How to Prep Your Home for the Holidays
The holiday season is fast upon us, but is your home ready? From designer tips, and preparing for increased foot traffic, to dealing with the impact having a live tree in the home can have on hardwood floors and indoor air quality, we have a few ways to help you get ready.
Holiday Decorating Tips
Choose décor that fits the look and feel of your kitchen and dining spaces. If you have a more modern home, veer away from the traditional, instead sticking with colors that mirror your existing palette—think silvers and whites for the feel of snow. The occasional pop of red or green in glassware or table settings can really bring a holiday space to life.
Give your guests a little something extra this season by paying attention to often-forgotten places like bathrooms and half-baths. Consider fresh flower arrangements tying in some of the foliage of the season—pine or holly—or take it a step further with live plants like English Ivy, poinsettias, or Christmas cactus to help remove VOCs from the air. Splurge a little on hand soaps that can bring a holiday scent without having as big an impact on indoor air quality as scented candles. If you do want to burn a few candles, consider beeswax, soy, or palm instead of paraffin wax—a strong VOC culprit.
Preparing for Spills and Bad Weather
Entertaining family this time of year can mean tracking in wet leaves or snow and slush. Plus, a little too much wine at the dinner table can quickly become a spill on your hardwood floors. Pull out a décor-appropriate welcome mat and area rug. Then be prepared with a soft-bristled broom for dry messes and a microfiber mop to quickly tackle wet spills. And be sure to have Bona hardwood floor cleaner on hand.
Protecting Your Hardwood Floors from Your Christmas Tree
Though a live tree is a must for many families around the holidays, going live can cause lasting damage to hardwood floors if you aren’t careful. Unnoticed spills when watering your tree can warp the wood while dead needles can scratch.
Before bringing your tree home, set up a plastic drain tray (like the kind you place under a washing machine) to collect excess water from your tree stand and prevent overflow. Avoid using a towel or area rug as these can actually absorb excess water and retain it, causing damage to your floors. Instead, place your tree stand in the center of the tray with a mat or skirt on top to camouflage it. When cleaning up pine needles, use a hardwood-safe vacuum cleaner as sweeping can cause needles to scratch the floor’s finish.
Christmas Trees and Indoor Air Quality
Another challenge when it comes to bringing a live tree into the home: allergies and indoor air quality. If you’re allergic to traditional pine, then spruce or fir could be a good alternative. Even better, the Leyland Cypress is a sterile hybrid tree that doesn’t produce any pollen.
If you’re purchasing your Christmas tree at a farm or lot, ask if they have a tree shaker on site to help remove dust, mold, and dead needles. If not, consider rinsing your tree then using an air compressor to blow off debris and dry out the branches before bringing it inside.
If you use an artificial tree to avoid allergies altogether, choose a non-PVC option, as PVC is notorious for off-gassing VOCs. You’ll also want to give it a good clean before setting it up. Dust can accumulate in the branches between seasons, and the less of it you bring into your living space, the better your air quality will be.
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