Greet Guests and Buyers with a Great First Impression

By Rhianna Miller

Nothing says welcome like a front porch, and your front entryway speaks volumes about your home—make it warm and welcoming with a few simple tips. Give your door a fresh coat of paint, update house numbers and lighting fixtures and hang a winter wreath on the door. If your home has a covered porch or entry area, add a bench or other seating and dress them up with a cozy marshmallow or faux fur throw and outdoor pillows in warm winter leaf like hues with plaid or cooler weather designs.

Add some outdoor lanterns to give the space ambiance and a feeling of warmth. Accessories such as a box of logs or a big jar of pine cones will complete the cozy look. Place a couple of season decorations, like snowmen, on either side of the entry and include a stylish welcome mat in a winter theme to show buyers and guests that they are entering a warm and inviting space. These gestures are easily the most important to your overall curb appeal and can make all the difference.

Make a good first impression. A prospective buyer’s first impression of a home is the exterior. Make sure to rake any leaves, trim bushes, clean gutters and use seasonal flowers or greens to keep the exterior looking fresh. Remember, curb appeal is as important as the interior. It is the first thing that your potential buyers will see.

Winter mulching. Use rubber mulch to beautify flowerbeds, shrubs or just about any outdoor area that would typically be covered with traditional mulch. Rubber Mulch will keep moisture where it needs to be and prevent weeds from taking hold, while keeping soil temperature even for tender plants. In addition, it will not blow away and is weather resistant, so it will stay put and look good no matter what the season. With Rubber Mulch, you can also select from a variety of colors to design the aesthetic look of winter.

Plant evergreens and boxwoods. Plants that retain their green during winter add a freshness that is hard to come by during the colder months. Plant hedges and bushes around your home and add pots to your front porch. Don’t forget to keep them neat and trimmed.

Paint away. A fresh coat of paint is a very cost effective way to freshen the interior of your home. Select rich shades of brown or cream that provide a cozy and neutral backdrop. Use accessories like pillows and throws in warm, winter-like tones to add pops of color.

The smells of winter. Find opportunities to use winter scents, including berries and pine, in your home. Candles can be an effective way to fill your home with a winter scent, just be sure to burn them for a while before guests or buyers get there.

Light it up. As days start to get shorter in winter, the importance of well-lit rooms becomes paramount. Before any house showings, make sure to turn on all lights, open the blinds, open the shutters and push back the drapes on every window. If there are any rooms without windows, make sure to accessorize with lamps. If your home has an electric fireplace, turn that on as well to invite guests to relax and imagine themselves living in the house.

Add space. Natural or artificial light makes rooms look bright and big. Warm accents, like decorative pillows, vases and house plants tend to make people relax. Decluttering and organizing is crucial if you want to make the rooms in the home look more spacious.

Do a deep cleaning of the entire home. You would be surprised at how closely prospective buyers will look at baseboards, cabinets and sinks. Along these same lines, go through the house and declutter. Organize household items and keep them out of sight.

Make the fireplace a focal point. This is the time of year that potential buyers can most see themselves cuddled up on the couch with a good book. Consider staging a small sitting area around it.

Exterior maintenance. Tend to needed updates. Power wash the exterior to clean up the vinyl and wood siding, repair any loose shingles, replace roofing that is leaking or damaged, clean gutters and downspouts, repair or replace old windows, and seal cracks with caulking. Remember that maintenance is important even if the updates are not visible by driving by your house.

Fix-up windows and trim. Replace broken glass, fix the caulking, scrape and paint the trim, and clean the inside and outside of the windows until they shine. Brackets and decorative moldings can also really make your exterior pop and are easy to install. Add a couple of window boxes to offer a cottage-like, homey appeal.

Add outdoor lighting. Consider adding outdoor lighting that will add interest and warmth to your home during the darker months when daylight is limited. The outside of your home may look dreary and dark, but updated wall mount lighting and hanging lanterns will give your home a much needed warm glow during this time. Think about adding lighting to the landscaping and walkway, a hanging pendant light to the front doorway and additional lighting near the garage.

Do not forget about your driveway and sidewalks. Keep the driveway and sidewalks clear of leaves, branches and debris. Make sure your driveway and sidewalks look tidy, even if they are not in their spring or summer prime. Rake up the leaves and make sure all your summer décor is put away for the winter months, along with dead summer plants and planter. Fill in any cracks in your driveway to prevent further damage from the weather.

Rhianna Miller is the House/Yard Improvement and Design Expert at, the original and environmentally responsible mulch made from 100% recycled rubber used in gardens, playgrounds and sustainable landscaping. Rubber Mulch is weather resistant, durable, and the most cost effective mulch around and is specifically designed to protect children on the playground.