There’s an art to making a home inviting — the kind of place that says, ‘come in, be comfortable.’ Unfortunately, that art is in danger of getting lost, at least among the busy apartment-dwellers of Detroit’s urban core. So here’s a quick primer in setting up an apartment that will draw guests in and put them at ease.
Consider Your ‘Curb Appeal’
Not literally, obviously, since you have no control over what your apartment looks like on the actual curbside. But you do have control over what your apartment looks like as a guest approaches the door. Whether your door is in a hallway or is exterior, you can take a minute to clean up around your doorway and set up a few decorations that show your personality and liven up the space.
Create a ‘Decompression Zone’
This is a classic retail trick that works wonders at home, too. Just inside your front door, devote a few feet of space to something simple and pleasant on the eye. A big, leafy plant just to the side of the front door (if there’s room) will do the trick. At the minimum, keep it Spartan and clean by making sure the shoes and coats are at least orderly, but better, put entirely away.
Draw the Eye In with Distant Color
The colors in your ‘decompression zone’ should be fairly neutral — not only because neutral is generally more pleasant than not, but because it allows you to easily draw a visitor’s eye farther in by putting a splash of color farther in. It can be almost anything: a painting, vivid throw pillows on a dark couch, or even something tricky like a big mirror reflecting the light from the entryway back at itself. By putting something visually catchy visible from (but nowhere near) the door, you create the instant impression that your loft is someplace the visitor wants to explore, which means they’ll feel like coming in and staying for a while.
Make the Pathways Obvious and Easy
Obstacles are the single easiest way to make a guest feel uncomfortable on an instinctive, gut level. When the guest has to look to you for assistance in something as simple as getting to the dining room table, any feeling of invitation vanishes. If you’re going to have an area that requires some effort to get to, make it obvious that you expect them to put in the effort, and you won’t frown at them if they just up and climb over the back of the sofa (or whatever).
When you’re consciously trying to make your apartment inviting, look around and ask yourself if what you see matches this list of adjectives:
Last-Minute: Consider the Smell
Classic advice for the ’50s housewife was to have a batch of fresh-baked cookies at the ready. Today, we can safely say it’s OK to have a store-bought snack — but it’s not OK to have guests come into a house that smells like Pine-Sol or your breakfast or nothing at all. Instead, grab a day-old loaf of bread for a buck and toss it in the oven on low (about 20 min. before your guest gets there) until you can smell it. Then turn the oven off, leave the bread in, and be satisfied that you’ve completed the final step in making your loft apartment inviting and fabulous.
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