Impress guests by giving your home a holiday tuneup. Your guests will greatly appreciate the effort, and you'll get the benefit of a nicer...

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Impress guests by giving your home a holiday tuneup.

Your guests will greatly appreciate the effort, and you’ll get the benefit of a nicer home.

Here are some tips to help you make this holiday season one to remember:

Great guest rooms

Creating a great guest room involves more than just washing the linens the night before visitors arrive.

Take a few minutes to assess the room. Does it feel like a place to sleep or a place to work? Homeowners often use a spare bedroom as an office or a gym, but Aunt Silvia and Uncle Fred don’t want to spend the night nestled next to a computer or a treadmill.

Clean out as much of your stuff as possible before guests arrive. Big items can be taken to the garage, while documents and other important items can be stored in inexpensive plastic containers or neatly in the closet. (Remember, short-term guests will need only a little space for their clothes).

Invest in a few double-duty furnishings. A daybed makes the transition from full mattress to couch, and an armoire can serve multiple purposes.

If you don’t have the dough for new pieces, scour flea markets and secondhand stores for oldies but goodies. A little paint or stain can breathe new life into any piece of furniture.

Don’t forget the extras. A television, a phone and Internet access can help make guests feel at home.

Clean linens are a must. Get rid of worn-out sheets and towels. For less than $20 at most discount stores, you can find high-quality sheets and towels.

Faux guest room

If your guests are going to sleep on the living-room couch for a bit, be sure they have a little space to call their own. Clear out a hall closet, a drawer in the bathroom or a bookshelf so they have some place to store their belongings. Guests will feel uncomfortable if they have to unpack and repack suitcases every day.

Privacy also is important. Don’t let your kids go through your guests’ personal belongings or wander into the living room while guests are sleeping on the couch. Provide an appropriate space for guests to dress and prep for the day.

Clean and make repairs

No matter how you live the rest of the year, clean the house before guests arrive — and keep it clean during the visit.

This will make guests feel more comfortable, and keep the rumor mill to a minimum. Think about how many relatives talked to you about the way a certain member of the family lives!

While you’re cleaning, make a list of what needs to be repaired. Order the tasks from easiest to hardest, so you’re not overwhelmed facing the most difficult task first. Be realistic about what repairs you can get done, and set a timeline.

Once the repairs are complete, you will feel more confident about the way your home looks and feels.

Create a welcoming entry

Spruce up the entry to your home by pulling weeds, raking leaves, installing an outdoor lighting kit, planting a small flower bed or hanging a new wreath on the door.

Guests will feel welcome at their arrival, and you’ll be proud to show off the results of your hard work.

Don’t overdo it

As you prepare for guests, remember to be realistic. Choose home-improvement projects wisely. If you don’t think you can get a particular project done well before the arrival of guests, then don’t start it. There’s nothing worse than staying in a room that’s half done.

The most important thing to remember with all of this is what the holidays are really about — spending time with family and friends.

By getting some minor projects out of the way and preparing accordingly, you will be able to let yourself relax and enjoy the inner bliss this time of the year can bring.

Be Jane is a monthly home-improvement feature in digs. It’s adapted from, the online community created by Heidi Baker and Eden Jarrin.