Preparing your home for holiday guests doesn’t require a lot of work.

You can add instant curb appeal with just a few simple touches.

Here are four tips, along with a bonus Simple Solution to hang holiday lights without daming your home!

If you have a half-hour to spare, holiday guests won’t have to see — or step in — your cracked concrete path.

1. Fill in the Cracks

Concrete driveways can develop cracks following temperature changes and ground movement, among other causes.

Those cracks aren’t just unsightly, they also could be hazardous and cause further deterioration after water’s penetration.

We repaired cracks in this concrete walkway with Quikrete Concrete Repair.

First, use a chisel and hammer to widen the crack to at least 1/4-inch and break away any deteriorating concrete.

Next, remove the loose concrete with a brush.

Load Quikrete Concrete Repair into a caulk gun and force a bead of Concrete Repair deep into the crack.

Use a trowel to smoothen the Concrete Repair immediately after placement. Move quickly — the material will form a skin within 40 minutes and will harden completely between one and two hours.

Afterward, clean the area with a damp cloth.

2. Paint the Porch Rail

Another quick way to impress holiday guests is with newly painted handrails.

To paint metal handrails, use a wire brush to remove any loose or peeling paint.

Next, spray the area with a rust-inhibiting primer.

Finally, apply two coats of oil-based enamel; cans of spray paint work best.

The brass light fixture pictured on the left is outdated and dirty. The light fixture on the right is cleaned and painted black for a timeless, yet on trend, appearance.

3. Paint the Light Fixture

The light fixture is an often overlooked — and neglected — item at the home’s entryway. For older homes, chances are good that spider webs surround the fixture, which may be dirty and even outdated.

Painting a front-porch light fixture is another affordable way to upgrade your entryway.
To paint brass light fixtures:

• Turn the power off to the light fixture.

• Remove the screws holding the light fixture.

• Use an electrical tester to make sure the power is off.

• Remove the wire nuts and wires from the light fixture.

A new front door is an instant conversation piece for holiday visitors

• Disassemble the light fixture and remove the glass panes.

• Clean the parts of the fixture with denatured alcohol.

• Sand the fixture with 00 steel wool to remove any corrosion.

• Clean the parts with denatured alcohol again.

• Cover any parts of the fixture you don’t want painted with painter’s tape.

• Spray several light coats of exterior paint for metal.

• Reassemble the light fixture.

• Attach the wires to the light fixture, and screw it to the electrical box.

• Turn the power back on, and test to make sure the fixture works properly.

Watch the video, “How to Paint Outdoor Light Fixtures,” to learn more.

4. Replace the Front Door

If your budget allows, replacing the front door is a surefire way to add curb appeal to your home.

ThermaTru has an online tool that makes it easy to match a door with your home’s color scheme.

Just take a photo of the front of your home, upload it to the website, and then drag and drop photos of front doors to determine which one best suits your home. Imagine guests arriving at your Christmas party, facing a new door with decorative glass, a dentil shelf and a beautiful mulberry finish!

Can’t afford to replace the front door? Consider painting the door instead.

Now you can add Christmas lights to your home without damaging its exterior.

5. Add Christmas Lights (Without Damaging Your Home!)

There’s no better way to display the Christmas spirit at home than with festive lights. But mounting them could cause permanent damage to your home — unless you use this Simple Solution.

To keep from damaging the eaves or siding on your home when mounting holiday lights or other decorations, attach self-adhesive, plastic mounting bases to your house, then use removable plastic cable ties to attach the decorations to the slots in the bases.’

Self-adhesive, plastic mounting bases and plastic cable ties are available in the electrical department of home centers such as The Home Depot, so this project is low-maintenance, affordable and easy on your home’s exterior!

Watch, “How to Attach Holiday Lights and Decorations to Your Home” for more information.

So many homeowners add Christmas lights on and around their house but forget to add holiday cheer at their guests’ feet!

Creating a Christmas topiary couldn’t be easier, but the finished product will fill a big void on your front porch.

Today’s Homeowner Tips

To make a holiday topiary you’ll need a tomato cage, a pot and some garland.

In this case, our tomato cages were too large for the pots so we cut off the largest bottom hoop. The remaining legs can bend in as you press it into the pot. Join the three legs on the other end of the cage with a large rubber band so they form a point.

Wrap the cage with garland, working from the bottom up. The garland we’re using has a flexible wire core so we can occasionally twist it around the tomato cage to keep it in place. Continue wrapping until the cage it is completely covered.

After the addition of some holiday lights and some colorful bows, the topiary is ready to display. Watch the video for details.

Watch, “How to Make Holiday Topiaries” for more information.

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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