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7 small things you can do to transform your home into a sanctuary

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Welcoming someone into your home for the first time is always stressful: You worry about what they might think of the way you’ve chosen to decorate, if it’s too messy or even if they might look at your home, your sanctuary, and think it’s dirty!

The home is just that – your sanctuary – and the way it looks and is lived in should reflect that. It should be all about you and your family – that is after all what home is. That epiphany aside, you want others to feel welcome and at ease in your home.

Designers all agree that there are a couple of small things that have a huge impact on the way people experience your home.

#1 Airy and well-lit living and entertainment areaspretty chairs

When guests first walk into your home they won’t notice how old your couches are or your new designer side table. Smells and lighting in the room you are welcoming them into will give the cues on how inviting your home is.

Open windows, blinds and doors to air out the room and let in natural light. Make sure there is no dust on surfaces and try to de-clutter the room. It is also never a bad idea to burn a scented candle just before your guests are set to arrive.

If you have some extra money to invest in your home consider a statement-piece floor lamp, a beautiful table lamp or even installing dimmers on your overhead lights. Designers agree that most of us under-light our rooms. These additions to your rooms will make all the difference

#2 The layout of your rooms

While you can’t do much to change the architectural layout of your home, it really is all about how you use the furniture inside to best showcase your space. Too much furniture crammed into a room, lonely furniture pushed against a wall and functionality ranking low on your list of requirements from a furniture piece all mess with your ability to get the best out of a space.

Play around, put furniture in spots you never thought could work, think about movement and functionality in the space and limit useless bits and bops.

#3 Ensure your home has been to ‘finishing school’beautiful loung and cornices

Guests notice the little things. The door handles and knobs, skirtings and cornices, cheap, badly installed wall shelving or cabinet door hinges that are loose or broken. Invest in quality finishes if you have the additional funds available right now.

If not in your budget you can still make sure that this is not where your home falls short. Make sure that cornices, skirtings and knobs and handles are dust free, clean light switches and tighten loose doors, handles and knobs regularly.

#4 Give the curtains and walls some love

Should you have some extra cash to spend on the interior of your home assess whether it needs a facelift with a new coat of paint. If you do decide that it is required opt for natural tones and consider the way it will showcase your furniture and art. Before painting, remove all unused nails; there is nothing worse than a wall with a nail painted over!

Your curtains need to touch the floor! That unsightly gap between the floor and curtain if it is too short is instantly noticeable and detracts from the room. Even a curtain that is a centimeter or two too long makes it look like you inherited your curtains from your mother. Measure, and then measure again to ensure they are the right length.

#5 It shouldn’t look like a room off a shop floor, it needs some of YOUairy living room and modern

Your home should not look like you’ve shopped an entire collection from one designer or furniture shop. Forget about matching and sticking to aging style rules; your home needs to be filled with items you love and that characterise you and your family.

That being said, minimise clutter and useless mementos collecting dust on shelves. Try and keep function in mind when decorating while injecting your personal taste and things with special meaning into the room.

#6 The devil’s in the details

Pay attention to the way you decorate your shelving, couches and side tables. Stacked books indicate that they are not being read whereas books that are easily accessible can be a conversation starter. Two lonely scatter cushions on a three-seater sofa create an empty feeling. In this case experts agree more is better; create a comfy, inviting couch with cushions of various sizes and textures and throws added to the mix.

Frame family pictures and special kiddies’ art. These special memories combined with beautifully chosen frames add character and style to your home.

#7 Pay attention to every area your guest is likely to spend time inguest toiletries

Make sure the bathroom is clean, scrub the tiles, wash the mirrors and dust on top of the medicine cabinet. To make your guests feel welcome in every room of your home set out special hand soap and lotion, and fresh hand towels. If the guest is spending the night have a fresh towel and hamper with other toiletries ready.

Tidy areas such as your home office and play room to ensure that these areas add to the calm and inviting nature of the rest of your home and prepare the guest room in advance with fresh linen and a neutral smelling candle to make your guest feel especially welcomed.

The friends and family you invite into your home may be there to see you but a beautifully decorated, and well-loved, lived in home is welcoming and inviting to anyone and will truly be  sanctuary for its all occupants – even the temporary kind.


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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