I am going to be really frank in this post. It is tough-love time. If you are making one of the 3 mistakes below, then your home is not as welcoming as it could be.
But, here is the good news, all of these have easy fixes. And, not only will everyone else like your home better, but I am willing to bet you will like it better, too.
For this to work, you are going to have to look past all the superficial shortcomings you normally dwell on in your home. No one really cares if you have a burnt out light bulb, or scratches on your baseboard, or you hung your art 2 inches too high.
The 3 mistakes below are the real reasons people might be uncomfortable in your home.
First, your home does not reflect you.
Big mistake. Making a home that is neutral, or designed for resale only, or devoid of any personality whatsoever will make it just that…lifeless. Let me ask you this…is your home so vanilla that with just a swap of a few picture frames another family could move in?
Quick Fix: At a minimum, inject some color (start with your favorite color), hang up family photos or art, and arrange the home for how you live and entertain. Are you formal, casual, cozy, etc?
Take it Further: Do that one project in your home that is so awesome it makes you scared (mostly scared what other people will think). If it is truly you, everyone will love it.
I was beyond nervous to paint our front door teal. Would it go with our brown and dark red house? Would the association, that I skipped asking permission from, come after me? Would my neighbors, friends, and family hate it? In the end, I knew I would love it, so I did it with blatant disregard for what anyone else might think. And, guess what? Everyone compliments us on it.
Second, you keep trying to please the rest of us.
I (and all your other guests) are not comfortable in your home, no matter how much you try to cater to us. We are uncomfortable, because you seem to be more worried about how we feel in your home, or if we like it, than how you feel in your own home. This is directly related to #1.
Why are people visiting your home? They are really visiting you. A home that does not reflect you and drains the life right out of the room is not what they signed up for when they came over. But for some reason when we start trying to keep up with the Joneses and make our home the best for everyone else, we lose ourselves in the process. Stop worrying so much what other people think.
To be your best you, your home needs to be you, too. We like you. We don’t like your home, because it is not you. Make your home more you, and we will feel right at home. Did you move in, set your stuff down, and leave it at that? Your home doesn’t reflect you just because all your worldly possessions are inside.
Quick Fix: You have to curate it, display it, and love it. Think about who you are and make that the story your home tells. Visitors should be able to learn about you and your hobbies by simply being in your home.
Third, you keep apologizing for everything.
Cut it out, already. We are all works in progress, changing and evolving. So it stands to reason our homes are works in progress too. Most people don’t have the money, time, or want to tackle every house project they can dream up, and most other people understand that.
Quick Fix: Stop apologizing for the unfinished floor or lack of gardening. First of all, nobody notices or cares until your bring attention to it. Remember what they are coming over…to see you, not to criticize your undone projects. Second, it is better to focus on the things you love about your home. Lead the guests past the kitchen that desperately needs a makeover, onto the new patio you just installed and are super proud of. Your passion will show for your patio and they won’t notice the kitchen.
Take it Further: If someone does notice or ask about something unfinished, tell them about it. Don’t go into a rant about your money woes, instead share with them what your plan is for that project. If you are not sure, see if they have any suggestions. Unfinished projects can be great conversation starters (because secretly everyone else is constantly dreaming up new projects for their home, too…they will be impressed you are taking action). Whenever my immediate family comes over, we usually do a tour of the basement. They like to see the progress and learn about what I am planning to work on next.
Learn from Our Mistakes
The hubby and I are on our third home together. In our two previous homes we made all the above mistakes. In our first home, we took the apologizing for an undone kitchen remodel so far that we just didn’t have people over.
Don’t do that. It’s no fun for anyone. Our friends missed out on the journey our kitchen went through.
In our second home, we broke #1 and 2 pretty bad. After only a year and a half, we wanted to sell so badly, we kept a resale-ready home that did not reflect us at all. Strangely enough after giving up on living in a blah home, we painted and made some changes we loved. Then, before we could tell our realtor we decided not to sell…boom! Two offers in one day.
In our current home, we are doing it mostly right (after the first year where we didn’t make any changes, which we blame on being sleepless parents of a newborn). We definitely have created a home that reflects us, heck it even reflects the Teal & Lime brand…totally us to the core. We host most family events and everyone loves hanging out with us in our home. We don’t apologize too much, even though living in a home that is also my DIY proving grounds means there are always lots of unfinished projects. Instead of apologizing, we like to talk about our projects and plans with our guests…it’s part of us, so why not?
Which of the 3 big mistakes are you making and what are you going to do about it? Or…if you’d rather not talk about yourself…do you know someone (you don’t have to name names) making one of these mistakes and how does it make you feel when you are in their house?