Constructing a comfort zone

A show house is no house:

My mother always had guest towels that no one was supposed to touch. They were pretty, but didn't mean anything. Rather than have an environment for visual impact, create one that works with your lifestyle.


Sofas should be social:

Living rooms serve the function of fellowship. Create conversation pits by positioning sofas to face other chairs. Select fabrics that stand up to wear and tear so if your dog gets on it you won't scream.

Table talk:

Centerpieces remind you that the dining table is not a place of clutter. This is where you gather to talk about your day.

Natural touch:

Bring fresh flowers into the home every week, even if it's a single carnation. Flowers instantly and inexpensively perk up the ambience, enliven the area with color and engage our senses with fragrance. In a foyer, they ease the transition between outside and in.

Coping mechanism:

Create systems to organize your life. If there's a riot of toys, gym bags and hockey equipment in your foyer, find solutions with cubbies, baskets, bins and hooks.

A place of your own:

Every person should have a private, undisturbed space to retreat — even if it's just a chair and a lamp. It's about creating comfort zones so everyone who lives there feels great.

— Maryann Hammers