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Secrets to Making a Home Guest-ready


Are you aware of the top must-dos when it comes to making a home guest-ready?

This Montecito home for sale makes a good first impression to guests but there are some important inside things a homeowner should do when making a home guest ready.

Dinner parties, casual get-togethers, play dates, movie nights or even overnight guests call for attention to detail and remembering the little things. Sometimes surprise visits happen without a moment’s notice. What’s a busy homeowner to do then? Do you hide away a pile of dirty clothes? Light a candle? Dim the lights? Throw dirty dishes in the dishwasher? Bring in a cleaning crew? Send your staff into overdrive?

What about when your relatives come to stay with you for an extended period of time? Do you have your guestrooms repainted? Finally, have your art cleaned and hung? Have plants and flowers brought in?

Before you go overboard, here’s the definitive guide to 8 things guests notice in your space, but that you most likely don’t. I’ve included quick fixes, too:

1. Cohesiveness and Flow

Certain things can make visitors feel uncomfortable in your Montecito home. Namely, poor furniture layout, pictures hung too high, the cohesive flow (or lack thereof) from one room to the next. If you don’t get these right, your visitors might spend their time mentally rearranging the situation instead of visiting with you.

Quick Fix: Don’t go crazy with your color scheme. Make sure the colors you do choose flow seamlessly from room to room. As far as furniture goes, when in doubt, edit things out of your space to see if the flow improves.

2. Cleanliness and Clutter

I can’t stress enough how important it is to live a clutter-free life. Check out my recent blog post on the topic for tips on de-cluttering your home (and your life). Do you get stressed out when friends and family pop over unannounced and see your real-life mess? I don’t blame you. After all, some friends may be neat freaks who get turned off by all your stuff and never return. Don’t lose a friendship over your useless clutter.

Quick fix: When having visitors over, making a home guest-ready can mean an easy and quick 30 minute clean:

  • Tidy up common areas and fluff up pillows (10 minutes).
  • Wipe down sinks and countertops in the bathroom and kitchen. Move dishes into the dishwasher (10 minutes).
  • Empty garbage bins and take out the trash (5 minutes).
  • Replenish guest towels, soap, and toilet paper. Light scented candles and dim the lighting (5 minutes).

3. Art and Books

These days, everyone is curious to know what kind of culture their friends and neighbors consume. Your guests will get a sense of your taste from the art displayed on your walls (and how you display it) and the books and magazines you read.

den with bookcase and French doors to veranda showing casual sophistication in Birnam Wood

Quick fix: Edit your bookcase to display the books that represent you in the best possible light. Also, take an inventory of your art. (Keep in mind, your art should say a lot, so stay away from the generic and go for the pieces that capture your attention.) Ask yourself, does it actually reflect my interests and personality? If not, consider working on your art collection — and have fun with it.

4. Scents and Smells

Making a home guest-ready includes giving it an inviting scent. You definitely don’t want it to smell like you or your housekeeper haven’t taken out the garbage or changed the kitty litter in weeks. After all, scents can conjure up memories and you want to make sure your guests only remember happy ones while they visit you. Things like luxe burning candles, fresh baked cookies, or even a chicken roasting in the oven can make a great initial impression and really add another dimension to a space.

Quick fix: Find the culprits that may be giving your home a funky smell. Check the microwave or the garbage disposal and take care of any issues immediately. I frequently throw a lemon in my garbage disposal. The fresh citrus scent can linger for hours! Or you can always burn a candle 10 to 15 minutes before guests arrive.

5. Natural Light and Artificial Lighting

When walking into your home, guests will most likely notice natural light, especially for those of us lucky enough to call Montecito home, where the indoor-outdoor lifestyle was created and is celebrated every day. Your guests will also pick up on your artificial lighting and how light is arranged around every room. Believe it or not, the quality of light sets the mood of a space. The same space can feel cozy, massive, mysterious, familiar, enchanting, or humdrum with just a change of light.

Quick fix: During the day, draw open your draperies and roll up your blinds. At night, light a few candles, put a fire in the fireplace, dim your lights, and turn off your computer and the TV.

6. Paint Colors

When it comes to paint colors, a good rule is to go with neutral tones. With your interior walls, bold is not better. Of course, there is always room for pops of color in your life, but there are a lot of good reasons to stick with a neutral color scheme for your interior design.

Quick fix: Neutral colors don’t have to be boring! In fact, a calm, neutral backdrop allows you to bring out some pretty bold elements into your design that may otherwise look garish. Try using any of these designer-approved neutral hues.

7. Plants and Greenery

I’ve blogged before about the latest interior design trend: inside gardens. When it comes to making a home guest-ready, living plants can make a positive vibe with your guests as well as those family members who live at home. Besides improving air quality, plants help reduce stress and create a feeling of well-being. Recent research shows that interior plants can help reduce background noise levels inside homes, too. And they just look good!

Quick fix: Get rid of any dead plants in your space and refresh your main rooms with fresh flowers. This is easy when you visit any of the local Farmer’s Markets and pick up a bouquet, along with some live plants.

Follow the steps to making a home guest-ready and you’ll be proud to welcome anyone to your home, anytime. Now is the perfect time to turn your home into the best version of itself. If the best version means shopping for a new home in Montecito, Hope Ranch or any of Santa Barbara’s upscale communities, allow me to help. Just call (805) 886-9378 or email me at I’ll happily add your listing to my portfolio of fine homes in the area and find your new dream home where you can make a great impression for years to come!


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