✅ Prepare is the perfect word to use in the context of getting something ready (prepare the room for the guests).
✅ Contrive is the best word to use when you want to emphasize the ingenuity involved in planning or making something happen (contrive a way to get what you want).
✅ Contrive also can imply a level of cleverness or shrewdness that seems like trickery, and it can suggest dishonesty or manipulation.
✅ Prepare and contrive are often used in pretty different circumstances, but you can both prepare and contrive things like plans (prepare the students' plan of study; she contrived an escape plan).
Prepare yourself for these contrive synonyms.