For those times when guests drop in with a few minutes notice, here are my magical tips for a pretty room and cozy atmosphere in a snap !
Forget vacuuming, you´ll just make the air dusty,. If you must, sweep the most obviously dirty spaces. Obviously, this will be much easier if you´ve been following the 15-minute home cleaning method.
Get a basket or box, and throw in anything that doesn´t belong to the room. Now shove said basket somewhere, you´ll deal with it after the guests are gone. BTW, it´s a good idea to have a basket and some hiding places around.
Don´t bother about picking up all the toys, kid´s stuff is not classified as a mess by most guest´s brains.
Clear the table. One surface that is clean and empty, will make the rest of the room look and feel calmer. You are allowed to put one decorative thing on the table, like a vase of flowers.
If you don´t have a table find another surface to clear.
Light candles or votives, they instantly make everything (including you) look better. What do you mean you haven´t any candles ? Put them on your shopping list, like, now !
Candles are fantastic for evenings and winter days, you´re better off lighting one than vacuuming. Besides, candles take away the smells of the room.
How a house smells is the first thing I notice when I visit someone. When a home is musty, stale, or reeks of chemicals, not even the most amazing decor can make up for it. If I had just 30 seconds to do something before guests arrived, it would be lighting my incense burner (ok, if there were underpants on the floor I´d get them first).
No air fresheners please, not only are they a health hazard, but their distinctive smell spells out "actually, my home was stinky". Try : essential oils (don´t have a diffuser ? Try one of these methods), incense or cooking water with cinnamon or Salvia in it. Before you do that, give the place a good airing.
No cheap scented candles, either go for quality or not at all ! Cheap smells smell cheap.
Music in the background set the mood instantly like nothing else. Just make sure it´s quiet and non irritating, otherwise everyone will be trying to be louder than it. Instrumental music or songs in foreign languages interfere less with conversations.
In a pinch: welcoming is more important than clean. The smell of a welcome tea, cozy light, delightful music in the background, and a charming host... Nobody will even notice the mess !
So, what is your special trick to brighten up your space before someone drops in ?