By: Joy Kraft
For: The Enquirer
The countdown begins to Christmas. Home furnishings expert Jennifer Litwin, advises homeowners to jump into action and start getting houses into shape for the onslaught of holiday guests.
“As soon as you know how many are coming, you can plan sleeping and eating arrangements,” she says. “What’s hot now is dual-purpose furniture. I also recommend having easily portable or inflatable items that can be stored in the closet.” Litwin’s top five “must haves”:
Sleeper sofa. A couch or chair that also serves as a bed is a necessity. Inflatable mattresses have replaced stiff bars in couches. Cost Plus has an oversized chair that turns into a sleeper sofa for $699 and a studio sofabed that sleeps one for $399 (cushion sold separately).
Tray Tables. Tray tables are great for overflow when your kitchen and dining room tables are filled. Some of the more decorative ones can be used year-round and are great accent pieces for the home. Target’s tray table sets are in walnut and beechwood and cost $69.99.
Folding Chairs. The trend today in folding chairs is a chair that doesn’t look or feel like the older-models. Many look good enough to leave out year-round. Ikea boasts folding chairs in durable plastic for $8.99 a piece and Terje folding chairs in beechwood for $12.99 each.
Dual-purpose ottomans/coffee tables. Ottomans can provide storage for items and can serve as tables, foot rests or extra chairs. “I love the leather ones that open up. I use them to store extra coffee table books and magazines.” she says. Target has a brown leather storage ottoman for $69.99.
Air Mattresses. Air mattresses are stored in closets and can easily be blown up for beds. “We use them to sleep several kids in one room. The kids feel like they’re having a slumber party,” she says. Litwin recommends buying a good electric pump. Walmart’s Coleman Queen-size double air bed is only $49.32 and includes the pump.