What Makes A Home Inviting?
I get complements on my home interiors all the time. Believe me when I say this, I don’t have a show room kind of house. I don’t have designer fabrics or furnishings. It is full of mix-n-match pieces and dog hair. Trust me, nothing swoon-worthy at all. But often people tell me they really like my “style.”
I decided to dig a bit deeper with these complements and explore what people meant. I asked and here is what they said. “It just feels so good in here.” “Your space looks and feels just like you.” “It feels so welcoming. Kind of like a hug from you.”
Did you notice every one of those statements talked about the person’s FEELINGS? They didn’t tell me what they THOUGHT about my space. They didn’t mention something specifically they liked such as the paint color or my furnishings. Rather they liked how my space made them feel.
My space reflected "me" and it made them feel comfortable. That made ME smile but I wanted to know more.
A Deeper Dive Into Comfort
What are the things that make a home FEEL good? Were there concrete things in my home that evoked a feeling? What does it mean that my house looks and feels like me? Here is what I came up with. Note: These things below are all things I like AND they happen to make people feel comfortable. But I offer them to you as a starting place to make your space welcoming and a space people want to spend time in.
Sharp edges and straight back chairs are not very welcoming. Even pictures with lots of angles can make people feel on edge. Instead, make sure your seating is comfy . . . but not so soft that people get swallowed up. The couches I just recently replaced were so big and soft you needed a helping hand to get out. But people are attracted to softness and repelled by hardness in interiors. People like warm rugs on hardwood floors, cozy pillows to lean up against or put in their lap. They like soft curtains and pictures that invoke a feeling of peace or excitement or nature.
I’m super sensitive to the lighting in a space. I really hate overhead lights except in my kitchen where I want to see what I’m doing. I don’t think I’m the only one. This is where lamps and low lights come in. When it’s possible, I suggest installing dimmers so you can adjust overhead lights to match the mood. Distributing lamps around your space, even on your kitchen counter top, is a great way to have low lighting. And don’t forget the candles! Candles go a long way to making a space feel “special”.
I’m a pretty good flower gardener IF you’re an outdoor plant! But inside plants? Not so much. But I’ve come to learn that every space needs something in it that’s living and moving. Cue . . . live plants.
They almost ALWAYS make a room seem more inviting and comfortable.
Do you have plants around? If not, get one. Note: I don’t encourage spiky cacti . . . not exactly warm and friendly. If they are not balanced with vibrant, green, water-loving plants, cacti make me feel thirsty and uncomfortable.
Then there are fresh flowers!
About 9 years ago I decided I would ALWAYS have fresh flowers in my home. With the exception of a few days here and there I’ve kept to this. Fresh flowers MAKE a room and a space. I’ve got a lot more to say on the subject if you’re interested. But for now . . . trust me . . . put them in your grocery cart next time you’re at the store. You can thank me later.
Farmhouse and rustic décor is the big thing right now. But I must confess . . . I’m kind of bored with it. I love color! I adore a neutral base or palette but give me color to convey a mood! For this reason, I’m very deliberate about the colors I use in my home. It is one of the things that people comment on if they are forced to tell me what they like.
When thinking about color in your home, begin by asking how you want to feel in a certain space. When you have that answer, ask yourself "what color provokes this feeling for me".
I want to feel alive and nourished and excited in my kitchen. So I have always used bright colors inspired by a brimming bowl of lemons, green apples and red peppers. In my bedroom I want to unwind from a hard day, enjoy some romantic snuggle time with Mark and get a good night’s rest. Therefore, I choose softer, more relaxing tones. I’ve got a lot more to say about your bedroom if you’re interested.
Objects of Interest
The “stuff” you put around your home that reflects who you are is what makes a house a home. I’m always struck by how sterile some places feel to me. I may go into a certain home and not feel UN-comfortable but if it’s too bland or lacks their unique touch so I don’t exactly feel comfortable.
When I do a deeper look, it is often that these spaces have only things around that match their décor too perfectly or look like they came out of a show room or copied off Pinterest. Don’t get me wrong, I love things to coordinate, and I copy a lot of things that other people do. But it is the personal touches that make a room pop.
I LOVE a space with stuff that reflect the owner/s. Things from their past, pictures of them as kids or on vacation, a stack of books they have actually read, a souvenir from their favorite vacation or a collection of paperweights. Like Claire from Steel Magnolia said, “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.” That’s what these objects are . . . earrings for your home!
Softness, lighting, use of color, living things and objects that tell a story about your life . . . where are you gonna start?