Southerners know how to create a welcoming home that looks good, smells good, and has lots of yummy food. Until recent generations, it was mostly the women who kept the home fires burning, but men are getting in on the action now.
And that’s a good thing. It’s a lot of pressure for one person to handle, so bring it on, guys. Y’all have some great ideas, and contrary to what some folks might say, most southern men can rise to the occasion if they want to have a welcoming home.
What you’ll find in a welcoming southern home: • A southern home doesn’t have to be a mansion as long as it’s welcoming. • The décor doesn’t have to be too matchy-matchy, but there should be something cohesive about it. • It smells good—either from food or a well-placed air freshener. • There is always food. It can be home-cooked or purchased at the deli and put in a nice container or on a platter, making it look like you’ve been working hard all day. You can even serve salad as long as it looks pretty.
Traits of a Welcoming Southern Home
And people enjoy coming over when you have a pretty, good-smelling place that just happens to have something good to eat. It’s not all that hard to do if you follow a few basic tips.
I remember back when I decided to quit a job to be a homemaker. It was tough because we had to cut way back on extras. However, my decision was confirmed when both of my children said they loved the way the house smelled when I stayed home.
I’m sure that the (slice and bake) cookies I’d just pulled out of the oven had a lot to do with that. I’d managed to create a welcoming southern home.
Lay the Foundation with Quality Furniture
Most people want to have an attractive home. It’s nice to be able to look around and see something that is there simply because it looks good. And if you’re like me, you enjoy changing things out every once in a while.
But home goods can be so expensive. I love going to home decorating stores and seeing all the gorgeous pieces, but I seldom buy anything at full price. Everything will eventually go on sale (yay!), but unfortunately, a sale sticker sometimes means that item is going out of style.
So what’s a self-respecting southern girl to do? Here’s my method of keeping things fresh without putting too big of a dent in my bank account.
Start with the best neutral furniture you can afford. My husband and I both like the comfort and quality of La-Z-Boy furniture, so all of the seating in our family room is from there. A good piece of upholstered furniture can last for years before it needs to be replaced.
Decorate on a Budget
I’m not talking about cheapening up your home. What I’m saying is that you don’t have to choose the highest quality decorating pieces if you plan to change them out after a season or two.
Be cautious about overdoing cheap accents. This is one of those times when less is more.
Here are some tips for adding inexpensive accent to your home décor: • Peruse the selection at your local dollar stores. Most of them have really upped their decorating game. • Study the accent pieces from your favorite stores, such as the Pottery Barn or Crate and Barrel to gain inspiration. Bring pictures to remind you while you shop. • Be willing to do a little work with your glue gun or needle and thread. Sometimes all it takes to elevate the look of a couple of dollar store finds is to attach them to each other. • Use color to your advantage. Having one or two accent colors helps keep you focused while you’re shopping. • Think outside the box. For example, some scrapbooking paper is pretty enough to frame, and if you can find some that pulls your look together, it will appear that it was professionally done. I picked up a pad of scrapbooking paper from Hobby Lobby when it was on sale.
Don’t Forget the Sense of Smell
All of the senses are important when decorating a southern home. I prefer the aroma of fresh-baked cookies or brewed coffee.
Here are some other tricks to make your home smell like . . . home:
• Bake a small batch of gingerbread cookies daily. Back it up with gingerbread scented room spray.
• Boil something that smells great, such as lemon peels, orange peels, spiced water (cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, etc.). You can use a small slow cooker for this so you don’t have to worry about it.
• Strategically place small containers of potpourri throughout your house. Freshen it weekly to keep the scent strong enough to notice.
• Place sachet packets around the house (behind picture frames, under sofa cushions, behind books, etc.)
• Place a fabric softener sheet on your central air/heat filters so the fresh scent will waft through your house every time the a/c or heater comes on.