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Design a guest retreat that sparkles all year This pillow ensemble creates an enticing setting for reading and repose.

By SUSAN SINGLETON With the holidays approaching, it’s time to get the spare room ready for visits from friends and family. Even if you love hosting guests, having them in addition to the preparation and stress surrounding the holidays can be a bit overwhelming. Ensure visitors are happy and comfortable with these simple tips from the Interior Design Team at the Maine Cottage Furniture Showroom. Pillows — The optimum pillow arrangement on most full, queen and king size beds will be four standardsized pillows for sleeping and two European pillows with cases or shams.

Making the bed — Take the time to purchase new sheets or freshly launder existing sheets right before your guests arrive. It’s best to outfit a guest bed with a high thread count sheet set, light down comforter, and quilted or woven cotton blanket. Be sure to tuck the top sheet in sparingly at the bottom so you have enough to fold the top of the sheet over the blanket and comforter. Fold comforter and blanket approximately 1/3 of the way down the bed for a delightful layering affect.

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Make sure your home passes the ‘white glove test’ By LORETTA HARING Holiday entertaining can be stressful enough without having to worry about cleaning. One way to eliminate this anxiety is to hire a professional. Spouses Cleaning Houses often gets requests for one-time cleanings around the holidays, said co-owner Ed Wright. “We’ve entered that season where a lot of changes are going on in the house,” Ed said. “You might move a chair to make room for the Christmas

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Make your guest room feel inviting all year long, not just at the holidays! A colorful blanket or throw draped over a chair adds just the right welcoming touch.

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tree. You often open up spaces that haven’t been cleaned in a very long time.” A clean house not only looks good for your guests, but can help keep them healthy. “Gettting the dust out, wiping down all the surfaces, changing filters, these are things that help increase the air quality in your home. If you are bringing in guests, you don’t want them to get sick.”

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Holiday decorating made easy Every family has a slob — your kid, your spouse or maybe it’s you! Don’t let the stress of the holidays get to you. Take a deep breath and check out these easy decorating tips below. • Forget the flowers. Place small decorative gourds and pumpkins, Christmas ornaments or dreidels in tall hurricane lamps and glass canisters. Use greens and leaves from your yard to decorate your table surfaces. Large orange maple leaves layered on a serving plate make an excellent doily. Acorns and pinecones scattered around a centerpiece give a fresh fall accent to a Thanksgiving table. • Add drama with lighting by floating flat candles in water instead of placing candles in candlesticks. Place inexpensive canister “up lights” behind potted plants and furniture to light up the perimeter of your room. Keep tables free and clear for entertaining. • Think camouflage: Wine and cranberry sauce spills will ruin an ivory cloth, but mix right in with brightly patterned table linens. • Wrap your dining chairs in ribbons. You can wrap a simple chair in colorful ribbons with a bow for a festive holiday look. Add bows to toss pillows and window tiebacks to play up the party mood. • Add fiber to your design diet. Look for colorful, patterned heavyweight slipcovers that stay stable when you pull the sample and allow no light to pass through when you hold the fabric up. • Decorate bare walls, windows, even mirrors with snowflake decals. They’re an elegant way to add pattern and they peel off when the holidays are over. • Use wall stick-ons to suspend ornaments and pinecones over a dining table, adding drama and décor without ruining your ceiling. • Use markers, Wite-Out or a Magic Eraser to freshen up painted surfaces. Eliminate marks so that every room looks as good as the dinner you’re serving.

— Debbie Wiener of Designing Solutions

CAPITAL STYLE | NOVEMBER 2011

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