Holiday Tips From a San Francisco Interior Designer
The holidays are upon us and depending on your plans you may be hosting a party or a dinner get together over the next two months. The question is how to make your home the most welcoming possible not merely for the holidays but for during all the years to come.
Imagine yourself as the ultimate host/hostess, providing comfort in every way possible to your friends and guests whenever they visit. You can do this by creating a home that is a personal reflection of you, your home lifestyle is your brand.
Let the Party Begin
The Entrée: Think of your entry door as a magical portal into your home, your personal world. It should reflect a warmth and invitation to experience time spent within and with you.
This can be done with a signature style of door.
I recommend replacing stock entry doors with something more artistic. I like TruStile doors for variety and price point. If a replacement is out of your budget then fun paint or finish color will make you stand out. Another way to be more welcoming is to add to your door an artistic décor that changes with the seasons and/or holidays as such as a tapestry, wreath, Venetian style carnival mask, etc.
The Foyer: Once inside there should be easy access to a closet or racks for your guest’s to place their personal belongings such as coats, umbrellas, bags and purses out of the way.
If you are a no shoes inside household then do provide slippers for your guests to wear. Having a bench or chair for your guests to use when it is time to depart is helpful for putting shoes back on, creating an experience of ease .
The foyer is where you can immediately establish a welcoming ambiance. You are letting your friends and guests know more about you with your décor in this area. Are you a reader? Are you interested in art or medical sciences? Whatever it is, having an area (no matter the size available) to place the various paraphernalia of your interests makes for a great understanding of you and your home life.
Letting people know more about you is simply very friendly. Create a small vignette or two of a small stack of books on a raised surface, a figurine or souvenir of a special place you have travelled to, framed sheet music or an instrument, etc.
Living Room: If this is where you will spend time conversing with your guests choose furniture that is comfortable. Larger, oversize furniture (if you have the space) feels more relaxing and casual than smaller, tight seat styles and un-upholstered pieces. Having chairs that swivel is ideal for creating a feeling of welcome and relaxation.
There will be people who prefer to have everything put away and in its place however, I suggest that a small amount of evidence that your home is “lived in” let’s people know they are welcome; not visiting a museum or rare antique/vintage shop. Leave a book or magazine open on the table, perhaps one or two of your child’s toys or a pet’s toy in plain sight though not underfoot.
Powder Room: The powder room should have a solid door and tight closure for privacy. This is a great space to “dress up” as an alone environment. Go for a whimsical wallpaper or an artistic stencil or tile. Provide your guests with elegant soap, plush hand towels and a way to leave the space the as it was before they used it.
Fancy matches or matches in a decorative holder or a bottle of Poo Pourri. I like Johnathan Adler’s match holders. They are not expensive and make for delightful d’objets d’art.
Guest Room: If you have people visiting overnight and/or several days then some extra attention should be made to create comfort. A queen size bed (no smaller, if you have space a king size is better) with an upholstered headboard is nice to lay against and read. Of course reading lamps on side tables are necessary. The bathroom should have sumptuous towels, fluffy and soft.
Only use bed sheets of a high thread count and give them a spritz of lavender water when making up the bed. It is that extra touch of luxury you are adding to their experience and it will help them to sleep better. If you are in a hot climate with no air conditioning then have a fan installed that can be controlled using a remote. Providing the convenience to be able to turn the fan on and off from the bed without having to get up in the night shows how much you care for your guests.
Personal Scent: Rather than thinking of using “smell” to cover up other smells, consider using a scent for your home that is a signature of you. It is akin to your personal perfume that people may know you for wearing.
Whenever people come to visit you they will instantly connect your home with you in a sensory way from the wonderful smell in the air.
There are many upscale stores that sell diffusers and re-diffusers. Diptyque is a classic however, there are some effective DIY ways to create a wonderful welcoming scent in your home. Most have heard of the Realtor trick of baking store bought cookie dough in the oven just before an open house. There are other scents that you can create besides baking.
For the holidays, this is a stove top spice scent that is easy and inexpensive to make. You just have to watch the pot to make sure it does not burn.
- 1 medium size pot, somewhat deep (such as a soup pot)
- 1 whole orange cut in half or quarters (do not substitute, other citrus fruits do not work)
- 2-3 whole cinnamon sticks broken into large pieces
- 1 small handful of whole cloves
- 1 small handful of whole star anise
Place ingredients into the pot and cover with water up to just below the brim. Cover with a lid and bring to a robust boil. Remove the cover, lower the heat a bit but keep it to a boil. Leave the cover off and let boil until all the water evaporates – don’t leave it to get completely dry at the bottom or it will burn. Leave it uncovered on the stove until it cools completely, allowing the scents to continue to rise.
The result will be an enchanting citrus spice scent that permeates your home.
Flowers: The rule of thumb (green thumb in this case) is if you place flowers around your home that they be living plants or fresh cut, not dried or plastic. Many cultures see dried flowers as what they are, dead. This is not as inviting as beautiful fresh flowers and greenery. Depending on the flower, they give off their own scent and add to the overall sensual ambiance.
Place a single bud or two in the power room and on the guest room night stands or dresser for an added touch of attention.
I Can Help You Create the Perfect Holiday Home
If you are interested in learning more about how to make your home more welcoming, creating your own signature home style then please give me a call to set up a consultation. I’d love to help you make your house your home.