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Asian family in front of a Christmas tree

5 Ways to Guestproof Your Home for Your Christmas Party

Rachael Sia

There are two types of people during the holidays: those who host a Christmas party, and those who attend them for the free food. If you’re like me and you like having your closest friends and family over at your house for any type of festivities, but especially on Christmas, then you may already be thinking of what to cook, which gift to get for which guest, and… How to protect your valuables from prying hands, and potential accidents that always happen at parties.

This Christmas, we’re determined to help you enjoy the holidays without worrying that your silverware will end up in some distant relative’s purse, or any of your rooms destroyed by little tots running around on a sugar high.

Here’s a quick guide on guest-proofing your house, just in time for your Christmas party

1. Hazard-proof

You may be well acquainted with the raised tile in the middle of your floor that you know to avoid, or the treacherous step on your staircase that’s just a few millimetres off, but your guests don’t. If you have any hidden hazards lying in wait to trip up an elderly guest or pose as a tempting experiment where little visitors could get injured, hide them, conceal them, or get hazardous wear and tear fixed where possible.

You don’t want to be the exemplified anecdote where your relatives talk about how grandaunt Karen fell in your oh-so-slippery bathroom three Christmases ago because you didn’t bother to get some non-slip mats when you knew she was a fall risk.

Design common areas with breakout zones for small groups to interact.

Design Tip: Open-concept homes give a welcoming feel and provide larger spaces for you to comfortably host your guests. This also reduces the risk of your guests getting bruised by sharp corners or bumping into each other in cramped spaces. As people tend to mingle in small groups within parties, design your common areas to serve as “breakout zones” so they may mingle comfortably and separately. This allows for better conversation to flow and helps you avoid overcrowding in a single area, which also reduces the risk of accidents.

2. Break-proof

Reduce the number of breakables that are out in plain sight as much as possible. Replace your favourite glass-topped table with a temporary wooden or plastic replacement to tide you over for the festive season. Hide your antiques and delicate or cherished items in your bedroom where they are out of bounds to clumsy guests. 

If you have children, put away their special toys and treasured belongings or expensive gadgets. You can leave out toys that are break-proof, or that your children aren’t as interested in anymore, so you can avoid tears and tantrums while providing your little guests with sufficient entertainment. You may also want to put up a barrier of sorts to demarcate the play zone, so as to keep any potential damage like scribbles on the wall or messes on the floor contained within a small area. That being said, keep all potential mess-creating tools like crayons, paint sets, or even common pens and pencils away, especially if your rooms are wallpapered.

If you’re not into doing a cheers to the sound of glass breaking, better hide all breakables in your room.

Design Tip: It is a good idea to have display cases or storage cupboards that can be wheeled away into the safety of locked rooms if you have precious collectibles and are expecting particularly rowdy guests. Protruding fixtures on the walls tend to be subject to knocks and bumps and do not fare well under wear and tear either. Opt for sleek lines and streamlined silhouettes in your home. It makes for lower maintenance too.

3. Steal-proof 

We all have that one relative or friend who may take the Season of Giving and Sharing just a little too far. While you want to be generous and hospitable to your guests, it is prudent to keep all your valuables safely locked away. 

Don’t be shy to keep certain rooms locked so guests get the clear message that certain rooms are off-limits. While space or design constraints may make it hard to have those cleverly concealed rooms you see in spy flicks, you can opt to have a concealed cupboard, compartment, or niches where you can hide your heirlooms or beloved effects.

If you tend to enjoy the finer things in life and want to display your fine wine collection (or even inexpensive but sentimental mementos from around the world), take no chances and stow them away in case presumptuous visitors think they’re free for the taking. Replace items like your brand-name terry cloth hand towels with regular ones in the common bathroom and keep your refrigerator cleared of any special treats you were saving for yourself. 

In short, if you don’t want to share it, or risk having it go missing, don’t put it where it is accessible, or may be mistaken for a communal item. 

