Caught off guard by imminent house guests arriving at your door? Don't stress. Here's how you can get your place clean, tidy and stylish in just half-an-hour or less.
Concentrating on key areas in the home and de-cluttering like a pro will transform your home from a danger-zone to an inviting sanctuary for visitors, believes Tara Dehbozorgi, Interior Designer for Max Sparrow.
"It is all about the illusion you create with the placement of furniture and accessories. It’s also about unleashing your guest’s senses to manipulate the mind into thinking that the house is cleaner than it actually is," she says.
We've got Tara's practical tips and styling hints to transform your home in the blink of an eye.
"It's the first thing that releases the 'touch' sense when you walk into a home, therefore a quick sweep over (or vacuum if you have time) ensures your guests won’t get a bad first impression by gathering dust on the soles of their feet," says Tara.
"If you need a quick fix to hide stains, use a rug or piece of furniture like a side table or ottoman and place it over the stain," she says.
"The basin is the most important area to give a good clean over, as this will be used most by your guests," says Tara.
Giving the mirror a quick wipe also goes a long way, as well as grabbing some fresh, clean towels from the cupboard to hang neatly on the rack.
Scent also plays a pivotal role. "Incense can mask any lingering smells and will give the illusion that the bathroom is fresh," says Tara.
"Use your storage units wisely and grab any little bits and pieces that are lying around and store them quickly before your guests come over," advises Tara.
If you don't have much storage space to spare, fear not. Move through rooms with an empty laundry basket, filling up as you go along and store the basket in the laundry. Sorted!
Tara suggests engaging your guest's senses from the moment they arrive at your front door.
"Fresh blooms are always my go-to for impressing your quests with little-to-no effort," she says. "Lighting a candle also engages their sense of smell and will create the perfect first impression."
Carry this knowledge through to the kitchen and dining room, too. "Lemons or limes are great to use as a centrepiece in a bowl, as they will add a pop of colour. And, if you bruise the zest of a few of them, your guests will enjoy a beautiful aroma," Tara suggests.
If your guests are staying the night, instantly make their sleeping space look like new by fluffing pillows and adding a throw onto the bed. "A small vase with some flowers on the bedside table is a nice touch as well, to make your guests feel welcome," she says.