Day 11 :: 5 Minutes to Good Atmosphere


arly in my marriage, when the budget was tighter and we had the energy to argue about such things, Hubs and I had the great Starbucks debate.  He thought paying $4 for a cup of coffee was ridiculous.

I didn’t completely disagree, but I was getting more than just coffee–I was getting an experience. And I’d happily fork over good money to sit with my latte and gaze out the window, listening to jazz and penning deep thoughts in my journal.

For me, good atmosphere has the power to comfort and inspire.  So when I’m hosting, I like to try to make my home a bit cozier–in hopes of blessing whoever walks through my door.

Would my house be just fine without cozi-fying? Totally.

But I’m not talking perfection here. Just a few simple touches to make it more welcoming.

5 Minutes to Good Atmosphere

Turn the Overhead Lights Off

And turn on those lamps.  Overhead lights are generally harsh (unless you’ve got them on dimmers–yay, dimmers!), but lamps cast softer light.

People used to say that my college dorm room felt cozy, which I attribute completely to my use of lamps and abhorrence of the overhead florescent lights.

Light Some Candles

They are basically magic.

Consider a scent that’s not overpowering.  I recently discovered there’s a camp of people passionately opposed to vanilla-scented things.  Discuss.

Seasonal Decor

Haul out a bit of whatever seasonal decor you have in your closet.  Right before company comes is not the time to worry about decorating your entire mantel, but is there a spring/fall/holiday wreath you could hang?  Or some pumpkins to throw by the fireplace?

Bring the Outdoors In

Grab whatever’s growing in your yard and stick it in a vase.  Spring and summer bring flowers, autumn offers lovely foliage or mums, and in winter I like to grab some evergreen branches or interesting sticks.

Good Tunes

Music has more power to create atmosphere than almost anything.  There’s a reason why Starbucks plays jazz and indie-ish stuff and not classic rock.  And those songs Gap is playing?  Totally designed to get you to buy stuff.

When picking tunes, I like to consider the time of day and who I’m hosting.  If it’s a brunch baby shower, I’m probably not going to cue up Gipsy Kings.  (To me, that feels more like an afternoon barbeque).

Depending on the guest of honor’s taste, I’d probably do some kind of Patti Griffin-Civil Wars-Brooke Fraser combo.  Or my Helen Jane Long Pandora station.

Do you have any tips for last-minute sprucing up?

This is a post from a 31-day series on Real, Simple Hospitality.  Read all the other posts here.  Check out all the other 31 Day-ers here.

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About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.