You don’t want your home to be as sterile as a doctor’s office. You want any guest to feel “right at home” and comfortable as soon as they walk in. You can accomplish this by looking at your home’s floor plan, and making several changes room by room. These changes can be major renovations or just minor, since oftentimes, it’s the little things that say “Welcome Home.”
If you have dividing walls that are non-load bearing, consider removing them. Houses, in years past, were oftentimes designed by carpenters who just cobbled something together. If you plan things out, more room can be obtained. For example, two small rooms are created by a wall. You can open up the area by removing the wall. Conversely, a large room has an “open air” feeling. You can create a niche by building a dividing wall. Before attempting any work, however, make sure the walls are indeed non-load bearing. If you are not comfortable with telling the difference between load and non-load bearing walls, consult with a builder who can offer some suggestions.
You may have a house that is dark and not letting enough light in. This creates a cave-like feeling which is inhospitable. To increase natural light, consider skylights or increasing the size of windows. For example, one wall has no windows. If you install sliding glass doors, it brings the outside in, and adds to the ambiance. The tricky part, however, is that windows are on load bearing walls. Specialized knowledge is needed to support the roof while wall re-framing is taking place. You can draw up the prints, but unless you are a skilled builder, refer wall re-framing to a qualified contractor.
All remodeling does not have to be major projects. You can change the “feel” of a living area or rooms just be installing new lighting. By installing an electrical light, it brightens up the area. Another area to look at is focal points. Perhaps you have a fireplace that should to stand out. By installing track lights, you can illuminate focal points of the house which creates an inviting feeling. Again, if you are not comfortable doing electrical work, this job should be referred to a qualified electrician.
Different flooring can change the feel of a room dramatically. If you have dingy floors, it’s not welcoming. Many flooring options, such as laminates or tile, make a house more inviting. Also, carpeting makes a room more inviting, but it has to be a color that coordinates with your walls. As a rule of thumb, darker floors make a room look smaller, while a light colored floor makes a room look bigger.
Remodeling does not always involve major surgery to a house. Just by changing the wall treatment, a room or area can be more hospitable. For example, wood trim is always inviting. Consider adding natural wood moldings. The trim should show the grain, and either be stained or just varnished over. If you have painted trim, consider stripping the paint off, and varnishing the wood instead. Another piece of trim that adds to a room is wainscoting (also called a chair rail or rub rail).
From major surgery to just little touches here and there, a house can be made to look comfortable and inviting. You can do this room by room, or do the entire house at once. If you are a “do it yourself” kind of person then room by room would be the best option. If on a time constraint, hiring contractors will save time. It all depends on the budget, time, and talents as your own interior architect.