As you develop your vision for your house, remember to make it company-friendly. This means plenty of comfortable seating in the living room and several places to rest drinks (a coffee table and a couple of end tables). Seating should be arranged to create conversational circles. Your bathroom should have plenty of toilet paper on hand. Set out an extra roll when entertaining. Throw out your ratty hand towels and buy a new set in a color that complements the color theme in your bathroom. Match the bathmat if you don’t know what your color theme is. Keep a stocked kitchen. Keep beverages and snacks that you know your friends (and potential girlfriends) like. Keep some sort of frozen appetizers in your freezer in case of last-minute guests. Trader Joe’s has all kinds of products that fit the bill: raspberry and brie pastries, coconut chicken sticks, etc.
Personalize your space, especially the living room, where company will gather. If all your books and CDs are stored away in your office or bedroom, the living room will seem sterile. Having such items in the common areas of your home also gives guests topics of conversation. You’ve got a ton of books. Get a bookcase or two for your living room and fill them up.
If a wall has more than a five-by-five blank space that is not covered by furniture or broken up by windows, the wall should have something on it. Art, a wall calendar, a shelf, etc. Photos are a nice touch, too--just be sure that none of the pictures is just of you (unless it’s a baby picture) and that most of the photos don’t have you in them at all. You don’t want to seem narcissistic. Or friendless.
Another personalizing touch is artwork. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t have a strong liking for some painter or photographer. If you like an artist, display his/her art in your home. If you don’t know anything about art, visit a poster shop and flip through the prints until you find something you like. Sticking to one artist or one style of art throughout your space is an easy way to give a feeling of continuity to your home. Black and white photos are nice and if you’re into Escher, that’s great, but just remember: if you use black and white art, don’t have white walls. It’s too sterile. If you have no color sense, use the color combination suggestions from the Adobe cool tool Web site: http://kuler.adobe.com/. Do not paint the ceiling a darker color than the walls. It makes the space feel claustrophobic.
Last words on interior decorating:
Do not push every stick of furniture you have up against the walls. This creates a square shape and looks odd (trust me). You want to create a circular feel to your space. We live in boxes now but we used to live in caves, tepees and wombs.
If you have a small room, think about ways to maximize the space. If you have a small living room, buy an armless couch. This allows more seating than a couch of the same size that has arms. Use optical illusion to make the room feel bigger. Use mirrors, open window shades, and paint the walls a light color.
Get a good-quality mattress. (If it costs $300 it is not a good mattress, no matter what the salesperson says.)
Up on Friday: The World of Cooking