A Welcoming Atmosphere: How to Create (or Boost) It In Your Home

updated Jul 16, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Breanne Johnsen)

Atmosphere is the je ne sais quoi ingredient to interiors. You can’t really put your finger on it and it’s not really something you can buy in a box to add to your home. But it’s the thing that differentiates a great home from just a good one, and it’s the thing that makes guests want to stay and linger in your home as long as possible. How do you get it (or make your existing atmosphere even better)?

Well the answer to that isn’t easy. A gorgeous, welcoming and rich atmosphere isn’t as quantifiable as interior designers might wish it was (or else every restaurant in the world would ace atmosphere without even trying).

So don’t take any of the tips or advice you find below as the law. These are merely suggestions of areas and ways you might do some adjusting to tweak and find your home’s magic spot of atmosphere. (A note on the photos used to illustrate this post: atmosphere is even harder to show in photos than it is to define!)

(Image credit: Natalie Grasso)

If you feel like your home could use an atmosphere boost, consider trying one of these things:

Start with charm and character Building charm and architectural character certainly have a lot to do with atmosphere (works for me, at least). If you lucked out and live in a home that came with some, you might already have plenty of atmosphere to work with. If you don’t have a home with a gorgeous, crumbling brick wall or huge rustic ceiling beams, try faking architectural character details.

Check your lighting: Aim for good and low lighting First evaluate your lighting. Then adjust if need be. Get more inspiration if you need it: 10 Homes with Amazing Lighting.

Are you being true to your own style?

Your home should exude a lot of your own personal and wonderful personality; that will add a ton of atmosphere nearly instantaneously. If you’re not sure if your home does or still unsure of your own style, here’s help:

Make sure your place is comfortable Like in a very physical way — is seating comfy yet firm? Do you have just a bunch of sharp edges and hard materials or do you have a few throw rugs to soften up the space? But also is it comfortable in another, less-easy to define way: Do guests know where to put their things down? Is the bathroom easy to find?

And that it encourages conversation Furniture too far apart, too many elements in the way — there are a few things that can get in the way of guests feeling like they can gab freely, and a few things you can do to fix the convo situation.

Remember: Your attitude and how you make others feel plays a big part of having a great home atmosphere First up,
stop apologizing as soon as they walk in the door. Even if being a great host doesn’t come naturally, you can always work on making guests feel more comfortable and at home. And just sort of remember to be you. Your friends come to see the person they like, not be fussed over!

How have you created an enviable atmosphere in your home? Do you have tips to share?