I don’t know about you, but I LOVE having people in my home! There is just something about gathering people together. I know some people like being alone, I definitely need my space at times too, but overall I prefer to be around people more than less. I always said I wanted my home to be the place where my kids would hang out with their friends, I just didn’t know that time would come so soon! Well you see, I just started having children, so my 11 month old isn’t concerned about having friends over…
However, God arranged for us to be parents to our teenage son, Davon, this past summer, so now my house has been filled with teens. Between his high school friends, who are here quite often, and the community my husband and I are apart of, there are always people in our home. This guide is really just for people who want to create a safe place, where people want to come and just be. So here are 7 ways to make your home a place where people want to go.
- Listen and create time, even when you are busy
- There are so many times and moments when people are over and I have a million other things to do, but I stop what I am doing and listen. Nothing shows you care more to someone, than a listening ear.
- Listening should be considered a virtue (to me) because people mainly just listen to respond, rather than to understand. (I’m still working on this with my husband lol)
- I put this first because yes, cozy decor may attract people at first, but a listening ear will keep people coming back because ultimately people want to be cared for and heard.
- Provide a safe space to share, with no judgement
- This ties into my first point, but how you respond when people open up to you is important. Even if you know what they did is wrong, are you critical? Do you make a face? How do you respond?
- Put yourself in their shoes. I know people always say this, but this is so true. Especially when around teenagers. I remember what it was like, there are crazy mixed messages and temptations all around them. I think about what it is like to be in their shoes (whoever it is) and help.
- Be vulnerable, and share a similar mistake or something that can relate that can show you are human too. This really helps to make people feel like you understand.
- Speak LIFE and encouragement
- This is pretty self explanatory, but when people are around you, they should leave feeling uplifted and encouraged. There are too many negative voices in this world, so your home should be the place where people feel loved, believed in, and cared for.
- If you see something you like in someone, or something they do, share it with them and tell them. You would be surprised how far that goes.
- Common phrases you should say often: “That’s awesome,” “I’m so proud of you,” “Good job,” “I notice you do ____ that’s really great,” “You are really good at ____,” “you CAN do it!”
- That may seem cheesy, but you would be surprised how far those few words can make someone’s day and feel empowered and noticed.
- Always have FOOD
- Now, don’t feel the pressure to always have a full course meal ready for people, but even if you see discounts for cakes, cookies, popcorn, buy them to just have ready.
- Gathering around food is the #1 way to create a space for meaningful conversations, keeping people together, and making people feel loved. Come on, who doesn’t feel cared for after someone puts food in your belly? haha.
- Even though I eat pretty healthy, have simple comfort foods that are quick and easy to make, like spaghetti, rice, chili. Things that will fill people up and make them feel all warm inside! (haha)
- Keep it Clean
- Having a clean space feels inviting and people will want to stay there longer. It can be really uncomfortable if things are dirty and there is no room for you to sit. I’m not saying everything needs to be spotless, but removing clutter and a quick wipe down of surfaces makes a big difference.
- I know, I know, the pressure to have things clean feels impossible, especially if you have kids right? Well I have noticed in my own home, that the more I get rid of things, the slower it takes for things to become a mess again.
- Create a place for everything. If there is a specific place for something, then you and your family know where it needs to be if it is out of place. In my home, everyone pretty much knows where everything needs to go, so they can help me clean up things because I’m constantly keeping things in the same place, as well as removing more and more clutter.
- Do a little quick clean before you go to sleep. I always just put things away in their spots before bed. Throw any dishes in the dishwasher, or wash them real quickly. Starting your day fresh, in a clean space is key!
- Keep things COZY and inviting
- If you have a choice of decor and are trying to create space for people to be invited and feel at home, find things that are comfortable and practical. We purchased a dark gray couch because yes, I love gray, but I knew it would be easier to clean and show less stains. We also opened up our home by tearing down a wall so that the dining room and living room feel more connected. BEST DECISION EVER. Keeping everyone together and included is key.
- Choosing the right couch. This may be subjective, but we put a lot of thought into which couch set we bought. People won’t want to stay in a place long where there really isn’t enough room. So we saved up when we bought our house, and purchased a really big couch, with 3 pieces. Honestly, we are always hanging out in our living room with people, talking, watching movies, just the way I wanted it. It helps people not feel crammed because they can stretch out.
- Just add some cozy pillows, throw blankets, keep a warm smelling candle burning, and you will have people feeling like home in no time.
- Also, if you have a yard, I suggest getting (or making) a fire pit and a hammock! Both things are my absolute favorite parts about being outside. No better way to create memories than sitting around a fire, roasting marshmallows or swinging in the hammock with someone you love. 🙂
- Make it yours
- Since it is your home, I suggest really making it your home. What are some quotes or scriptures you live by? What would you want people to know about you? This helps people feel closer to you and know more of your heart, without you saying anything at all.
- Put up your pictures!! Of course, as a photographer I am going to say this, but pictures tell a lot! My picture wall has started a lot of conversations and let people get to know me more. Certain pictures evoke a certain time or tell about a specific person. Being open and vulnerable about yourself creates trust and an openness to your relationship.
Creating a hospitable home, in my opinion, is really about the atmosphere you create beyond the food and decor, but how you love and treat people. So if you learn anything from this, know that people may forget about that specific meal you made for them, but will always remember how you made them feel.