Decorating with Guests in Mind


When it comes to decorating, my philosophy is to always maintain the presence of the home with the expectation of guests. I strive for “the magazine spread photoshoot” look in the main rooms which remain clean and free of clutter. This philosophy prevents disorganized habits from trailing out into open spaces where guests will be entertained. This also eliminates the need to “clean up before the guests arrive”. With this approach, the home is always ready to receive guests without embarrassment. Here’s some ideas to create the environment which is comforting and inviting to guests which will hopefully encourage them to stay longer. Remember, moderation and simplicity is key… Not too much, not too little.

  • Choose simple designed furniture that matches like a theme. Mismatching furniture can be offensive to the look of your room.
  • Have different seating options. We have a sectional couch, dining table with foldable chairs, and a bar table with 2 bar stools.
  • Have blanket throws (fur throws-my preference) readily available or off to the side somewhere so guests can help themselves to make them more comfortable.
  • Don’t face seating arrangements into direct lighting if you can help it. For example, don’t have chairs facing a movie projector or in a bright window when there is a better shaded option.
  • Guests may get a little bored so have a stash of curiosities nearby. Living room toys such as games (Cards Against Humanity!), puzzle toys, toys, iPads, massage tools, squishy stress balls, small instruments and other novelty curiosities.
  • Another boredom-basher/conversation piece is to have some art books (coffee table books), current interesting magazines, and scrapbooks/photo albums sitting out to entice guests interests.
  • Wall art, statues/sculptures, and home decor can be good conversation pieces. Put up meaningful art and maybe also some soothing neutral art. I have a hypnocube, 3D printed planter, and a Banksy canvas print which I love to be asked about.
  • A charging station is a nice idea so guests don’t have to worry about their phones dying. Perhaps even dock a free floating iPad for guest use.
  • Of course, must have a TV and/or music/record player. Keep various media available for entertainment. Some people would prefer to play an interactive video game or board game to streaming YouTube videos or watching a full length feature film.
  • Keep the rooms free of clutter with only a few accent pieces which ideally become conversation pieces.
  • Lighting can make a huge difference in an atmosphere. Accent lighting, mood lighting, lamps, lava lamps, and my personal favorite Mathmos Liquid Light Projector give an ambiance that is psychologically comforting.


  • Everything that comes into the home makes it back to the bedrooms (or non-communal rooms) or it’s final destination that same day. “Everything in its Right Place”
  • It might be cool to have a guestbook or a framed welcome sign with the Wifi password.
  • Offer fun drinks and snacks throughout to keep the night going, such as cheese trays, wine, chips and dips to name a few.
  • Generally follow industry established design principles: For Example – Clear furniture opens up small spaces, and organization/familiarity  lets people effortlessly know where to look for things such as a tissue box when they need it.
  • Keep hoarding tendencies in check, get rid of what you don’t use or haven’t used in years. That can mean, selling it or giving it to someone who would appreciate it more, which in turn will make you feel good.

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