Whether you realise it or not, the first few seconds you're in a property leaves a lasting impression, and affects, your continued experience there.
From the moment you wander up the path, you're sub-consciously taking in the subtleties of detail; what does the garden look like - is it well tendered, or is it a bit sad, neglected and full of weeds?
Are the windows and door pleasant features, possibly even bespoke (though we can't all afford such luxuries), or generic styles the same as all the neighbours?
Do the window dressings catch your eye (in the right way!) or are they half-open/half-closed with no thought put to how they might look to a passer-by? - you know the houses I'm talking about!
These are all elements that feed into how we begin to feel before we even enter the place.
Above is the epitome of a perfectly presented row of terraced properties; all owners have the same high standards of how their little area should look. I don't know about you, but I think you'd be hard pressed to not feel full of happiness and contentment when passing through that green picket fence.
Whether you're wanting to sell, or rent, your property or simply invite friends over, it's always wise to pay attention to those first few crucial seconds to ensure their visit is a welcome one - or maybe not, if you'd rather they don't return in a hurry - we all have someone like that!
Once through the door, what's the lighting situation? Is it dark and gloomy? Soft, subtle and homely? Clean, light and crisp? Or, bright and stark? see my blog on how lighting affects how a space feels.
Are the colours welcoming? Warm and embracing to give a virtual hug; shocking and brash - a real statement; cold and clinical; dark and mysterious, or; dull and a tad lack-lustre?
Finally, what does the property smell like? Is it fresh-baked bread, a fruity or flowery burst, or last night's fish supper? This can really make a visitor feel really happy and relaxed, like they're sinking into a warm bath, or down right queasy.
Don't forget people's senses are taking all these elements in and how they interact with you, will have as much to do with these minute details and initial few seconds as it does with your long-standing or new relationship with them.
Making your entrance hall a statement space can be easily achieved with a few simple quick-wins. Especially, if you're opening the door to a prospective buyer or tenant, simple tasks such as making sure there isn't a school cloakroom-full of coats hung on the newel post, or piles of muddy shoes kicked all over the floor. Putting these away is a quick and easy fix.
Take a few minutes to clean your front door and windows (don't forget your frames and cills!). As for lighting, you don't have to spend the earth, simple table lamps can add a wonderfully warm and homely feel to any space and, to make things even easier, put them on a timer and they'll even welcome you in when you return home - plus they're ideal for security in making your home look like you're in.
With colours, if you're a little unsure of going for something bold and daring, plumb for a soft off-white, not only will it brighten up a dark hallway, but it's an excellent back-drop for you to add colour and texture with accessories, such as flowers, a potted plant or some wicker baskets. We may not all be able to have a splendid staircase like the one above, but the tones, textures and finishes will suit any property - less is always more ;)
When it comes to smells, if you know you're going to be having visitors within the next 24 hours, don't cook, or eat, anything too pungent or you'll be hearing renditions of the Cranberries ,'Linger'...!! It's always good to burn a good quality scented candle - I always have candles burning whenever I can and I find they seem to impregnate the whole house for weeks on end, even when they're not being burned. However, do be careful not to leave a burning candle unattended, your house won't smell too good, being burnt to a crisp! Some incense sticks can be a good alternative.
Finally, as you open the door - smile :) - well, only if you really want to see the visitor again.