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17 Ways You're Making Your Home Terribly Uninviting

You want people to visit...right?

When you invite guests over, you want them to feel right at home. Unfortunately, it's all too easy to create a space that doesn't encourage anyone to sit and stay a while. And just as important as including design elements that will make your space feel warm and inviting is pinpointing the factors that make it unwelcoming. You'll want to watch out for these design pitfalls that are making your guests (and your family!) uncomfortable—whether you realize it or not.

You don't have any personal touches.

Modern bright interiors. 3D rendering illustration

Some homes feel sterile, says interior designer Laurence Carr. "A good example is a home where the owner has purchased great upholstered pieces, like streamlined sofas and chairs, but retains the store-bought feel of those pieces by keeping the pillows that come with the set," she says. "Everything that comes into the home should have a purpose, should fit the owner's unique style, and should be modified with personal touches." For example, she recommends picking out unique china and other accents that have a story. And get rid of those matchy-matchy pillows, stat.

Your place looks too fancy.

Leather couch

When choosing your furniture, don't just go by looks—think about what you and your guests will actually want to cozy up on, says Joe Human, principal designer and founder of Designs by Human. "In general, very tailored pieces are not only uncomfortable but look uninviting," he says. "That gives guests the impression they are not able to sit and rest." Your antique armchair might look straight out of a Victorian manor, but it's probably also making your guests nervous.

…or not fancy enough.

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On the flip side, furniture that's, ahem, well-worn, isn't too appealing either. "The same can go with really frumpy, soft, plush items, as they might feel too messy and unkempt to the point where people would rather stand," says Human. "Finding that balance between the two is a good way to make sure you and your guests are comfortable."

Your motto is "more is more."

Wooden sofa with dark pillows in scandi style living room

Don't go overboard when adding those personal touches, though. "When shelves are filled to the brim, side tables are crowded, and every surface is overflowing, there's just too much going on," says Carr. "Keeping clutter at a minimum allows the mind to rest." Give your favorite pieces some breathing room in order to create strong focal points that act like conversation starters, not distractions.

Your home looks like a catalog display.

modern all white living room

Surprisingly enough, an obsessively clean home can actually be a bit jarring, says Sophie Kaemmerle, communications manager for "We all like a clean space to live in, but when it's too clean, it doesn't feel like a functioning space," she says. "Homes with soul are always a little 'lived-in.'"

For instance, if your family likes to keep shoes and coats by the door, don't bother shoving them into a closet when company arrives. Their presence will help guests feel more at home, and you get to save time cleaning—win-win!

There's a funny smell.

something smells Embarrassing Things

You might be used to the smell that your pets, kids, and cooking leave behind, but your guests aren't. Use an air freshener—a diffuser, spray, or plug-in—to give your home a more pleasant scent, suggests Devoreaux Walton, lifestyle and etiquette expert of The Modern Lady. You might also need to do a deep cleaning to eliminate any stubborn smells.

Your tiles are uncomfortable.

vinyl floor outdated home design

Tiles are (literally) cold to the touch, which can translate to a (figuratively) cold feel. "Swaths of tile throughout the home will look beautiful, and I do understand the idea of not wanting to cover it up, but introducing soft goods is an instant way to warm up a home," says Human. If a rug isn't right for the room, he recommends bringing in upholstered chairs, a wood table, and warm metal accents.

Your furniture is too big.


Especially in small rooms, large furniture can take up valuable floor space and make guests feel like they aren't welcome to walk around—much less stay a while. "Instead of over-furnishing a room and leaving little floor space, consider keeping the room more open and airy," says Devoreaux. "Go high instead of wide for storage furniture in order to give yourself more floor room." You can also try one of the 30 Home Design Tricks That Will Make Any Room Look So Much Bigger.

You've gone too minimal.

color facts

We all love to Marie Kondo nowadays, but a hyper-minimal space "can suck the soul from a home," says Kaemmerle. "Your home is not a hospital room nor an art gallery." Give your space some much-needed personality with rugs, books, photos, and other signs of life, she suggests.

You think brighter is better.

bright white living room

"Harsh, bright lighting is extremely uninviting, often evoking feelings of being in a place of business," says Laurence. Banish those fluorescent bulbs and set a more welcoming mood by using soft lighting in the home, she suggests. Bonus points if you add a dimmer that lets you adjust the level of light for the occasion.

You haven't tidied up.

Man in messy living room, Everyday Energy Killers

No one expects you to have a 100 percent impeccable home, but too much clutter is bound to make guests feel on edge. "Knick-knacks, papers, and cords are present in every home—they just don't need to be displayed in every home," says Devoreaux. If clutter is building up because you feel like you don't have space for it, invest in some storage furniture that looks nice on its own and hides the mess.

It looks too matchy-matchy.

paint colors

"Some earth-tone and monotone spaces can feel uninviting, partially because there is nothing to break up the color pallet, which could be said for almost any color used in exclusivity," says Human. Even if you love the monochromatic look, most rooms could benefit from a complementary color, even if it's used on just a piece or two, like a painting or rug, he says.

You're all about the industrial look.

Living room in industrial style with leather sofa and brick wall

"For a time, industrial concepts were on-trend, which popularized a style I believe is the opposite of inviting," says Laurence. "Cold metallic materials, too much glass, mixing metals—they all just make you feel like you're in a factory." The newer trend of hygge—a Danish concept of coziness and togetherness—is much more welcoming, she says. Get those warm Scandinavian vibes by adding thick blankets, soft textures, and natural lighting to your home.

The color scheme feels sterile.

nice living room

Cool colors don't always create a cold vibe, but it can be easy for them to fall into that trap. "Generic icy shades of blue, cold metallic greys and too much bright white can make a home feel sterile," says Laurence. "A subtle mix of soft colors can create an inviting feeling." Some of her cozier favorites are grayish blue, warm orange (think sorbet or terracotta, not neon), seafoam, and parchment.

You haven't given your hallways much thought.

House interior. Entrance hallway with white door and hardwood floor.

When it comes to welcoming guests into your home, the front entryway is the most important—and often, most neglected—space. "Simple beige walls just aren't inviting enough," says Calum Henderson, spokesperson for I Love Wallpaper. "You need to give your hallway the luxury treatment if you want to wow your visitors." He recommends a fun wallpaper with a geometric print to draw guests in.

The walls are totally bare.

Empty apartment room interior with blank white walls, hardwood floor, large casement windows and planter with little tree shrub.

Empty walls can make it feel like you haven't put much thought into your space—and that's a big turnoff for guests. "It's important to have a few pops of color in photographs or artwork on your walls," says Katie Ziskind, LMFT, owner of Wisdom Within Counseling. For example, you might try one of the 13 Simple Decor Tricks That Will Make Your Home So Festive.

You're scared of color.

paint colors

Black and white is classic and sleek, but it also risks looking cold and uninviting, says Kaemmerle. "While it's fine to stick with a certain color palette, make sure there are varying shades and pops of alternate color throughout to create some moodiness," she says. Add a splash of color with throw pillows, a standout coffee maker, or a bright pot for your plants. And to know exactly what not to buy, check out the 30 Home Decorations No One Over 30 Should Own.

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