Just like we make snap judgements and get first impressions based on appearance when we meet someone new, guests do the same to our homes when they visit for the first time. Even though we emphasize how important first impressions are, we also discourage making snap judgements...but honestly, how can you not? The way we see it, when entering a home or meeting someone for the first time, you're trying to figure out how to handle yourself in their space or around their personality so you do a quick assessment and then go from there. All that to say--it happens...and it's ok! As long as those of us making the judgements and taking away the first impressions leave a little room for them to change as we get to know the person or spend more time in the space.
Either way, if you've got new guests coming to visit, it's important for you to be prepared for them to assess the situation up entering your home. What do you want them to think? How do you want them to feel? Even if (you don't feel like) your home isn't the most beautifully decorated, it can still be clean and comfortable, which is something guests will appreciate. So today we're going to discus the key items and places to focusing on fluffing before company arrives.
First rule is our absolute number one---smell! Light a candle, spray some air freshener, plug in a wallflower. The scent of a home is the very first thing that hits someone when they enter a space and it says A LOT about the space. Basically, it can make a guest either feel clean or dirty in your home....because nobody likes a stinky room. If you have an aversion to strong scents, just go with something clean--maybe lemon or peppermint. You don't want it to be so strong and offensive to your guests that it gives a headache, but you do want your home to smell pleasant.
Once a guest smells your home, the first thing they typically see is the entry way, so take a little time to clean it up. Usually entryways aren't giant spaces, so putting the shoes away or hanging the coats up shouldn't take too much time. Try to add some decorative items to your entryway too. It can be functional but also pretty because, quite honestly, a well-styled entry is your homes first FIRST impression and if it looks put together, it will make the attitude with which they are judging the rest of your home with a more positive one.
Bag the clutter. Clutter is just bad news. Period. Clutter can make a well-styled, beautifully decorated space look messy which totally defeats the purpose. So if you have clutter, put it away. Cleaning up clutter doesn't require a crazy organization sesh, just some large baskets or bins and the right shelf space. Think storage furniture! Storage ottomans and chests are great places to hide all the kids toys when guests are coming and getting the stuff hidden doesn't take an act of God. Whatever you do, just get rid of that clutter!
Finally, be sure to set out something small and thoughtful that your guests will appreciate. Maybe it's nice guest towels in the bathroom, a soap/shampoo/lotion basket in the guest room, or maybe it's just having the coffee or tea ready for them. Those welcoming touches are keys to making someone else feel at home in your home. They will know they're welcome there and enjoy themselves that much more instead of feeling like they've inconvenienced you.