Brighten your home this Yuletide!

DECEMBER Dcor It is the season of guests, gifts and goodies. This Christmas, A Dyuti suggests some wonderful ideas to liven up your home to blend i

Brighten your home this Yuletide!
The festive season is here. And don’t let it catch you unawares. Guests, gifts and goodies will be frequent and common. To usher in the festive spirit, you can make your home cosy, comfy and hospitable. Here’s how you can spruce up your house for the spate of parties that are to come.

Step one
First de-clutter the house. Yes, it sounds clichéd, I know. But it is a foolproof rule number one. Dispose off any stuff you haven’t touched in the recent past – say, the last one year.
Tidying up is a back-breaking, but inevitable task. Don’t perfunctorily wipe those  surfaces clean, but also dust-tricky areas like corners of bookshelves and gaps between cushions and furniture.
Dust cobwebs off ceilings and walls. Windows, window sills, doors, fan-blades, kitchen counter tops and mirrors are other surfaces that demand cleaning. Wood should be polished and leather vacuumed. Go for new furniture or rearrange the existing lot according to a fresh theme. New colours are also in order for your walls.

Replacing rugs, mats, carpets, cushions and curtains also lends a refreshing look. Light it upDecorating outdoors with serial lights running along rooftops, windows, doorframes and around tree-trunks and bushes is common. Decide between solely white or all-coloured lights. Choose garden lights tastefully. For lighting up an entire large space, ambient lighting, like, bright lights mounted on lamp-posts or fixed to walls, besides hanging lamps are helpful. For hassle-free movement, you need path-lights.

Marine lighting involves the use of underwater lights to illuminate water areas like pools and ponds. Opt for accent lighting, to light up a particular, attractive feature of your garden with down-lights or up-lights, be it a clump of pretty pots, a huge tree or some garden accessory like a statue. How about some wall-lights?

Spike lights are usually scattered around the garden, especially in the flower-beds. Draping twinkle lights around tree trunks is a personal favourite. Depending on your particular lighting scheme, choose from among high-quality, weather-proofed, halogen, LED, solar and traditional garden lights.

Fertilise the lawn with nitrogen and potassium to increase grass-density and reduce space for weed growth. Fine-bladed grasses, which don’t spring back and remain flat even after being trod upon or matting species’ stems turning pale-green/ yellow are sure signs of excessive height. Maintain the former variety at about three to four inches height and the latter at two inches height. For an organic lawn, use organic fertilisers and pesticides instead of chemicals. Uproot weeds by hand as they begin to sprout.

For indoor illumination, use either blinking or steady lights. Conventionally, the most common location for chandeliers was over the dining table. But, today, they are available in mini-sizes (chandelettes) too. They are hung in halls, stairways, bedrooms and even bathrooms! Some come with matching sconces. Outdoor chandeliers can brighten up porches and patios.

Prepare festoons from coloured/golden/silver paper, coloured thermocol balls, designs cut out from old magazines, beads and pearls, twisted thin, plain dupattas and fresh flower garlands.

However, do take care to place lighted candles out of children’s reach. These mustn’t hinder movement either. So also, glass bowls with fresh flowers and floating candles on tables make a pleasant sight.

Green and tall
Now comes the most important Christmas decoration – the Christmas tree! Choose one that’s at least a foot shorter than the room’s ceiling height. Tie up the tree-top to a ceiling hook to prevent it from toppling over. If you’re using a living tree, water it plentifully.

Artificial trees come with ready lights and decorations. Hang the garlands in artistic curves. Start at the top with fewer garlands, increasing their number as you work your way down. Instead of garlands, you could also attach colourful ribbon-streamers to the tree’s top branches,
winding them up to the bottom.
You can stick to a particular theme for their ornaments – say a particular colour-theme like all-silver/all-gold/all-ivory ornaments or the classic Christmas colours of red, green and gold. Other themes could be toys/dolls/stuffed toys, nativity scenes, angels, winter/snow theme. Glass ornaments are best avoided.

Use fake snowflakes/cotton instead of artificial snow-sprays that may trigger allergies. Decorate with silk flowers and coloured bows/baubles/balls/candles too. Arrange gift-boxes, toy-trains and teddies around the tree at the bottom, on the mat/ skirt. The top-ornament, traditionally a star or an angel, is the last addition.
Craft a Christmas dinner-table centrepiece yourself! But, it shouldn’t be monstrously huge or too tall. If you’re using candles, avoid those with an overpowering fragrance. As for ideas for the centrepiece, cluster white and coloured candles of different heights with smart ribbons tied around them and fir leaves/flowers strewn around.

Attractive candelabra, petals/flowers in water in brass basins with floating candles, a clear-glass bowl with pebbles at the bottom and red/white flower-petals and fir leaves on the water’s surface or a pine-wreath on a tray with candles, ornaments and bows make for simple table decoration.

Edible centrepieces look great too! A clear glass bowl filled with colourfully-wrapped toffees, gift-wrapped cake-loaves/fruits in a basket, nuts on a glass platter, fresh red cherries on a white tray interspersed with little candles or a pyramid of Christmas cookies/chocolates on a silver platter make charming pieces as well.

So stop making excuses, get off that couch this winter and get to making your home warm, fun and festive!

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