Walking into a warm, comforting home is the best feeling in the world. An inviting home immediately relaxes you and makes you feel welcome.
But how do you create that feeling in your own house? And, even more importantly, how can you create that without spending a fortune or getting overwhelmed as you try to figure out how to declutter?
These simple tips to create an inviting home will help you make your living space feel like the cozy home of your dreams.
When I enter a home (especially my own home), the last thing I want to feel is overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by clutter, laundry, junk mail, etc. I immediately start stressing about clearing off my kitchen counters or that pile of mail overwhelming the table.
That’s not a happy home to me, but more often than I care to admit, those are the feelings I have when I enter my home.
“Good housekeepers know intuitively what needs to be done in their homes because they know how their homes make people feel.”Cheryl Mendelson in Home Comforts
It’s time to start creating an inviting home for yourself and your own family, not just for the occasional guest (although that’s always nice, too)!
1. Place fresh flowers around your home
I love fresh flowers. They brighten the room, smell wonderful, and just make me happy! However, buying fresh flowers regularly can get expensive.
If you’re lucky enough to grow flowers in your yard, periodically cut a few to bring in the house. Otherwise, treat yourself to an occasional bouquet from the florist (most flowers from the florist last longer than the flowers from a grocery store).
To save even more on fresh flowers, buy them on a Monday and don’t be afraid to ask for a discount.
2. Speed clean
A clean house is a happy house! When my house is clean, I feel so much more relaxed, even if I only did a speed clean to make it look presentable. 😉
One thing that I try to add to my speed cleaning routine, especially if I’m hosting guests, is cleaning the west-facing windows. While I believe that cleaning windows with a toddler in the house is pointless, as the afternoon sun streams in your house, the fingerprints and food will be especially noticeable.
Decluttering takes a little more effort than a speed clean, but clearing your home of clutter can make all the difference in the world.
It’s a little difficult to declutter when you have children, though. Try involving them as much as possible, and then throw away broken toys or missing pieces during their naps. 😉
If your main purpose in creating a happy home is to create a relaxing haven for yourself, start your decluttering in the area that stresses you out the most.
For me, this is my closet. I hate having messy closets that feel like they’re going to burst open, Mary Poppins style, and start flinging clothes around the room. Even doing periodic purges in my closet can help relieve stress and create a calming atmosphere in my bedroom.
If you want to create a welcoming environment for others, start by decluttering your most used room, like the family room or even the kitchen.
I tend to quickly declutter the main parts of the house (and the kids’ toys) before I have parties.
4. Add pops of color
My house is very beige – beige walls, beige furniture, beige kitchen… you get the picture.
I tried to include a few pops of color with wall art, but I have to confess that my house isn’t nearly as festive or inviting as some of my friends’ homes. Their couches invite you to sit on them and snuggle into the pretty pillows. Their turquoise ottomans brighten up the room.
A simple way to add a pop of color is to add a colored accent wall in a room. That said, I’m really scared of making a mistake with paint. It seems too permanent to me!
Using pops of color is a simple way to create an inviting room, but it’s one that might stretch you out of your comfort zone. If you need to, invite a friend to shop with you (or ask for pretty throw pillows and blankets as gifts, like I’ve done).
Another way to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone is just to give yourself permission to make a mistake. I loved the Cozy Minimalist course.
In addition to helping me learn about my own decorating style, it helped me “get over myself” and try new things. The course is currently closed, but you can find the book on Amazon. 😉
5. Use cozy accessories to create a welcoming atmosphere
Accessories are an easy way to add color to a room without doing a complete overhaul. Start by shopping your house. Go through each room and see if there’s anything that you could move to a different room. Just rearranging furniture and accessories can breathe life into your home.
Some of my favorite accessories to add (without overwhelming the room or adding clutter) are:
Use pillows to add color and comfort
Some people have mixed feeling about using throw pillows. You don’t want to use so many that it overwhelms the room (or makes it impossible to sit down), but they’re also a great way to create a cozy atmosphere. I love snuggling into a couch with comfy pillows (bonus points if they’re washable, like the ones below that I just bought for my family room).
Add favorite family pictures as conversation pieces and share fun memories
The stairwell in our house is lined with family portraits and traditional school pictures, but don’t be afraid to add more personal pictures around your house. In the hallway between the bedrooms, I hung more personal pictures that I love to look at. I also have personal pictures that bring back happy memories in our bedrooms.
The catch with displaying pictures is that you won’t always see them. Don’t forget to periodically change the pictures to create a fresh look.
Set out food as colorful decorations
Fresh fruit is so pretty! I love displaying a bowl of apples on my dining room table or a basket of fruit in the kitchen to add a bit of color.
Another perk of displaying fresh fruit as part of my decor is that it can encourage you to eat healthier. My hope is that by hiding cookies and keeping fruit in plain sight, I’ll make better decisions, in addition to brightening my home.
Change your rugs to change the look of a room
A simple way to change the look of an entire room is to change your rugs. Rugs that are in high-traffic areas like an entryway can get dirty-looking, but changing them occasionally can bring life back to your room. Another tip is to buy an extra rug to save for “good,” like when you’re hosting guests.
Add accessories carefully
While it’s possible to overdo it with accessories, it’s also possible to do nothing, or even live with what you have out of fear. Another trick that I learned in the Cozy Minimalist course was learning how to “quiet” a room. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to add accessories with ease.
6. Make sure your home has an inviting smell
My parents moved six times when I was a child. Before every open house or realtor showing, my mom would always bake cookies or a pie to make the house smell inviting. To this day, I always try to bake something or diffuse essential oils before having people over.
I often diffuse a blend of Purification and Lemon essential oils in our basement to give our entire house a fresh, clean smell, but I’ll also diffuse a blend of Lavender and Peace and Calming or Joy in the kitchen during nap time and before I go to bed.
If you’re interested in trying essential oils, here’s how I save on my oils. 😉
In the mornings, I also love lighting Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day candles (my favorite scent to create a happy home is Basil).
If the kids are awake, I use a candle warmer, but I prefer lighting the candle when they’re still sleeping (maybe it’s just me, but it seems to have a more potent scent if I actually light the candle).
Just be sure to keep it out of the kids’ reach and blow it out if you choose to light it.
7. Spend a few minutes sprucing up your entrance
The entrance to your home is one of the most easily forgotten areas, especially if you typically enter through a garage. Even so, taking a few minutes to declutter, sweep the front porch and sidewalk, and tend to your home’s main entrance can add curb appeal and welcome people to your home.
As much as I hate to say this (I get poison ivy looking out the window), having bright, weeded flower beds makes a huge difference, too.
Creating a happy, inviting home doesn’t have to be complicated or break the bank. By cleaning, decluttering, or adding a few small accessories or flowers, you can easily change the mood in your home.