I really didn't want to be the first to mention it, but Christmas is a-coming!
As well as being the time for love, peace, happiness and joy, it can also be the most stressful period of the whole year. Instead of "ho-ho-ho", you might just be muttering "no-no-no" to yourself.
In a recent survey, people were asked what stressed them out most at Christmas. Rather surprisingly, it wasn't buying presents or running up credit card bills that stressed people out the most. No, in fact, it was deciding which side of the family they should spend Christmas with.
And, in a way, we can all see why. Whilst Christmas is a time for all the family to come together, it is also a season of tough choices. Will you be going to all the effort of making a full Christmas dinner, or should that job fall to Mum & Dad, Gran & Grandad or Aunty Beryl?
Make it a white Christmas with this stunning all-white cloakroom design
Preparing your home for Christmas
Then there's all the people you are expected to get around and see. Sometimes the days around Christmas can feel like a military operation, with a strict schedule that needs to be adhered to.
One thing that can get us really stressed when we're running around buying presents, wrapping gifts, cooking food, making drinks and just generally being busy, is how our home looks to visitors. It's a time of year where we get an unusually large number of guests (often unexpected), so we want our homes to look their best.
Check in with us
To try and help make Christmas run a lot smoother, here at VP we'll be furnishing you with some great ways to get your home ready for the festive season.
We've got plenty of ideas to make your home more welcoming to guests, so when the festive period comes around, it's one less thing to worry about. Many of our ideas will cost a lot less than you think.
In the run up to the Christmas holidays we'll be looking at what you can do to different areas of your home to get it in tip-top condition for when your friends and relatives turn up on the doorstep.
So let's get started, with perhaps the smallest room in your entire house.
Small, but perfectly formed, your downstairs cloakroom can be greater than the sum of its parts
The downstairs cloakroom
For those of you lucky enough to have a cloakroom bathroom, it is typically the place that can make or break the impressions of your home. As you eat, drink and get merry, who in their right mind wants to traipse upstairs to answer that call of nature?
A cold and functional cloakroom can certainly send shivers up the spines of any of your house guests. Whereas, in fact, the cloakroom can be the perfect place to let your creativity run wild and show off your own personality and impeccable taste.
Small bathroom ideas
Whilst you'll find many small bathroom ideas at VictoriaPlum.com, let's focus in on your cloakroom for the time being.
Toilet and basin
The mainstay of your cloakroom, these are the foundations upon which your littlest room is built.
If your suite is looking old and tired, maybe it's time to update it? You can do this for a lot less than you'd imagine.
One thing you may not have considered is using the corners of your room to free up valuable floor space. You can choose corner basins and corner toilets that fit snugly, or even a corner vanity unit, giving you much-needed storage.
Great for small cloakroom bathrooms, this combination vanity unit and short projection Energy toilet takes up little room
If you weren't aware, there are a range of specialist cloakroom taps available. These are slightly smaller versions of some of our bestsellers and give you a more compact design without having to compromise on style. Updating your cloakroom may be as simple as replacing that crusty old tap for something new and exciting in gleaming chrome.
The Stanford cloakroom mixer tap can transform your cloakroom in an instant
Let your guests check their make up or check out those bags under the eyes by installing an illuminated mirror. This isn't just a nice-to-have, but will really brighten up what can often be a dark and claustrophobic space.
The Lumina backlit mirror will add a touch of glam to proceedings
Another great idea is to use your wallspace as additional storage. A towel shelf is the perfect place to hang towels in use, and store towels for future use, ensuring your guests always have the option of clean towels.
The Options contemporary towel shelf certainly lives up to its name, giving you plenty of options when it comes to storage
If storage space is limited, instead of just trying to hide away toiletries and cleaning products as best you can, why not make a feature of them, by storing in a stylish box, like this one?
What's on the floor in your cloakroom? Vinyl? Tiles? Or, heavens forbid, carpet? If your flooring could do with a quick upgrade, why not consider our revolutionary Krono Xonic waterproof vinyl flooring?
It's so easy to fit, you can do it yourself. You'll find a range of stunning finishes, including wood and tile effect, that simply clip together to form a tough, durable watertight layer. With very little floor space to cover, it will take no time at all!
With the look of wood, but none of the expense and effort, this vinyl flooring is a real quick win when friends and relatives come to visit
A quick lick of paint can often be the best way to spruce up a room, but in areas of high moisture content, such as a bathroom or cloakroom, you need to make sure you invest in high quality paint or risk the formation of mould.
Luckily, here at VictoriaPlum.com, you can pick up a range of brilliant bathroom paints, specially formulated for areas of high moisture content. Why not try an on-trend grey or something a little lighter?
Grey doesn't have to be dull! A lick of fresh paint can sometimes be all you need to liven up a tired interior
Wallpaper is another way to give your cloakroom a little extra character. And we think this whimsical design from our Graham & Brown range is just the job!
Create a feature wall with some elegant tiling, or why not add a splash back around your basin with mosaic tiles. Either way, it'll add a hardwearing and easy to maintain surface which will last well into the future.
Other areas of the home
Remember, if you buy now, you can get delivery before Christmas, giving you plenty of time to get your home ready for the festive season.
I'll be regularly updating the VictoriaPlum.com home ideas section with more inspiration for your whole home in the run-up to Christmas, including ideas for your guest bedroom and ways to make your living room more festive. So keep those "mince pies" peeled!