Whether you’re hosting a holiday cocktail party, or having family set up in the guest room, tis the season to spice up your digs.  With only 4 weeks or less to go, here is Your Designer Friend’s survival guide countdown.

We’ll call this challenge: Operation, Spice up our digs holiday style!

4 weeks to go:  Still loads of time!

In the design world, tis the season for panicked client calls.  That idea they had 6 months ago to update a few things needs to now be done immediately!  Company is coming and we want our home looking its best.  There is still hope! 

Many suppliers offer a selection of furnishings on quick ship (1-2wks delivery).  Whether it’s a new sofa, table or dining chairs, you can order now and be company ready in under 4 weeks. 

 Try adding new dining chairs around your existing table, for a fast and high impact update.  Spot Home can custom finish and upholster a set of dining chairs tailored to the modernist, and traditionalist alike.  Try their Suzanne Chair in hide hair. Black and silver table décor will sparkle a little brighter with these ladies in the room. 

Holiday Tip:

Pull out your existing clear glass vases, all shapes and sizes.  Cluster them together down the centre of the table.  Fill each one with its own style and size of Holiday balls, all in shades of black, pewter and silver.  The safest way to style for the holidays is to pull from your everyday personal home style and colours.


Suzanne Chair, black lacquer with hide hair by Spot Home $675.00

3 weeks to go: Set the mood

Brighten it or dim it, lighting is key!  Replace a dated dining room fixture, update your washroom sconces, and have dimmers installed along with them.  An electrician can complete these simple jobs starting at $100. 

Aristocrat Lighting in Toronto will custom make a show stopping chandelier tailored to zany style and budget.  They stock stunning crystal pieces, and are my secret go to source for contemporary over shades and custom sized hand made lights. 

Budget tip:

Change the bulbs!  Cheat a little and replace all your light bulbs with a low wattage option just before guests arrive.  If you can’t have a dimmer, pretend you do. 


Drop Chandelier, matte black shade with crystal tear drops by Aristocrat $425.00

Week 2:  Don’t panic, Stage it

All great party and event planners know, a few key details can transform any space. With two weeks to go, it’s time to focus on the little things.  Art, cushions, drapery and holiday accessories.

Try theming your home accessories for the season. Replace living room accessories with festive colours like a grass green throw and crisp white cushions.  Style your guest washroom with brick red hand towels and add a vase with a single holly branch.  

For a slick and modern facelift try new pewter drapery panels and an affordable art investment in the season’s hottest neutral, grey.

Don’t fret if the drapery is not hemmed to length for your party, let the panels pool on the floor!  Guests will be none the wiser and they’ll look luxurious!


Pleatta drapery panel, Umbra $52.50 / panel

One week to go: Dress it up

Take a deep breath, put on your comfy shoes and hit the mall.  It’s time to stop worrying about your space and focus on you.  For you ladies, go immediately to the local nail bar.  We love 10 Spot on Queen in Toronto.  Get a manicure and peruse the magazines; get inspired and refreshed. 

Your second task is to buy a sports coat or new cocktail dress.  If you're pinching holiday pennies buy accessories for the hot little black number you already have.  I like to hit the bead stores on Queen West.  For $7.00 you can buy lengths of thick chain.  Buy a few, join them with a ribbon and layer several, chunky style.   Fellas, a classic bow tie can be picked up in Kensington market fo $3.00.  pop it on under a black v neck sweater wih a crisp white collared shirt.

ETA: Today!

Now, for your final task, I’m going to make it easy on you.  Buy a 2 or 3 packages of organic strawberries and a standard round fish bowl from the dollar store.  Dump the berries in the bowl, put it on the counter beside chilled Preseco and enjoy your guests.  It’s time to relax.

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