Hide the things you don’t want to go missing after one Christmas dinner. Like those freakishly expensive POP MART figurines.

Design Tip: It is a good idea to have display cases or storage cupboards that can be wheeled away into the safety of locked rooms if you have precious collectibles and are expecting particularly rowdy guests. Protruding fixtures on the walls tend to be subject to knocks and bumps and do not fare well under wear and tear either. Opt for sleek lines and streamlined silhouettes in your home. It makes for lower maintenance too. 

Depending on the layout of your home, if all your rooms are clustered along a single hallway on one side of the house, you can close off the space with a beautiful feature sliding door to as a gentle heads up to your guests that the area beyond that door is a no-go zone. 

4. Spill-proof

Even if your home design is such that maintenance is effortless, have a clean-up kit ready at hand for any accidental spills, leaks, or messes regardless. (You won’t regret it, trust me. Drinks or dips are always waiting to get spilt at parties.) Throw together a few cleaning essentials, like a sponge, highly absorbent cloths, and a multi-purpose cleaning spray. Have them parked nearby in a basket so you can quickly grab them for more efficient damage control.

Also, you should pad your tables with a thick plastic film sheet or, for a softer look, you can opt for a thick non-absorbent tablecloth. Tablecloths are hardly spill-proof though, so do reconsider using overly luxurious ones. You may also want to slip some covers on your upholstered furniture or lay thick blankets (that you don’t mind getting dirty) over them to soak up potential spills and avoid any permanent stains.

Your sofa doesn’t deserve any more stains.

Design tip: Pick waterproof materials for furniture like leather sofas instead of fabric couches. They are lower in maintenance in that they only require the occasional wipe down too. You could also go for window blinds instead of drapes, which are much easier to dust and clean and are spill-proof. 

For upholstered furniture with covers that cannot be removed, there are Airbnb owners who swear by fabric protectants like Scotchgard. These handy sprays repel water based spills without changing the feel of your fabrics. This allows you to wipe the surface clean before the mess sinks in. Fabric protectants not only can be used on upholstery, they also work as shields for curtains, pillows, table linens, fabric bags, clothes, and even canvas shoes.

5. Brace your bathroom

In the spirit of feasting, there will be individuals who will binge on delicious food and end up having a bathroom emergency. So take the time to make sure your bathroom is battle-ready.

Make sure the plumbing works smoothly, have sufficient toilet paper ready, and for your sanity, keep those large rolls of kitchen paper towels out of your bathroom as they are not flush-friendly and could cause a choke. (Worst. Nightmare. Ever.)

Have a covered wastepaper basket or dustbin in plain sight so your female guests are not too embarrassed to throw used feminine products in there. (And a friendly reminder, from lady to lady, do not resort to attempting to flush them. They will cause a toilet choke.)

Also, if you don’t want to empty your Aesop handwash in one night, you should try locking them away in one of those hidden storage spaces we mentioned earlier.

Brace your toilet for your guests’ stomach reactions.

Design Tip: Consider installing open shelves where you may keep all the toiletries that are for guests’ use. You may want to go the extra mile and put out a few toiletries like single-use floss sticks, good degreasing hand soap, air freshener, and maybe even a couple of feminine products, so your guests don’t rummage through closed cabinets looking for a solution to their personal emergency. 

It is better to have a partition that separates your shower area from the toilet area to minimise any slippery messes too. If your bathroom does not have a large window, an exhaust fan is a great way to air out unpleasant smells quickly. 

Now, it would be foolish and not financially prudent to remodel a certain area in your house for one holiday.

But there are certain renovation investments you can make that will do you good in the long run and make good use of your space. So if there are certain design ideas you want to explore with a professional interior designer, and also get their thoughts on a potential home renovation project, don’t hesitate to drop us a message on WhatsApp or via the Live Chat at the bottom, right-hand corner of the screen.

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