10 Questions To Take Your Home From Good To Great

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There are some homes that just beckon. They may not be the largest or the most well furnished but they work. Chances are it's because the people who live there really thought about how the homes would function for their lives. If you'd like to take your home from being nice to being the home that everyone wants to hang out at, here are some questions to ask yourself.

Do I wake up in the morning feeling truly rested? While there are a whole bunch of reasons I might toss and turn at night, a clean and serene bedroom certainly helps me feel at ease. If you've been sleeping fitfully, perhaps it's time for some new bedding. Updating your bed with a down or Tempurpedic mattress topper, some new pillows (I'm loving Ikea's Gosa Pinja pillows for side sleepers) and new bedding (try cozy flannel for winter, smooth cool sateen for summer) can make a big difference in your sleep patterns. For problem sleepers, try some of these tips for bedding down with Mr. Sandman.

Can I play music in your home, including in the bedroom and the bath? Sound, like scent, is one of those elusive layers in a home that you don't recognize as important until there's something annoying, like loud neighbors or a blaring car alarm, to jolt you. Even if you're a rock or hard core fanatic, don't limit your in-home soundtrack. Opera on Sunday mornings, soul for cleaning, power ballads while showering. Check out our many amazing soundtrack posts, including ones to cook by.

Do I have a comfortable spot in my home where I can read, talk on the phone, even nap, that is not my bed? If the most comfortable spot in your home is your bed, it's time to rethink things. A comfy chair in the corner of the bedroom, extra pillows on the couch, a floor cushion by a sunny window, an ottoman pulled up to the sofa, a throw near a drafty window, angling a daybed to catch the afternoon light, are all ways to make a spot more inviting.

Can I walk around my house barefoot? While we're not advocating a shoes off policy (though your home may stay cleaner if you do), the rugs should feel nice on the feet, the floors clean and smooth. It seems like a chore but I do a super fast damp mop on my wooden floors every morning (really superfast. And yes, sometimes I even make airplane noises!) with a old rag tucked into a Swiffer mop and spritzed with a little Mrs. Myers Lavender all-purpose spray.

Does my home smell good? That little mopping habit not only keeps my floors clean, it also keeps my home smelling nice. Cleansers, a scented candle, opening the windows, cooking -- these all bring a layer of scent into your home.

Is there a convenient spot for a guest to put down a coat or hang a bag? How about one for yourself? If you don't already have one, consider establishing a landing strip in your home near your front door. This alone can do a lot towards alleviating a clutter takeover in your home.

How about a spot that I feel comfortable entertaining a guest? Maybe you spend a lot of time in your home alone, maybe you hate having anyone over, but when you do, step back and take a look at how comfortable someone is. Where do they choose to sit? You can learn a lot about your home from a visitor. You don't need a formal living room, just two chairs with someplace to put down a glass of water.

Can I vary the mood in my home with lighting to serve that room's functions? There should be reading lights within easy reach of the bed or sofa, enough light in the kitchen to chop by or peer into the back of your pantry. If you're always squinting, time to consider a well-place lamp or at least the wattage of your lightbulbs. Before you make any major changes in your home, invest in some lighting. That may be all the work you need.

How organized is my home? Is your clothing closet well-organized enough that you can get dressed in 15 minutes? Do you have the makings of quick meal to feed an unexpected guest? What about your bathroom? Are all the things you need easily accessible or do you have so many things to take out and put away in the morning that you create a tornado that you then dread putting away?

And, perhaps most importantly, do I feel happy walking into your home? Are you proud of your home? Your home should make you smile to be there.

image: Sharon & Chris' Monochrome Wonder

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