Every house has its downfalls. The renovation money takes years to save, the priorities fall elsewhere; inevitably something keeps you and I from calling it “finished”.
Discontentment would suggest that we focus solely on all that’s left to do, whispering in our ear, “You could make it perfect if you only had a few more dollars.”
But enjoyment? Enjoyment would pull us to the present, gently nudging us to focus on the here and now.
My husband Madison and I know firsthand the difficulty of practicing that elusive contentment. We are, after all, human. The home we live in now is a 1940’s mish-mash of add-ons waiting to be fully brought to life - green roof and all.
The plaster ceilings are covered in uneven popcorn, the kitchen countertops sport a sponge-painted pattern, and the list goes on and on of past “improvements” we have yet to peel away. Sigh. Even the front and backyard were neglected over the years, leaving shrubs with mile-long legs everywhere.
It pains me, especially as an interior decorator, to wait and live with all the unsightly bits while we save up for updates and renovations.
Still though, welcoming people into our home has always been a priority. The engagement showers and parties, the bible studies and intimate dinners - they all still happen here .
1. Open your windows.
Whenever you possibly can, throw open your windows. We are all wired to be drawn to nature, so remove the barrier between you and a beautiful day. Nothing makes a house feel better than a light breeze rolling through, or the smell of a distant bonfire in the fall. If you can’t open the window, roll up your blinds to let the sunlight in.
2. Turn off your overhead light and use lamps.
Using a mixture of lamps and/or sconces creates a warm glow throughout the room. Having only single overhead light can cast unflattering shadows and make a room fall “flat”. I don’t install overhead lights on my ceiling fans for this very reason! Also because my husband is tall and doesn’t enjoy running into them really.
3. Bring in greenery from your backyard.
Taking branch clippings from your own yard is not only free (hello!) but brings noticeable life into a room. If you don’t have a yard, consider picking up a small indoor plant from your local hardware store. Chances are it’s cheaper than a bouquet of flowers, so don’t worry if you accidentally kill it. I won’t judge you. I’ve killed my fair share.
4. Light a candle.
Is there anything more alluring or cozy than candlelight in the evening? Try placing them away from any other lamps in the room - that way the purpose isn’t defeated. Laurel Mercantile sells a sweet olive blossom candle that sounds heavenly .
For those who are sensitive to fragrance - I discovered 100% beeswax candles and let me just say, I am totally hooked. They have a light, natural honey smell and I can usually pick them at our local farmers market or from Bluecorn Naturals o n Amazon.
5. Surround yourself with what you love and get rid of the rest.
Make the time investment to evaluate everything in your home. Keep what you love and donate or sell the rest. Yep, you guessed it, I’ve read and loved The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Once you remove the weight of seen and tucked away clutter, a house feels totally different.
6. Turn on some music.
Music makes a house come alive . You can change the entire mood just by what you play (Billie Holiday makes for the best cozy atmosphere!) If you play an instrument, there’s also something to be said for keeping it out to noodle around with on a quiet evening.
7. Lastly, relax a little.
It can be a breath of fresh air when we realize our friends come over to see us, not our homes. It’s ultimately up to you and I whether or not we will enjoy those blessings: the gift of company and the gift of shelter.
I’ll leave you with this: maybe the best way to create a more inviting home is to actually invite more.
Just a thought.
Hey there! I’m Briana. I live and run my design business, Cultivate Interiors, on the outskirts of Columbia, South Carolina.
Let’s see...my 6’4” burly husband Madison indeed has a girl name, we’ve got two cats, and we are currently learning the trials that living in a fixer-upper will put you through. I am helplessly drawn to nature, tattered pieces that could tell a story, and bringing beautiful, purposeful life back into old homes.