Your entryway is the gateway to your domestic life. It gives guests their first impression of your home and a little peek into who you are. After your guest rings the doorbell there’s “wait time,” and it’s a rather private period of scrutiny and judging.
Be Your Guest
Stand outside your front door and pretend you’re a guest and you’ve just rung the doorbell. While you’re waiting for you to come to the door, think about what your entryway says or doesn’t say. (When I did this exercise, I looked at the bear my bonus daughter, Kristi gave us when we moved into our new home eleven years ago. The bear is carved out of wood and I love him. He holds a sign that used to say, “Welcome,” but on a closer look I discovered it was blank. This blank sign would certainly give my guests an opportunity to wonder what the bear wanted to say: “Will work for honey,” “Help!” “Beware of Dog,” or a hundred other bear messages. Repaint welcome sign got added to the list of sprucing up chores that popped up during this exercise.)
As you stand at your door, does it feel welcoming? Or does it make you want to run? Be sure to have a notebook to write all the ideas that come to mind. By putting yourself in your guest’s place, you are given new eyes. Write down what they see.
The first thing to do is ring the doorbell to see if it works. If it doesn’t, fix it, or at least write it down to get it fixed. If it needs a little cleaning, do it whether it’s fixed or not.
The Front Door
The front door probably needs a good cleaning and polishing after all its work protecting you and your family from winter’s abuse. Use mild detergent and your favorite furniture polish. If it has windows in it or around it, wash them inside and out. If it has a brass kick plate, polish it with brass cleaner.
After the long winter, your doormat needs to be cleaned or maybe even replaced. Doormats are like bathrobes; we get used to them and fail to see their demise. Besides many of us enter our homes through our garages and rarely see what we are subjecting our guests to at the front door. Doormats serve to welcome guests, but they are also the frontline in the battle against outside dirt coming in. (Just a SHE note, it’s a wise tactic to choose carpeting and upholstery fabric that matches the dirt in your yard.)
Scrutinize any plants in the entryway. Are they thriving? Or do they look like they’re dying and struggling for nourishment and care? The condition of your entryway plants don’t necessarily reflect how you take care of your family, but some guests could make that psychological assumption.
Make sure your lights aren’t burnt out and clean the fixtures so if the lights do work, they can do their job.
Keeping your entryway swept is a weekly task and because it’s outside, it’s host to more than human guests. Moss can creep in, cobwebs and their inhabitants, yard debris from wind gusts and such. The best moss killer I’ve found is plain old white vinegar. I buy it by the gallon and douse moss that gets into the little nooks and crannies of the aggregate sidewalk in our front yard.
Decorate for the Season
It’s always nice to decorate your entryway for the seasons, but be careful not to go overboard. I don’t think you want your home to look like a department store window in New York.
As you plan your spruce-up remember the most important element in an entryway is to have it reflect your love and care for your home. If your entryway can make you smile, it’ll surely make your guests feel welcome.
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