down, it can seem like the calendar moves faster and faster. The truth is, there's just a lot more to do this time of year, putting a real premium on your time.

With guests coming for the holiday season, you want your home to look its best, but what if you don't have the time or energy for a decorating overhaul?

Use these tips to pull your home into shape and have it looking great for family and guests right into the new year:

Touch up paint. Whether it's fingerprints or scuff marks on walls, a quick inspection and cleaning of dirty woodwork and walls will make every room look better instantly.

Make a welcoming entrance. Add a small table, a pretty mirror or painting and some chairs to spruce up your entryway. Tuck in some seasonal flowers or foliage to complete the look.

Smarten up your guest room. Keep a basket with cellphone chargers in the room, add a bottle of body lotion to sooth dry winter skin and provide a pair of slippers. Change bed coverings to luxuriously warm or jewel tones to reflect the season.

Steam clean carpets. When the rugs are clean, the whole house feels clean and bright and smells fresh.

Dust light fixtures. Using a soft brush, dust overhead lights, ceiling fans and glass and metal shades so they gleam.

Add foliage. Trim seasonal branches and add them to vases. Add one in the foyer, on a patio, on the hearth or next to the fireplace and in cozy corners throughout the house. Whether it's a small bunch of tender winter berries or a large branch of fall leaves, foliage adds a welcoming touch.

Use the warmth of bronze and tarnished brass to add a warm, golden glow to your rooms. Spray paint simple ginger jar lamps with gold paint or bring brass and glass outdoor lanterns indoors to warm up a fireplace mantle or dining room table. Try spiking white pillar candles with textured or polished brass tacks to add a touch of sparkle.

Spruce up the guest bath. With Thanksgiving near, add a small bouquet of pumpkin-colored flowers on the counter along with a small pumpkin carved to hold a tea light candle. Add some luxurious scented soap and new plush hand towels.

Use burlap. Burlap can be easily and inexpensively fashioned into placemats, table runners or used as a whole tablecloth for a rustic, natural look. Use burlap ribbon to create bows for wreaths or chairs. Try tying it into napkin rings. Tuck in a sprig of greenery, and you've got an easy yet elegant place setting.

Emphasize the fireplace. Over the holidays, nothing is as welcoming as a roaring fire and a beautifully dressed fireplace. Add greenery, candles and seasonal touches to make your fireplace the starring attraction in the living room or den.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui ezine. For more information, contact Weber through her website, redlotusletter.com.

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