Got some spare time on your hands over the holiday season? Here are five small things you can do in the home that will make a big difference.

  1. CHANGE THE FRONT HALL LIGHT FIXTURE: The front hall can set the tone for the entire home and creates a first impression for your visitors. Update the look with a new overhead light fixture. Choose a more modern or a classic design that properly illuminates the area and adds some style too. It’s important to dust all light fixtures regularly and to keep the bulb and glass parts clean.
  2. REPLACE A TOILET SEAT: Replacing an old loo seat is a subtle but effective way to improve bathroom decor. You’ll find some of the newer seats offer a range of fancy features. All you need to know is the shape (there are two standard shapes: elongated and round); then visit your local DIY store and choose your favourite. You might opt for a ‘quiet-close’ feature that stops the seat from slamming shut. Some seats have built-in lights under the seat for night-time visits. And, for the man or woman who has everything, there are scented seats too.
  3. FIND A NEW FRONT DOOR MAT: A doormat just inside the front door helps stop dirt from getting walked into the home. But once the mat is worn out, it’s less effective and not very attractive. A new mat should be longer than a typical stride – you should be able to walk across it with both feet before stepping onto floors or carpeting. A good choice is an acrylic mat with either vinyl or rubber backing to prevent slips. Keep it clean by vacuuming or shaking it out at least once a week. Or, hose it down and scrub with a squirt of liquid soap in warm water. Rinse and allow to thoroughly air-dry before putting it down again.
  4. CHANGE THE SKIRTING BOARD: The skirting board along the bottom of the wall affects the look and feel of a room. The most popular style is about three and a half inches tall with a gently rounded top that tapers to the wall. It’s subtle and fits most modern decor. Flat skirting board molding is completely flat and comes in different heights. It’s also versatile and looks good in almost any style of home. Sculpted skirting board is decoratively shaped and looks more formal. Taller sculpted skirting board, of seven inches or more, is recommended for large rooms with high ceilings. If you have kids or pets that might leave scuff marks along the lower part of the wall, a taller skirting board will also give the vulnerable area better protection.
  5. PAINT A WALL OR ROOM: A fresh coat of paint is a simple but very effective way to make everything feel cleaner and brighter. In fact, painting makes a room look, and smell, brand new. Before you select a colour, you might want to test a few on the walls using the mini sample pots that most manufacturers produce.