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Guests to impress! Easy ideas to make your home perfect for entertaining loved ones this festive season

19 October 2021, 15:40 | Updated: 10 November 2021, 16:14

Lilah Parsons shares her top entertaining tips
Lilah Parsons shares her top entertaining tips. Picture: Henry Knock
Lilah Parsons

By Lilah Parsons

Heart's Lilah Parsons shares some of the ways she makes her guests feel right at home when they visit her.

One of my favourite things in the world is having people over for dinner or drinks, and I can’t wait to make up for all the time we missed out on last year.

Here are some of my top tips for entertaining - and how making a big impression doesn't need to cost a lot!

Making memories

When I have loved ones visit me, I want to make sure that they feel really welcomed from the moment they arrive.

Then my focus is making them as comfortable as possible so we can forget all about the outside world and really relax and catch-up and have a great time together.

As the days get shorter and the nights a bit chillier, I love hosting a daytime get together watching movies or series snuggled up under a luxurious soft throw on the sofa with a steaming mug of hot chocolate.

wilko are my go-to for brilliant mugs. I really love this oversized floral teacup.

Scented candles and soft lighting instantly make a room feel cosy
Scented candles and soft lighting instantly make a room feel cosy. Picture: Henry Knock
A simple lantern or delicate candle holder can make a big impact
A simple lantern or delicate candle holder can make a big impact. Picture: Henry Knock

You only need a few bits and bobs to make your home super cosy and you might already have them at home. Carefully arrange fairy lights, and candles to create a nice warm glow, and then have blankets and cushions to hand.

When I want to give my living room a bit of a refresh, I love buying a few new cushions to tap in to a new trend without the longterm commitment.

I recently added a boucle and tufted cushion from wilko to my sofa. They are both so soft, perfect for chillier nights.

A furry rug over the back of the sofa can also create a really nice texture to settle in to for a few hours chatting with friends.

New pillows and throws are an easy and inexpensive way to tap in to an interiors trend
New pillows and throws are an easy and inexpensive way to tap in to an interiors trend. Picture: Henry Knock

Overnight stays

When I went to visit a friend recently her guest bedroom gave me serious hotel vibes. She had folded towels on the bed, left a scented candle on, and overall it felt really welcoming and calm.

It gave me some great ideas for when people come and stay with me, and I am excited about seeing lots of loved ones during the Christmas season.

Gorgeous bed linen and cosy lighting make bedrooms a tranquil oasis
Gorgeous bed linen and cosy lighting make bedrooms a tranquil oasis. Picture: Henry Knock

To make sure visitors feel really at home, I make sure there are plenty of blankets and cushions to make sure they’re comfy and warm.

I also like to leave a few little treats for them like a face mask, a book, or puzzles in a basket for them to help themselves to, and of course a scented candle!

A basket of treats and other overnight essentials makes guests feel pampered and welcome
A basket of treats and other overnight essentials makes guests feel pampered and welcome. Picture: Henry Knock

Whenever I stay with people I take my hot water bottle with me, I am a bit of an old granny like that, so I also like to offer one to my guests, too.

I’m a very relaxed host, I definitely like my guests to feel free to make a cup of tea or some toast if they wake up before me!

Bathroom goals

Having a lovey uncluttered bathroom isn’t just pleasant for your visitors, it’s great for you!

A basket filled with your cosmetics and products looks very neat, and can clear a countertop in minutes.

Keep bathroom essentials neat in a simple basket
Keep bathroom essentials neat in a simple basket. Picture: Henry Knock

Plants add a touch of colour, and if you buy a fake plant of a variety which are naturally waxy they can look as convincing as the real thing.

It can be nice to offer guests new towels to use, but as long as they’re clean no one will mind how old they are.

Offering a gorgeous hand soap and lotion is also a great touch for bathrooms, and if you want to go all out and invest in seasonal scents, there is so much choice out there now.

A fake plant is a simple way to brighten up a bathroom
A fake plant is a simple way to brighten up a bathroom. Picture: Henry Knock

Lilah’s top tips

Lilah shares her top three tips for entertaining
Lilah shares her top three tips for entertaining . Picture: Henry Knock

Planning

Make sure you have everything you need a few days in advance, especially food and nibbles.

You want to be able to relax with your guests not be racing around the supermarket or wondering what to feed them shortly before they arrive!

I love serving really simple but delicious snacks, like cocktail sausages served with a warm honey and mustard dip.

The same goes for drinks; do you have enough mixers? Is there ice in the freezer? Have you got enough glasses?

Storage

This foldable stool doubles up as extra storage
This foldable stool doubles up as extra storage. Picture: Henry Knock

Hide away clutter so you don’t need to worry about doing a big tidy. Rattan is a huge trend a the moment and it is a totally affordable way to hide bits and bobs.

This foldable stool can also be quickly assembled to hide all sorts of random odds and ends - and doubles up as extra seating!

Make extra room

If you don’t have much space to put aside for guests’ drinks and plates of nibbles, then consider investing in a couple of small folding side tables.

Make sure they have coasters for drinks and plenty of piles of napkins so people don’t feel awkward having sticky fingers.

It’s time to bring on Christmas! Make your home warm and cosy this winter, make it sparkle this festive season and sort all your presents for friends and family, wilko has your Christmas covered. Click here to check out their ranges.

Plus, we've teamed up with them to give you the chance to win £1,000 to give your Christmas that extra sparkle. Enter here.