I have walked into countless spaces in both technical and social capacities as a design writer and busy city dweller, and I welcome the opportunity to know more about where and how someone lives. From the moment I stepped foot inside, I will always recall the spaces that captivated me, whether that was due to a smell, a specific piece of decoration, or just the general vibes that home gave off within those first few minutes.
So how can you make visitors feel a little more welcoming in your space? Here are five basic measures, all of which can be executed in a snap, regardless of whether your room is small or big, boho or traditional, or in the city or in a rural town. We can’t wait to learn what approaches you intend on implementing first.
Add Ambiance With Flickering Candles
Before guests arrive, I love to light a couple of candles, as I have always loved being greeted with a delicious fragrance. Whenever possible for additional celebrations, I try to opt for seasonal smells-apple cider candles are a must in the fall, and something balsam-scented is ideal for the winter. And bonus points if you buy something in the process from a small business.
That said, whether you or your guests are sensitive to the smell, it can still have a significant impact on unscented candles. No matter the time of day, their flickering flames add an elegant touch and can make for a fun contrast to the harsh overhead lighting that is often seen in rental units. When I came over, one of my friends still had candles burning and as a result, her city rental looked like a chic European lounge.
Hang a Stunning Mirror
The more ornate and sizable, the better, I love walking into a home or apartment and instantly finding a beautiful mirror. You won’t want to skimp on this addition, whether you choose to buy directly from a retailer or browse around at your local flea markets and antique shops. Mirrors would make your room feel bigger, lighter, and fancier immediately, so what isn’t to love?
If you need any inspo, a perfect way to get started is to browse through tours of Parisian homes where mirrors are abundant. You will note that mirrors are often mounted up to the ceiling to reach, so don’t be shy about buying an oversized item.
Besides being glam, mirrors also provide much-needed versatility. Before dashing off after a dinner party, I really enjoy being able to quickly check my reflection. Check out listings on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace if you want to save some money, where you might be able to score a one-of-a-kind piece on the cheap.
Display a Conversation Piece
It never hurts to put a personal piece front and center in your home, whether you want to show one of your favorite finds from your travels, a snapshot you took yourself and framed, or a cherished painting of a pet.
When they step through the gates, visitors will enjoy having this extra peek into your psyche, and not to mention, such a piece will make for great conversation as you wait for other friends to arrive. I still love admiring the artwork that my friends have chosen to display in their homes, as it always leads to an interesting tale that would not have emerged otherwise.
Install Hooks or a Coat Rack
Also, most utilitarian things will leave a lasting impact often. I’m more than relaxed setting my jacket down on a bench or living room chair while visiting a close friend, but not everyone appreciates visitors draping their belongings all over their fancy furnishings. A coat rack is a perfect way to corral your own outerwear and the outerwear of your guests and sends the message that you are an organized, practical individual (even on days when it couldn’t feel further from the truth). If you do not have space for a standing rack, you might also try some strategically positioned hooks.
Showcase Flowers or Greenery
In a room, fresh flowers or live plants always add cheer and definitely will not go unnoticed. If you change your arrangement every season, bonus points, but even something flexible such as a beautiful snake plant or pothos dangling will add a welcoming, homely touch.
On a budget that is tight? Grocery stores are a great place to snag beautiful stems on the cheap, starting at just $3 at my personal go-to, Trader Joe’s, and you can still group together a few kinds of florals to make a larger bouquet.
There are plenty of realistic-looking fake plants on the market if you do not have a green thumb, even if you fly regularly or can never recall watering your baby plant (hey, we’ve all been there), you should still be able to find one that appeals to you.