Have you ever noticed how you go into some houses and you feel at home immediately? They’re the houses with a lovely relaxed feel about them, where you always feel welcome and the atmosphere’s always calm. You may envy it, but just how can you achieve that feeling in your own home? We take a look.
As humans, we tend to make up our minds very quickly based on first impressions. When you meet someone new, your subconscious will be whirring away in the background and will present you with its findings in only seven seconds. Based on that superfast summary, you’ll find yourself warming to your new acquaintance or taking a dislike to them. Although we do sometimes change our minds based on longer acquaintance, that first impression is the most important.
In your home, the first thing that you (and everyone else who comes to your house) will see is a brief view of the outside followed by the front door. Make sure the area around the front of the house is clean and tidy, and plant some big tubs with bright seasonal flowers. If possible, give your front door a new coat of paint (primary colours are more welcoming than black or grey) and clean the door furniture (handle, knocker and letterbox). A doormat outside the front door helps to make it look more finished – we’ll leave it up to you whether or not you choose one that says ‘welcome’ on it!
Once inside the hallway, there are several tricks you can use to make the space feel more welcoming. If you have space and there’s enough light, dot green plants around the area to create a feeling of calm.
The way a house smells is important, too, as smell is a big factor in helping us make those first impressions. Keep a pretty scent diffuser on a shelf to make the area feel welcoming – citrus scents or lavender are good choices.
Another idea is to position something eye catching right opposite your front door, such as a large mirror, feature picture or even painting or wallpapering that wall in contrasting colours. This will help create a feeling of flow through the hallway, inviting you through into the rest of the house.
Let it flow
Many of us suffer from lack of space, and get used to squeezing our lives into areas too small for them. If you know that you can’t get to the fridge without moving the dining chair out of the way, you’ll do it without thinking. For guests, though, navigating a room by clambering over the furniture feels intrusive and uncomfortable.
Your house should flow from room to room, so that it feels effortless rather than like an obstacle course! Take a look at our Cosy Home Guide to Decluttering for ideas on re-organising.
Be a big softy
Soft textiles are key to creating a welcoming look. Hard, angular chairs look more functional than comfortable, whereas big, squashy armchairs are inviting. Use cushions, throws and rugs to soften the room and make it look cosy. Experiment with cushions of different shapes so everything’s not square.
Remember who you are
Your house should feel like a home, rather than a sterile hotel! Personal touches, such as family photos, accessories you’ve picked up on your travels, unique artwork or things you’ve made yourself will all help to show that you’re comfortable in your space – and if you are, then your guests will be too. Just don’t blame us if they decide never to leave!