January - February - March 2015

The Warmth Of Home (p.24)
How To Create An Inviting Home

By Laurie Preston

I was recently speaking to a group of people and someone asked how to make a house a home, a place that doesn't feel sterile or personal. I am a firm believer that a home takes time to evolve and truly reflect its owners. A house on the other hand, can be created very quickly – that is essentially what I do when I stage a home … I go in and make it a house that potential buyers can envision themselves living in, void of personal touches that make a house a home.

Making a home feel comfortable and inviting can be achieved in several ways. For instance, paint evokes feelings, so the color of your walls can significantly affect the mood you wish to create. This coming year's color forecast by Sherwin-Williams suggests that warm blues, grays, greens, and golds (particularly in their Chrysalis collection) will prevail in home decorating themes. These hues are simple and soothing, creating a relaxed atmosphere.

Paint accompanied by accessories that reflect the homeowners' tastes can also create a sense of personal style. I always appreciate walking into a home that is uniquely decorated, like a fingerprint of its occupants. Just recently I was in a home with substantial, stunning sepia prints of sail boats – the homeowners love to sail and they showcased their hobby within their residence. Collections from various travels is another great way to incorporate personality into a living space. I personally like to group collections together for more of a decorating impact. Highlighting books is another way of sharing with others your passions and interests. Books stacked neatly on a shelf or in a pile on the floor create a warm and inviting feeling for those guests who drop by to visit.

When staging a home or decorating my own, I find that including vintage items helps to create a sense of the past, as well as a sense of belonging. I have been surrounded by antiques most of my life, but I also appreciate the straight lines of contemporary pieces as well – mixing these together is a great way to achieve antique elegance with a modern day edge.

Having lived for a bit in the Netherlands where flowers are prolific, I now have fresh flowers around my home at all times. My favorites include Dutch tulips, which remind me of my time in Holland, and hydrangeas, which remind me of New England, where I was born. I have learned that alstroemeria flowers, found at most grocery stores, are very pretty and can last for almost two weeks. Flowers, along with potted plants in unique containers (always great conversation pieces), easily help to create a warm and inviting home.

Last, but not least, art is another way to create a welcoming environment. I love art, and many who enter my home for the first time comment on the pieces that adorn it. It has been collected over the years, not just purchased for the sake of putting something on our walls. Each piece has a story and is part of my family's history. We have established an area in a small hallway of our home that displays street art from just about every city we have visited. These pieces are all framed in brushed gold or black frames to create a feeling of connection, as not all the art is of the same medium. Showcasing personal photos is another way to create a warm and inviting home. You may not want to overdo the number of framed photos you display, however – perhaps just a shelf here and a tabletop there with a few favorite family pictures.

When you're deciding on how you want your home to feel, don't be afraid to create your own style, using what makes you happy and is reflective of you and your family. I hope I have inspired you to create a home that is filled with what you love and surround yourself with those whom you love.

Laurie Preston is the owner of Preston Interiors, LLC. For more information, call 919-607-1603 or visit or

Photo courtesy of Sherwin-Williams.



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