With the holiday season rapidly approaching many of us are sure to be on the hook for hosting some sort of gathering in our homes. While many of you might agree there is nothing more fun than a houseful of guests, there are still a few tips and tricks that will ensure your visitors feel warm and welcome. Not unlike the staging process for showing a home for sale, the goal is to engage all of the senses and create an environment where people feel at “home”.
North Conway Real estate professionals and party hosts alike would agree that one’s sense of smell is the first place you want to make an impression. And you want it to be a good one! From top-to-bottom you should spend some time giving your whole house a good “once-over” cleaning. This can eliminate odors from previous cooking accidents, pet smells and just day-to-day living. Since we are on a nice string of relatively warm weather, open up the doors and windows for a couple hours and do your cleaning then. It will help air out the home and whisk in some fresh air, creating a clean slate on which to build your aroma.
Candles, fresh flowers, essential oils, herb bundles, potpourri and even a crackling fire can all play important roles in creating a pleasant aroma. If you will be cooking turkey, pies or other baked goods, this will also help create that “homey” feeling we are going for. They say that our sense of smell creates the most long-lasting memories. If you have good memories of Thanksgiving dinner at grandma’s or a big family feast with all the relatives, you can see why the smell of fresh baked bread or a yummy apple pie would bring about good feelings and help create an overall calming effect. Of course, the items you baked will warm your guests and fill their bellies. Job well done.
Texture and sight are both key ingredients as well. Having a fresh bowl of fruit or a dish of candy or nuts will encourage visitors to start eating and that alone will make them more comfortable. Afghans, fleece blankets and pillows all combine to make your living area more welcoming and suitable for sitting and relaxing. If you take the time to remove some of the clutter around your home, which you have heard us say a hundred times, this will help the buyer envision their own items around your home and will help the holiday guest feel more at home. Candles certainly help with the scent, but the glow of the flame has been associated with the safety of home since our ancestors discovered it.
Lighting in general is a big part of this and utilizing lamps on tables and bookshelves is always a softer and warmer way to light a room than overhead lights. You also have the ability to highlight certain areas of your home with lighting. Adding a reading lamp to the end of a couch will inevitably draw someone to that spot with a book or magazine. Bringing plants and flowers into the mix not only brings “life” into your home but also encourages the use of natural lighting and windows to make use of what little daylight we have! There have been numerous books written on the effect colors have on our mood. Do a little research and see if you can incorporate the “warm” and “inviting” colors into your room through lighting, plants or even paint.
The sounds of your home may often be out of your control. If you put yourself in the main living area of your home, just sit in silence for a few minutes and get a sense of what is going on. Often there are big changes that need to be made such as that refrigerator that rattles or a heating system that makes lots of noise, but there are many things that can be adjusted without breaking the bank. If you live near a busy street or are surrounded by lots of outside noise, some sort of white noise might be just the thing. A wind chime that you can hear indoors or even a tabletop water fountain or fish tank can create a serene environment regardless of what is happening out of doors. There is not a day that goes by when there is not music playing in my house. You can create a myriad of “themes” by your choice of music and this can play a large role in setting the mood for your guests.
There are dozens of small pieces you have added to your home over the years that have made it the inviting and comfortable place it is today. These other small steps will simply accentuate the work you have done to make your house a home and hopefully be as valuable to you as they will be to your guests.