Heritage Restoration, Inc.

Home Touch Up Tips for Holiday Guests

The holidays bring family and guests into our homes making us want to put out best foot forward. The holidays can also bring us time to conquer those pesky, smaller home improvements. This year your list can focus on minor tasks meant to enhance spaces and give guests greater comfort. These tasks are not a major remodel, rather they are meant to just get it done.

Touching up
Nothing annoys me more than imperfection but I learn to live with it. I get jealous of the “complete house” where everything looks perfect. My house always shows a bit of wear and tear, but there are simple things to make it better. Nicks, dings, and tired finishes can be made to look as good as old without showing glaring inconsistencies.

Clear woodwork finishes can become dirty, dull, and thin out. Most modern woodwork has clear polyurethane, while older houses can have a variety of finishes from tung oil, to varnish, to shellac, to laquer. Some spray polishes can damage varnish or laquer, so start by being gentle and indescrete. A dampened cloth can quickly clean the finish. If your finish is semi-intact or completely dry, you can use a lemon/citrus oil to spruce it up, although eventually it will evaporate. A polish or paste type wax can be used on sound finishes, but they do not mix with oils underneath or on top. Waxing should only be done a few times a year. Read the directions and ingredients of your polish or finish to know what is best.

Paint dings or chips can be easily touched up using the left over paint you saved from the last time you painted. If it is a small area you can break the rules by not scuffing or priming, and use a q-tip to apply the paint. A new paint mix will not match since there are slight variations with each can. Paint also fades over time, so don’t be surprised if it does not match.

Cold spots
Guests don’t know where your home’s “sweet” spots are. You will never make everyone comfortable, but you can do a few tweaks to make it better. Telling them to dress warm is a start, especially for the snowbirds.

Drafty windows can be sealed with temporary plastic films. Bubble wrap over the glass can help insulate the pane, just dampening the glass with a spray bottle and stick it on. Drafty doors can get a door bottom “sock” or a new sweep. You can also get peel and stick weather stripping for the frame, or nail a strip around the edge.

Mess with you heating registers, radiators or sources of heat. You can choke out the hot rooms and open up the cold rooms. This may also be a good time for wifi programmable thermostat, instead of having a guest mess with the heat.

Organization and Storage
No better time to hate your clutter than the winter, especially when you spend more time indoors. There are many how-to ways to improve organization and storage. I have made many boxed shelves out of ¾” plywood, ripped to various widths and a ¼” plywood backing. I have also made shelves from left over and found materials. If you are making wood shelving over 2 feet wide, use a ¾” x 2” nosing on the shelf front, or an intermediate support.

There are plenty of store bought shelving solutions as well as specialty stores that will design and install whatever you desire. There is really no wrong storage, just cheap or inadequate storage.

Basement storage should be conscious of moisture and water. Keep shelving off of the floor using masonry like bricks, concrete blocks, or scrap tile to keep shelving off of the floor. Items stored directly on the floor should remain in watertight bins. My father also taught me to label everything.

The holidays are meant to bring friends and family together for joy and celebration. Yet planning, getting ready, and even the visit itself can bring certain stress and anxiety. So get prepared by making your home as comfortable as possible for you and all you welcome in it.

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