Last Minute Holiday Prep with Danna Johnson, Designer & Realtor®

Submitted by on

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. It’s the happiest season of all, right? Until, you realize it’s your turn to host family and friends for the holiday season. You take days off from work to cook, clean and decorate, trying to make everything “perfect” for your guests. Then, literally, within five minutes of everyone arriving, you will look around to see that the kids are running and screaming through the house. They’ve dug out every toy, including ones you didn’t know existed. The dogs are in a panic and have knocked all the bottom ornaments off the tree just in time for your favorite brother-in-law to step on one. Everyone you adore is now in your kitchen making themselves at home and leaving a mess as they do things “their way”. This is typically the scene at my house. Through the years, I have learned to let it go and instead spend my extra time around the holidays working on the projects I never have time to do. Projects that will benefit my home long after the guests have left.

Some of my favorite places for project inspiration are my local Surplus Warehouse and Barton's Lumber.


Let’s start with first impressions and the one thing that often gets the least attention, the front door. When is the last time you stood at your front door and observed its appearance? Most of us rarely enter and exit through the front door, so we spend most of our time focusing on the interior of our home. The front door will be your guests’ first impression of your home, so you want to make it a good one. This can be as easy as power washing the door to look shiny and new, but it could also be time to change it out for a new, more stylish door. Many doors come completely assembled and ready to install ,making it a quick project with a big payoff. I love to welcome my guests with a great looking front door, complete with a festive door hanger that can be swapped seasonally. While focusing on the exterior, it’s a good time to make sure your windows are winter-ready and that they will serve as the perfect showcase for your holiday decorations. It will only take 10-15 minutes per window to clean and to apply a clear bead of caulk if needed. If your windows are old and not energy-efficient, consider replacing them with new Comfort View windows. Every window in my home is filled with lights and handmade snowflakes created by my son, Houston. Handmade snowflakes are a such a classic and family fun activity - just grab some supplies and hot cocoa (with marshmallows, of course!) and let the decorating begin.


Nothing screams Christmas more than a fireplace mantle adorned with stockings and greenery. Make your fireplace a gorgeous focal point in your entertaining space. Cover the sheet rock from floor to ceiling in a stacked stone or reclaimed wood and a new mantle. If farmhouse is more your style, consider incorporating a rustic wall plank feature using indoor/outdoor friendly Urban Wood Rustic Porcelain Plank, or everyone’s favorite - shiplap, for the perfect country Christmas backdrop. Once the mantle is completely decorated, our family tradition is to each hang our own stocking.


Is it time to replace that worn out carpet? Consider one of my favorite new products from Aqualogic -- the Summit Mist Click Vinyl Plank. This product is guaranteed to be waterproof for up to 48 hours. It’s perfect for the spills, kids, pets, and traffic of the holidays and everyday life. The coloring is perfect and hides the dirt your guests and pets may track. The texture helps to make it look and feel like real wood but without the worry of scratches and water damage. This floating floor is quick and easy to install, and is the perfect flooring solution in my book.


At some point during their visit, your guests will ask to use the restroom. Surprise them by freshening it up and adding some holiday cheer with some simple and affordable changes Switch out your old vanity with a new furniture-style vanity to add some character. Or, simply update the hardware in your bathroom by switching out your dated fixtures with the new, popular champagne colored fixtures. I love to add some holiday décor (maybe holiday scented potpourri!) and towels to brighten up the space.


There is a reason the kitchen is referred to as the heart of the home. It’s the place where everyone will gather during the holidays and most days in between. Is your kitchen in need of a facelift? If so, consider refacing your existing cabinetry with a light color like a warm creamy white or soft gray. Switching out cabinet hardware and adding a new backsplash can completely change the look of your kitchen. Consider adding some cabinet organizers to your space. These space savers will allow you to de-clutter your counter tops, providing a clean and simple space to add some holiday cheer. Or, if you are like me, I love to carry on the tradition of Christmas candy making passed down by my granny, so the extra counter top space is a must.


As you are making your list and checking it twice, let’s consider what is most important. I bet at the top of that list will be time with family and friends. We all stress over finding the right gift and being the “perfect” host with the perfect space. Even one of these small changes can make a huge difference, leaving you to spend your time on the one thing that really matters - the memories that you will make TOGETHER. The laughter, the tears, the excitement, the pitter patter of little feet, and most of all, the love that will fill the room. These are the things that make your house a home. May your home be merry and bright. From our family to yours, HAPPY HOLIDAYS.

Danna Johnson is a lifelong resident of NEA and a 20 year veteran in the real estate industry. She is a graduate of Arkansas State University where she obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree in Marketing. Not long after becoming a REALTOR, she made the decision to further her real estate education and obtained the Graduate of the REALTOR Institute designation from the National Association of REALTORS. During her career, Danna has been recognized for numerous accomplishments and service to her industry including serving as President of the NEA Board of REALTOS and is a past REALTOR of the YEAR. She was the founding Chairperson of the NEA Real Estate Guide and has served on over a dozen local and state committees. Danna’s sales volume has kept her at the top of the leader board and she is currently a Crye-Leike Top 25 Producer and a Life Member of the Arkansas REALTORS Association Million Dollar Club. In 2016, Danna became the second Arkansan in history to be named as a recipient of the National Association of REALTORS Good Neighbor Award. Out of the 10 Good Neighbor finalists, Danna was selected as the Web Choice Winner for her 20 years of service to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-South in which she helped to lead the way for the organization getting its start in the NEA Arkansas area. Danna, who currently serves as a chapter Ambassador, has been instrumental in raising awareness and millions of dollars in funding for Make-A-Wish. In addition to Make-A-Wish, Danna volunteers for many other organizations and events as she believes it is vital that you give back and serve in the community where you live. Over 15 years ago, Danna began representing builders and has since become a new construction specialist being involved in every stage of construction and design from the selection of the house plans to the exterior and interior touches that make a house a home. Danna dedicates a tremendous amount of time to the design process including attending national home building and design shows which has helped her to be at the forefront of bringing new trends to the NEA area. Her expertise in new construction and design is highly respected in the industry and community. From the first home to the dream home, Danna considers it a privilege and an honor to work in an industry that she loves and allows her to be a part of the American Dream as she helps people with their greatest investment.

Christmas decor provided by Dillard's.