Quick fixes to get your home ready for Christmas guests

A Christmas wreath on a front door. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

A Christmas wreath on a front door. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos - Credit: Archant

Festive decor will hide a multitude of sins but you can’t cover up dirty grout or stained worktops with holly. Here are some essential jobs

The living room at Christmas. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

The living room at Christmas. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos - Credit: Archant

1. Hanging a festive wreath on your front door will smarten it up, but only so much. For a quick revamp, fill and sand the (wooden) door, where necessary, and then repaint it using a water-based exterior wood paint if it’s cold and drying conditions are poor. Available in lots of lovely colours, Ronseal 10 Year Weatherproof Wood Paint (from £15.63 for 750ml, B&Q) is a good choice because it flexes with the wood, is weatherproof in just an hour and guaranteed for 10 years. It dries even on the cold days we’ve been having, and any you get on the glass scrapes off easily without tearing the paint on the wood.

2. If you need to repaint rooms before friends and family arrive, Dulux Endurance+ emulsion is great for busy rooms like hallways, landings and open-plan spaces because it’s 20 times tougher than standard Dulux emulsion, and washable without fading. Endurance+ comes in a range of colours, including Polished Pebble (£26.48 for 2.5ltr, dulux.co.uk), an elegant soft grey.

3. Is getting the guest room ready top of your DIY list? According to a survey of 2,000 British homes for Travelodge in 2013, those surveyed with blue bedrooms got most sleep, so it could be time to repaint it a soothing shade of blue. If you need a guest mattress and don’t have much storage space, Casper mattresses (from £350 for a single, casper.com/uk/en) are ideal because they come in a box, so are easy to store until needed. They simply unfurl from the box, as they’re made of different layers of foam, including memory foam, and offer a 100-night free-return trial.

4. Wooden kitchen worktops tend to stain. If cleaning doesn’t remove the stains, sand them, clean off the sanding dust with methylated spirits (or white spirit) and apply worktop oil. It’s important to protect the worktop before using it again, so only start this job if you have time to apply enough coats of oil – see the manufacturer’s instructions for drying and recoating times. Test if you’ve done enough coats by splashing a few drops of water on the worktop – if they sit on the surface as beads, you have.

The guest bedroom at Christmas. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

The guest bedroom at Christmas. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos - Credit: Archant

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5. In both the kitchen and bathroom, dirty and discoloured tile grout looks tatty. The quickest and easiest way to give discoloured white grout a new lease of life is to scrub it with grout cleaner and then use a grout paint/pen to whiten it. Badly discoloured grout probably won’t look like new, but it should look better.

Cleaning bathroom tiles. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos

Cleaning bathroom tiles. PA Photo/thinkstockphotos - Credit: Archant

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