10 WAYS YOUR HOME CAN MAKE A GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION
"You never get a second chance to make a first impression." - Unknown
We all know how important first impressions are. When it comes to people, mine are usually wrong. The people I often think I'll hate when I first meet end up becoming firm friends of mine. The same can't be said for property and interiors. Making someone feel great when they first enter your property is one of the best things you can do as a homeowner. Not only for your guests, but also yourself. There's nothing better than coming home after a long day to a home that's giving off all of the right vibes.
In this post, I share 10 ways that you can create a great first impression for guests in your home.
1. Make sure your front door is painted a colour that sets the tone for your house and is clean
Colour causes an emotional reaction. It also says a lot about you and your style, so choosing a colour which represents your personality and sets the tone for the rest of your house is a great way to start. Think about the door knocker, the style of the door, the finish of the paint. They all speak volumes!
The doorway and pathway up to your house or flat should be clean and tidy. Nothing will make a guest feel more uncomfortable than standing outside your front door with a massive cobweb hanging over their head!
2. Have a well lit entrance
The first thing a guest will experience when entering your home is the entrance, duh! So when you open your front door, you want your hallway or first room to be well lit. When I say well lit I don't necessarily mean bright. That mightn't be your style. But a layered lighting system is more welcoming than a single hanging bulb or pendant, so think about a combo of natural light from windows, spotlights, pendants and lamps. A great feature lighting piece will also scream 'AWESOME'.
Our entrance hallway in our flat is currently SO dark, it has no natural light and the colour we chose when we moved in (a muted grey) we have realised over time just doesn't work with hardly any natural lighting as it's too cold. We also only have a single pendant light, and are getting quotes for putting in a false ceiling to add spots, all to create a great first impression!
3. Create a lovely scent
I'm not gonna lie, sometimes I get home and the first smell that enters my nostrils is... bin! Not good right? No one wants guests to experience a bad smell upon entering their home. Trust me, they WON'T FORGET IT.
Start to burn a scented candle about 30 mins before your guests arrive to create a subtle scent as they arrive. You don't want to go for overwhelming, after all you may love pineapple but who says your guest doesn't hate it? Instead of picking sickly sweet scents go for a more balanced, rounded fragrance. Room diffusers are also great, as they leave a subtle fragrance without looking like you have obviously burnt a candle. My friends at Mila sent me a lovely room diffuser - go and check them out!
By no means should you ever use a spray room air freshener, Come on people, it's not 1984!
4. Have a signature piece of art, furniture or decoration in the entryway or first room
As much as making your guests feel welcome, you want to make a statement about your style, personality and the type of space you want to create. By placing a signature statement piece of art, furniture or decoration in the first room your guests enter, you subconsciously (or consciously depending on how 'out there' your statement is) are helping them get to know you. A 'statement' piece could be something to set the tone for your space, or it could be a personal keepsake. It doesn't need to be wacky!
Your home is your most intimiate reflection of you. SAY SOMETHING.
4. Have plants or fresh flowers around your home
The key word here is 'fresh'! Fresh flowers and green indoor plants give the feeling of life. I guess our subconscious knows that in order for plants and flowers to grow they need all of the right conditions and to be cared for. So having them there, living and all that, says a lot about a home and its owners! Placing fresh flowers of a plant near an entrance bring life to an area and also looks great.
5. Play great music
Think of the perfect welcome to someone's home... a warm welcome, a great interior, soft music in the background. It's subtle but it really works! Again this needs to be to your own style, I'm not saying have lounge jazz on in the background if you're a punk fan, but it really helps to create an atmosphere. Our fail safe option is the wonderful Billie Holiday.
I remember when I went and did a gig in Milan once and was staying at a promoters house and he had old fag butts and cotton buds on the floor. Not to mention an open bin with flies swirling, oh, and a pair of worn women's knickers on the bathroom floor...
YES I am being deadly serious. But that's for another time!
Moral of the story is just have a little clean please people. It's just polite. It's also boring, why is why it doesn't have a pic. Sorry!
7. Hide or store away clutter
This tags on nicely to cleaning. Clutter is the ultimate turn off! It can make people subconsciously feel agitated or uncomfortable. Nowadays there are so many great storage solutions that there is really no need for clutter. Again - I'm not saying you can't have things out, we don't want to walk into a modernist nightmare after all, but there's a difference between a nice stack of books and a stack of unopened mail, receipts, used mugs, keys... you get the picture.
If you find these things are always hanging around, get a box or place that's hidden away specifically for miscellaneous items and sort it once a week.
8. Have some special occasion serve wear
What's the first thing you usually do when guests arrive? Offer them a drink! Instead of coming back with a batch of un-matching old mugs or glasses (or like my family house when I was a child, a selection of free merchandise mugs) bring them some really special or unique tumblers or mugs. Even if you just have a few for when guests come round, it just feels a bit more special. A really great tray to serve from is an added touch too!
Get all Don Draper with some brilliant Dorothy Thorpe roly poly glasses - I have a set of 12 small punch glasses and love them to bits. Though someone did once think they were candle holders!
9. Get the temperature right
Again we're coming back to basics but human comfort can massively be affected if you spend your time too hot or too cold. My office is constantly freezing and it sounds stupid but it really affects my happiness when I'm there. I sound like an idiot don't I. WHATEVER.
10. Restock items
Get your sh*t together! Make sure you have plenty of tea, coffee, milk, sugar, toilet roll, handwash etc. If people are coming round and you go to offer a cup of tea and then don't have any milk it's a bit crap and can make your guests feel uncomfortable. Plus, nothing more embarrassing than going to the loo at someone's house and having to emerge to ask where they keep their toilet roll! At home we've just created a store cupboard where we are trying to stock up on daily items and it really makes a big difference when you have everything properly stocked.
This isn't our one but I kinda wish it was!
So those are my slightly snobby tips for creating a great first impression of your home. Don't take it as I'm the queen of this - today a guest entered my house and was exposed to my undies hanging on the laundry rack to dry. Coooooooool (not).
Some may just be a nice idealistic guide but it's something to aim towards I suppose. Me included.
Have you got any great tips for making a great first impression of your home? Share in the comments below...