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How to Spend 5 Minutes Sprucing Up Your Pad for Guests

Got guests coming over and no time to prepare? Don't worry, we've got you covered!

Photo: Mark Lund

You were out walking the dog and finally met that cool-looking couple from down the street. You casually suggested they come over and hang. You didn’t actually expect them to accept the invitation...but they did and now they’ll be over in t-minus five minutes. Eek!

For a quick space-lift, Sara Turner, interior designer and owner of Chicago’s Cure Design Group, says to focus first on ambience. Turn on some background tunes (remember though: not too loud), light a couple of candles, adjust the lighting, fluff your throw pillows and give a quick spritz or two of air freshener.

While one of you jazzes up the living area, the other should hit the kitchen. “If the kitchen isn’t clean, the rest of your house doesn’t look clean,” says Sara. Plus, people tend to gravitate to kitchens. Make sure the dishes aren’t left in the sink and any stacks of junk mail (or stacks of anything else!) are cleared off of the table. (You only have five minutes. Just shove stuff in the dishwasher and your drawers. You can clean for real later.)

Finally, to maximize distractions and offer the illusion that you’re the hostess with the mostest (of course you are), pull out a stylish dish or two and stick a few snacks on the coffee table. (Grapes, cheese, and dark chocolate can seem super-chic, but pretzels and cookies will do fine too.)
Now, quick! Sit down with the remote and act natural.

Want other quick decor fixes? Get inspiration by visiting our gallery!

-- Erin Walters

See More: Decor Tricks , House Guests , How to