Home Sweet Home, Deccan Herald, Home & Interiors – 7th February 2014

home sweet home1.001Hospitality is what subtly transforms your house into a warm, welcoming home. A well designed abode not only keeps its owners happy and blissful but also lends a gentle hand of love, warmth and kindness to the ones visiting it. A house that meets the practical and sensitive needs of its owners is also confident and assured of it being shared with the people who visit it.

To start with, extending a warm handshake, a little word of greeting with a small space designed to accommodate your guest’s coats, bags and other belongings can be a good idea. This being said, make your guests feel that it’s fine and acceptable if they place their bags on your sofa or they keep their pair of sunglasses on your peg table.  Aiming for too much perfection and flawlessness can also result in making your guests uncomfortable.

A simple gesture of offering a glass of clean, fresh water can be very welcoming and hospitable. Having a furniture accessory like a cart, well stocked with drinks and snacks, can help you do away with the needless trips to the kitchen and result in you spending more time with your guests, after all that is why they came to visit you in the first place. Accessorising your cart with a couple of extra plates to do away with remnants of snacks and used toothpicks will spare your guests, the awkwardness of disposing off the leftovers. A stack of beautiful tissue papers in your cart would be another good thing to have.

A comfortable seating arrangement in your living room with appropriate, comfy seating placed close by for free flowing conversation and suitably large, within hands reach side tables can surely make the guests feel at home. You certainly wouldn’t want someone to get up every time they want to keep emptied glasses and plates and your guests wouldn’t want you to get up every time either. Another living room piece of advice is that avoid getting hysterical and frantic over little spills and trickles. This applies equally to guests as it does to the hosts. Being prepared with a few one liners for those awkward ‘I don’t know what to say’ moments would be nice too.

A small powder room incorporated in your design scheme would be a very smart move. One, it would cut down on the long trips the guests would take via your bedroom into your bathroom and two, it will keep your bedroom a private place and not a passing gallery at display for your guests. The powder room should be well stocked with soap, clean hand towels and lots of toilet paper. A few scented candles, an air freshener or even some small planters in your powder room would not be a bad idea.

For guests ‘staying over’ a neatly laid bed with fresh bed sheets and pillow covers, an extra blanket, a magazine stand by the bedside with interesting reads, a side table with a bottle of drinking water, tissues and of course an elegant night lamp would be delight for them. A guest bathroom equipped with razors, extra toothbrush and toothpaste apart from the above mentioned stuff would set up a happy and relaxed mood. Giving your ‘stay over’ guests a little bit of ‘their’ space would be nice because you can’t hover around them all the time and neither would they want it.  And well leaving a spare set of keys with them would be excellent but only if you are fine with it.

Hospitality is a part of our culture and if we throw in some bit of thoughtfulness, it would result in making it ‘easier’ for us, and to some level infuse in us some ‘confidence’ for sharing our homes with others. Hospitality is not synonymous with being a ‘show-off’ or  being very ‘extravagant’ or going overboard all the time, it’s all about sharing and little acts of ‘giving’ to others to the best of your ability and making them feel at home.

Making people know how much you enjoy having them over, thanking them  for coming over to your place while bidding them goodbye, walking them back to their car during a send off and not forgetting to show them your appreciation for the small gift or bouquet they bought you would be very polite and gracious. A return email or a small hand written note conveying the pleasure of having your guests over shall go a long way too.


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