Best of the Web: Making a Cozy Winter Home for Friends & Family

November has a split personality. While many outdoor activities are winding down, the bustle of shopping and party preparations are just beginning. Days are getting shorter and colder, making you want to hibernate in your cozy den, yet it’s a time to socialize with friends and family. Your home serves as your retreat from winter’s temperamental weather, but it’s also open and on display to guests in a way that it rarely is during a long, lazy summer. With this November weekly roundup, you’ll find ways to satisfy your cravings for comfort, quiet and tranquility while still keeping your home party-ready.

Organized Laundry Room

Not everywhere feels November’s chill, and Jen with IHeart Organizing has a great post about the quick, simple improvements she made while visiting her husband’s parents’ beach house in Florida. She traded her sweaters for flip-flops and spent a long weekend in the sun while the grandparents spent time with the kids. Instead of a conventional hostess gift, she left something more lasting: a re-do of the laundry room. Jen transformed a compact laundry area with cheerful yellow paint, a storage unit in crisp white and coordinating curtains, giving her in-laws a lovely surprise when they return to their beach home. Discover how she gave an often forgotten space a fresh look and more functionality in this detailed blog post, and you might be inspired to bring some Florida sun to an overlooked part of your home.

Messy Basement

Getting organized takes motivation; staying organized is more of a long-term challenge. At I’m an Organizing Junkie, blogger Laura invited guest writer Sharon to give step-by-step suggestions for whipping a previously organized area back into shape. Sharon’s a mom to six kids, and her basement held years of toys and projects. She’d straightened and organized it flawlessly, but after a few years of use, the once-neat space accumulated clutter again. Before it became a major project, she tackled the rising tide of toys, bringing order and efficiency back to her basement. In this post, you’ll see every step of the process in pictures and find out how her space went from controlled chaos to apple-pie order.

Fall Decoration

Cleaning and organizing basements or laundry rooms will make life more pleasant for residents, but what about preparing your home for guests in November? Chris at Just a Girl has fantastic decorating ideas for front doors, dining room tables, living rooms and everywhere house guests might visit. Illustrated with dozens of pictures, her fall decorating post shows you how to make your own fall decor, turn supermarket finds into decorative accessories and bring autumn’s natural beauty into your home. She’s collected some of her greatest decor ideas and craft projects in one post just in time for November. With these tips, you don’t need to go straight from Halloween’s spooky decorations to full-on holiday cheer in red and green; enjoy fall for its own sake and appreciate its special charm.

Winter Wonderland Decorations

If you have your autumn decor already done and are ready to create your Christmas decorations, the winter wonderland themed tree at The Inspired Room could be what you need to get started. With ornaments in snowy white and sparkling silver, it’s an elegant accent for any holiday decor. White poinsettias, fluffy fabric pom-pom garlands and glossy white fruits take on new luster when lit with strands of pure white fairy lights. Melissa’s tree looks gorgeous near her fireplace, but you can adapt the ideas you see for tree-trimming, mantel decorations, swags and centerpieces. Soft white is a wonderful choice for staging a room if you’re planning to sell; the neutral palette goes with any furnishings and helps home buyers imagine their own future holidays there.

Cleaning For Paula

Dana, better known to her fans as Nony the Slob, starts the month with her usual blend of great suggestions and humor at A Slob Comes Clean. She has a house guest on the way, and to get things ready, she’s using a checklist to turn a messy home into an organized one. Dana’s first stop on her checklist is to assess how much time she has before her mystery visitor arrives; in her case, it’s four days, but you may have more breathing room before your guests knock on your door. Whether you have days or weeks, Dana’s guidelines and printable 10-step lists will help you prioritize. She promises to have more news about her mystery guest too, so check back with her to see how the whirlwind organization is going.

Colorful Room

Sarah at Thrifty Decor Chick has featured a round-up post of her own for November’s first week. Her before-and-after spread includes ideas for redecorating a kitchen, redoing an office and making a guest room welcoming with fresh color. These newly redone rooms from readers and fellow bloggers live up to Sarah’s appreciation for eye-catching design on a slim budget. If you’re scrambling to make a guest room more inviting or redecorate your kitchen before inviting everyone in for Thanksgiving dinner, these inspiring ideas are for you.

Home Staging - Closet

You don’t need to put your home on the market to borrow a few tips from a professional home staging specialist. Barbara Pilcher of DIY Home Staging Tips answers some of her readers’ staging questions with advice on selling, but anyone can use her advice to bring more light into dark rooms or dressing up simple window treatments. These quick tips for transforming a space are ideal for the upcoming holiday season because the same things that make home buyers take notice will also please your guests.

Bulletin Board

Staying organized during the busy holiday season is easier when you have a bulletin board, but some boards are better suited to some uses than others. At Unclutterer, David Caolo has tips for picking the right bulletin board for your home, office or study space. A decorative bulletin board that holds pictures or ticket stubs serves a different purpose from one that functions as a communication center for the whole household. Keep your calendar in order, post quick messages for family members, track your to-do lists or add a decorative touch with bulletin boards.

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The Storage Queens

We know a thing or two about moving. Together, we share the best tips in organizing, storage, navigating your city, and more!

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