Now that the warm days of summer are over, it’s time to think about cozying up with the fall TV season. Whether you’re ready to see what happens on Parks and Rec after “I love you and I like you,” counting down the days until Ted finally meets The Mother, or waiting to see what amazing outfit Kerry Washington wears next on Scandal, there is plenty of TV and ice cream waiting for you this fall.
Here are 10 things you need to do right now to prepare your space:
1. Dump the cable and get Netflix
If you haven’t done this already, it’s time. On Netflix, not only do you get access to all the network shows you enjoy, you also get Netflix originals like Orange Is The New Black. Are you the only person in your office who doesn’t know who Red, Taystee, and Crazy Eyes are? Time to get caught up. Netflix is the the new economy’s smart entertainment choice, and making the switch shows that you are techno-savvy and ready to embrace our wonderful world of online streaming media.
2. Do a fall cleaning… now
I don’t care how many Doritos crumbs are going to end up in your sofa before next spring. Now is the time to vacuum it out, especially if you plan to have a special someone over to watch a Downton Abbey marathon. Get out the special hose attachment and vacuum every inch of your couch, including underneath. Then plump and flip your cushions, so they don’t get that saggy butt print in them.
Other places you need to clean? Baseboards, bookcases, and blinds. You have no idea how much dust gets into all those cracks and crevices. And no, you can’t just wave a Swiffer over your books; you have to take each one out, dust it off, dust the space under the books, and then put them all back.
On the plus side, you won’t have to clean like this again for the next six months.
3. Fix your window treatments
Nothing is worse than glare across your TV. Now’s the time to get rid of your old, junky blinds and install some new custom blinds specifically designed to give you sun when you want it, and keep it out when you don’t.
As a bonus: if you want to make a room look nicer, window treatments are the top quick fix. They’re also cheaper than buying a whole new couch, which brings us to:
4. Get new sofa pillows and a new throw
Hide the fact that your couch is as old as your undergraduate degree by buying one or two new sofa pillows and a new throw. The colors will brighten up the room, and that old blanket you’ve been using is probably covered with cat hair and Chunky Monkey spills.
(Still tied to an old blanket for sentimental reasons? Wash it. I know you won’t be able to tell me the last time you washed it, because you can’t remember.)
5. Update your loungewear
I don’t care if nobody ever sees you. Buy some new, comfy yoga or pajama pants, and some coordinating tops that don’t have sweat stains in the armpits. Looking good during a TV marathon makes the whole thing better, much better than if you sat around all Saturday in an old oversized t-shirt that you’re only wearing because it’s too ugly to wear in public. Wear clothing that makes you feel good, even if you’re spending the entire day indoors.
Bonus: if you do have a special someone over, it’s nice to have cute loungewear.
6. Prepare your outlets
You’re going to want to be online while you’re watching TV, whether it’s to scroll Facebook during the boring parts or to live-tweet the latest Pretty Little Liars developments. (But no spoilers — that’s not cool.)
So make sure you’ve got an outlet that’s nearby, in case your smartphone, iPad, or laptop needs a charge. Stock it with an extra phone charger, so you don’t have to remember to carry one around, and make sure the cord’s long enough to let you sit anywhere you like. Consider an extension cord if you need one, but try to avoid cord clutter.
If you plan to have guests, especially overnight guests, buy an extra outlet strip to ensure there’s enough juice for everyone’s devices. Nothing’s worse than one person happily surfing away while everyone else is stuck without power.
7. Buy some coasters
Even if your coffee tables or end tables are theoretically liquid-proof, buy coasters anyway. They send the subtle cue that you are an adult who knows how to take care of her things.
8. Get a set of TV trays
Retro is in! Look for some funky TV trays to match your decor. Why are TV trays necessary? First, they keep your couch cleaner than it would be if you ate your dinner over your lap, and second, they make it okay to invite people over for Mad Men night. As Judge John Hodgman once said: you should never invite people over for dinner and a movie and then force them to eat dinner in their laps. That’s just not how grownups should live.
9. Think of the children
Whether you have children of your own or have friends with children, you’ll need to have a few entertainment-room items at the ready. This includes everything from kid-friendly games (Uno or Nintendo, take your pick) to a quick set of TV or Netflix parental controls that you can wield at will.
If your entertainment room sees a lot of kid use, consider buying some kid-friendly furniture like bean bag chairs. TV trays (see above) are a must with kids; the last thing you want is a chicken nugget molding in the depths of your sofa.
Also: pull out those old Disney DVDs you once owned. They’re kid magnets.
10. Walk through the space and sit in every chair
Take a few walks through your space. Is there any chance you might trip over a cord? Bump your shin on a coffee table? Have to squeeze between two chairs while carrying a TV tray’s worth of food? If any part of your entertainment room layout is awkward, fix it. You may get used to it, but your guests won’t.
Likewise, make sure you spend at least one 42-minute show’s length sitting in every chair. You’ll quickly learn if some of them offer a bad view or are too close to one of your speakers. Fix the problems until every seat in the house is a great seat.
Whether your entertainment room is home to family nights, date nights, party nights, or solo nights alone with a bottle of wine, these ten steps will ensure you have a comfortable, cozy, fun fall TV season.
Which shows are you most looking forward to this fall? Let us know in the comments.