Whether you are looking to list your home for sale or you are simply looking to settle into a new or existing space, having a house that looks welcoming and hospitable is a must. If you think your home isn’t quite Pinterest or Instagram-worthy, never fear! With a few simple and inexpensive (or free!) changes, your home can be an oasis of beauty, calm, and hospitality that draws others in.
You don’t have to be a professional decorator, a great cook, or a creative entertainer to establish an ambiance in your house that says “You are welcome here.” And even if you aren’t planning for professional listing photography, real estate showings, dinner guests, or overnight company, consider implementing these suggestions for your own family as an exercise in making your home more liveable for those you love.
While most of us aren’t living with a Hoarders level of stuff, everyone has at least one closet, drawer, or counter that could use a shakedown. You can go full Marie Kondo and tackle the whole house, or at a minimum focus on main living areas where you may have let things pile up.
Once you have spaced cleared off and cleared out, the next, most natural step is to do a good deep clean of your areas. Never underestimate the power of dust cloths, warm soapy water, and a good vacuuming of the floors. One good step begets another and once your house is cleared out and cleaned up, you have instantly set yourself up to keep going.
Group Like Things Together:
Do you have any items that you find scattered all over the house? Pens, books, reading glasses? Designate a centralized spot for these things and you’ve gone from a hot mess to looking like a collector! Displaying other favorite items altogether can have a great visual impact as well as make for an interesting conversation starter.
Revisit High Touch Guest Spots:
Take a quick walk through your home as if you were a guest visiting. What areas might a guest see or use? Freshen up a guest bathroom with new hand towels, scented soaps, or a candle. If your company is staying overnight, clear dressers and nightstands so your company will have a place to arrange their belongings without your clutter on display. A new welcome mat or fresh flowers also makes your company feel cared for.
Think About Scale:
As we live in our homes and accumulate ephemera and decor, sometimes it’s easier to just stash it away or stick it somewhere without giving much thought to where or how we are arranging or storing it. If a wall or corner is feeling cluttered with too much stuff, consider switching out a lot of small items for one large statement piece of artwork.
Hide Cords and Electronics:
During our day to day lives, many of us will charge phones wherever we can find an outlet or leave laptops charging on an end table. Nothing says, “Welcome” like putting away or hiding excessive cords. Screens emit blue light, but jumbled cords and a pile of tablets or phones emit a feeling of chaos. Tucking those things away makes an effort to hide distractions and maintain focus on your people.
A small but significant touch in making those inside your home feel welcome is the use of a small personalized sign. Small chalkboards and letter boards are a clever way to welcome guests, announce a drink or dinner menu, or display a funny quote. Alternately, go sparingly on signs with words displayed all over your home. You want your guests to relax while they are there, not be drawn to reading the room.
In our own homes, we sometimes become immune to the smells of our pets, kids, or cooking. Our olfactory organs are an often overlooked consideration for welcoming others into our homes. Take time to air out your home by opening windows, spritzing fabric spray on sofas, lighting a candle, diffusing essential oils, or even allowing the smell of a freshly cleaned home to fill the aroma of the air. Remember that less is usually more. Just as you don’t want to assault your guests with foul smells, you also don’t want to knock them down with an overly scented home.
Flowers and Plants:
There are many great benefits of having house plants in your home, namely improved air quality. However, there are visual perks as well. Live plants or fresh flowers are a nice touch for softening your home. Among all of the still life of televisions, lamps, photography, and coffeemakers, seeing a living plant can add a depth of dimension to your home.
Lights and Blankets:
If your guests are planning to settle in for a night of lounging on your couches or planning to stay overnight, make sure extra blankets or lighting is readily available. Set out throws on your sofa, at the ends of beds, or across the back of a chair. Keeping guests comfortable despite the temperature in your home is a simple courtesy. Lighting is equally important. Leaving a small night light or having access to a bedside lamp is another way to be considerate of your guests.
A few thoughtful actions are a nice expression of kindness and good cheer to welcome others inside your home.