Andrew Dunning

Q.Dear Andrew, we now have guests visiting for Christmas. How can we prepare our home in time?

A.Christmas is a lovely time to have guests but the additional people, decorations and presents can make your home feel very crowded. If you are house-proud then you want your home to look its best at this time of year. The good news is that there is still time to prepare your home and even do some redecoration.

Before you start any work, make time to declutter. We often live with things we no longer need or like, so donate these to the local charity shop.

After decluttering it is a good time to give your house a deep clean before putting up decorations. Consider hiring a professional if you are short of time and have the carpets cleaned – this simple task can make your home feel like new and really freshen up your interior.

Make a list of all the small jobs that you have been putting off and either set aside some time to tackle them or hire a local handyman. Getting the door fixed or replacing broken handles will really improve your interior.

There is still time to do redecoration but be realistic. If you expect to be enjoying the Christmas spirit from early December maybe limit the decorating to creating a feature wall in your living room, or refreshing some of the paintwork. Don’t forget that first impressions count so make your hallway and front door welcoming. See my previous article in City A.M. or my blog

If you want to replace furniture you should go out this weekend to order it. Some suppliers closed their order books several weeks ago but it is still possible to get a new sofa ordered – just don’t rush into a decision to impress your guests.

Your Christmas tree can take up a lot of space so look at whether you can move out some of the furniture either into another room or out of your home into short-term storage? If you are going to have guests staying, try to provide them with wardrobe space. This can be another excuse to declutter and will help to make them feel welcome. Remember that if you are catering for more people than usual you will probably need a larger dining table and extra chairs. Try to organise this well before you need them – does a neighbour who will be away have chairs you can borrow? If you need a large dining table you could consider laying a larger piece of wood over your existing table as a short-term fix and dress it with a good table cloth.

After giving your bathroom a deep clean this is a good place to put festive accessories. Seasonal towels add a fun touch, or use Christmas tea light holders.

Getting organised now will make the Christmas season go smoothly – the season should be about enjoyment, not stress.

Andrew Dunning is head designer at APD Interiors, an interior design consultancy, Follow his design tips on Twitter: @andrewdunning