By Shani Silver

Published on February 20, 2016

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Photography by JUSTIN BERNHAUT

Nothing strikes fear in the heart quite like an unexpected visit from mom. Even if you’ve just had a housekeeper come and scour your home top to bottom by coincidence, your place is still filthy, unkempt, and unpresentable. If you’re short on time pre-drop-in from Mom (or Dad for that matter!), try our tips for quick tidying and styling that will impress anyone–even Mom.

Throw Pillows–more than two.

The reason your room might not look pulled together enough for Mom’s discerning eye might be your lack of accents. These add completeness to a room and are fun pops of interest to the eye. Try topping your sofa or chair with throw pillows of varying (but complimentary!) sizes, colors, and prints. And yes, you need more than one pillow in each corner of the couch. Layer and group them a bit until they look good to you.

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Photography by RAZAN ALTIRAIFI

Zero in on the coffee table.

The first rule of coffee tables is no remotes on the coffee table. Tuck those unsightly gadgets in a stylish lidded box. Next, stack your most substantial, prettiest coffee table books in size order next to the box. Add a tray (everyone needs a tray!) to easily group other tabletop items. Adding a carafe of water with matching glasses is extra chic here.

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Photography by DOMAINE HOME

Matching magazine holders.

Papers, saved magazines, mail, it all needs to go somewhere, and that somewhere is not a corner of your kitchen counter. Grab a few matching, sleek looking magazine holders to catch and organize the cutter. (It might also keep Mom from going through your stuff!).

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Photography by APARTMENT THERAPY

Flip your books.

A quick trick for making your bookcase look super-styled is to turn all of your books around, leaving just the pages to face forward. The blended hues of white and beige will look chic, if not Instagram-worthy, all together.

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Photography by TOP INSPIRED

Matching fridge vessels.

Because you know she’s gonna look in there. Your fridge doesn’t have to be the most organized area of your home in order to look like it is. Choose a few plastic bins or containers that match (seriously, this is important), and fill them with each food group represented in your fridge. Bonus points if you have a chance to toss any condiment jars that have outlived their use-by dates!

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Photography by HONESTLY WTF

Bins with lids.

The no-brainer of the decor world. Items you’ve been meaning to put away, to organize, to go through, they all belong in a bin with a lid. Stylish bins and baskets are everywhere, and a group of them tucked into a corner or under a console is a stylish and sneaky way to cut the clutter.

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Photography by SACRAMENTO STREET

Lean your art.

If you haven’t yet had a chance to build that gallery wall you’ve been dreaming of, but you’ve got the art all ready to go, don’t feel the need to plan out and hang everything before Mom arrives. Leaning art against a wall (larger pieces on the floor, smaller pieces on a desk, shelf, or console) is a quick way to stylishly display art that hasn’t yet found a permanent home. It’s also a great trick for hiding scuff marks you haven’t had time to take a Magic Eraser to.

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Photography by THE HAPPY HOMEMAKER

Fresh flowers.

Nothing says “hey, I’m prepared for your visit” like a bouquet of fresh flowers. Add a simple arrangement to your coffee table (on the tray!) or in a highly visible part of your kitchen. Don’t feel the need to spend a ton of cash! These flowers, believe it or not, were bought at the grocery store and re-imagined into this beautiful arrangement. See how here !

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Photography by DOMINO

If you can only clean a LITTLE–Swiffer.

Obviously the first thing you’ll want to do when you find out Mom is coming over is clean. It’s almost an impulse. When time is really, really a factor, grab a Swiffer . Grab two. Giving your living room a once-over with a Swiffer duster and quickly going over the floors with that broom thingy will catch unsightly dust, dirt, and pet fur at top speed. Don’t bother Windexing all the windows and cleaning out the microwave. It’s already too late.

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Photography by VODKA & BISCUITS

Bake something.

This to-do list item accomplishes two goals. First, it offers Mom a tasty treat upon arrival, and it also makes your home smell amazing and inviting in a way that no candle can compare to. You don’t have to whip up a three layer cake, keep things simple! We’d try these roasted strawberry scones from Vodka & Biscuits .

Good luck! And give Mom our best.