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Tips for designing a welcoming home environment

by emily

in Design & Trends

Your home should be designed as a home for all who enter. And as heartwarming as a welcome mat is, that greeting should be extended into the whole of your house.

Furniture

You may think you want that white couch set but think about it for a moment before you buy it. You want your guests to feel at home and comfortable when they sit down for a cup of coffee, don’t you? How comfortable do you feel about drinking coffee on those white couches? Not very comfortable.

When it comes to purchasing lounge suites you need to think about colour, material and level of coziness. You can’t expect your guest to relax in an environment where they refuse to eat or drink anything for fear of ruining your furniture or making constant awkward noises every time they move while sitting on the couch. The purpose of seating furniture is to encourage your guests to sit down and relax, not cause them to lie and say, “No it’s alright, I prefer to stand.”

Light and lighting

Make the most of natural light that enters the house and make sure you have large windows for the kitchen and living room areas which you can slightly dim with light curtaining if needed. Welcoming the sun welcomes the guests and plays off the warmness of the room. Sunlight makes people feel good and even when it’s raining, it adds an appealing aesthetic to a room as well.

When it comes to the evenings and there is no natural light, be aware of the lighting fixes you install. Super bright LED lights may make your guests feel like they’re under inspection so rather use LED lights that you can dim and suit to the situation or functional mood lighting fixtures to add to the room’s decor and serve as a light source to keep faces visible and carry conversation.

Colour scheme

Warm colours and subtle tones are the best way to go to create an inviting environment through colour. If you enter a completely white-walled room with white furnishings and possibly grey and black decor, the only feeling you’ll get is a clinical one… not inviting.

Play around with different shades of white for the walls if you really want to go that route, rather go ivory or snow white for a slight undertone, and then have your furnishings complement the walls with a bit of colour.

Also be careful not to overdo your colour scheme. An extravagantly red room might make your guest feel under-dressed and overpowered. Keep it light, warm and use complementary colours to make it interesting to look at. For winter, consider putting in an indoor fireplace as another soft light source and, obviously, as a heat source.

Plants

Not only are indoor plants a beautiful, natural decorative piece for your home but the promise of a plant being able to survive in your house puts guests at ease about their fate in the hands of your home. Okay, so it’s nothing as dramatic as that (although it does seem plausible) but plants do have the natural effect of increasing the level of comfort someone experiences. Maybe it has something to do with the fresh air it produces.

Try to include an indoor greenhouse or miniature sunroom in the design of your house or draw attention to a room through the array of living greenery that it contains. It will also be a great and relaxing pastime for you to tend to them every now and then. Other ways of bringing in a natural element to your home is to use all natural materials. You could go all out on a raw-wood coffee table made from the trunk of a tree, or even something as simple as wooden bowls and wicker baskets.

Layout

When designing a welcoming home environment, the layout of your furniture and your floorplan plays a huge role. Yes, there are advantages to small rooms but to fill it to the brim with seating and decor doesn’t make it welcoming. Guests won’t know where to sit or how to get up from their seat and walk around and through everyone and everything in the room just to go to the bathroom. Be smart with the space you have.

There should be a natural flow to the direction of the room, with where to go and how to get around, and it should correlate with the rest of the house’s layout. You don’t want a cramped environment but you also don’t want such an open-planned space that people you invite over are scattered around where different seating areas are and shouting at each other across the room just to be heard. Find a dynamic layout that fits your theme, furniture and lighting.

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