You've signed the papers, you've got the keys, and now you're staring at a whole lot of blank walls. You've spent the past decade moving from place to place, city to city, focusing on your career. Now you're ready to make a true home — but you haven't the slightest idea how.
That's the position many ambitious young professionals find themselves in when the clock strikes the big 3-0. Three decades in, and we may have seen the world, but we haven't seen the slightest bit of domesticity within our homes.
To help conjure up the courage to create a comfortable abode (and invite company over), we called in the experts. Some of the state's reigning interior designers, bloggers and editors have come to our aid with tips that they learned the hard way — but probably much sooner in life — on creating a warm, welcoming home to be proud of.
Adrienne Breaux, Editor of 2Modern, based in Austin
1. Get it clean... and finally keep it clean
Home feels like home when it's filled with friends and family, and you're more likely to invite folks over when you're not worried they'll spot your dust bunnies or stumble on the pile of laundry that springs up in that one corner of your bedroom. Finally set down — and stick to — a cleaning schedule this fall.
2. Go ahead and buy yourself confidence
Your home doesn't have to be perfect to enjoy it, but give yourself permission to start the process of making your dream home. Buy yourself a few needed (or wanted) pieces that will give you confidence to entertain.
3. Focus, experiment, breathe — and then enjoy
Focus your time, energy and brilliance on DIY projects, new home items or furniture layout rearrangements that work for you (and don't be afraid to experiment until you strike just the right note). But if you're still worried, remember: Low lighting and lots of bourbon can make any space look design magazine-worthy.
Kristie Ramirez Hoitsma, Texas Monthly writer-at-large, Editor of Texas Style & Substance, based in Dallas
1. Always have a good mix to play
Even if just one person is coming over, create some background noise with something other than your television. A neutral mix of Joni Mitchell, Willie Nelson, and Van Morrison never offends anyone.
2. A few flowers go a long way
They add life to a room. You don't have to go nuts and have $12 stems of peonies. Orchids or succulents are cost effective; they are big impact, inexpensive, and have major longevity.
3. Stock the pantry with good snacks
This is easy, but something that people often forget. You want to be able to offer something to guests. Always have wasabi almonds, crackers, and a block of cheese. All of these things keep forever, are a good balance of textures and flavors, and affordable. You're more likely to have friends pop over when you know you don't have to run out to the grocery to sate even the smallest of appetites.
Janus Lazaris, Owner and Interior Designer at JanusDesign, based in Houston
1. The "giving home" is always ready for company
Give yourself enough time to plan, organize, and create. Start early by setting up the guest room weeks before your company arrives. Think about menus, events and schedules before the doorbell rings. A simple game plan will work wonders in eliminating stress.
2. Now that autumn nights begin early, turn on the lights
Your home will sparkle much brighter if you dust light bulbs and clean light covers. This is also a good time to polish glass, silver and other shiny surfaces so they reflect light better.
3. Keep warm and cozy
Don't forget rugs, wraps, pillows and blankets! November is the time to layer your home in warm and cozy textures. Drape a distinctive blanket over the back of the sofa. Add inviting pillows and a rug, and place firewood so it is ready for a cold night.
Put these ideas into motion, and next time a friend unexpectedly rings your doorbell, you won't find yourself running to hide behind the couch.