By Carleton Varney
Special to the Daily News
Here are six pointers on how to make your home more welcoming — and not just at Valentine’s Day. Regular readers might recall that I’ve offered a few of these suggestions in other columns. But they all bear repeating.
* Are your walls, ceilings, and woodwork freshly painted, clean and sparkling? If not, it’s time to visit your paint store and discover the many new colors that can bring new life and love into your home.
* Are all your lighting fixtures, including lamps and lightbulbs, working? Have your crystal chandeliers been washed and polished? If you have brass chandeliers, have they been treated to a good rubdown lately with Brasso? I just completed polishing all the brasses in my own home, including fireplace fenders, doorknobs and candlesticks. You might be surprised what a difference it makes.
* Our pictures, portraits and family-made art should surround us in our homes. And not just in our primary residences but in our vacation homes, as well. These days, so many of us enjoy photos on our smartphones, computer screens or tablets. But every home needs a collection of framed photographs to remind us of happy memories and surround us with happy faces. Display the frames on end tables and, of course, on the piano. And if you’re hanging a family portrait on your wall, be sure it has a working picture light, which will add even more life to your room. You can even purchase battery-operated picture lights to avoid messy electrical work.
* Are there comfy pillows about your home? Do you have a throw blanket or shawl placed on the back of a chair in the family room? The throw might be of wool — I like plaid versions — or of mohair, perhaps in a happy color such as heather or aqua blue. Throws of faux animal prints are also popular. I suggest looking up the name Adrienne Landau — a great faux-fur pillow and shawl source
* Does your home have a few candles in candle holders or candlesticks? The candles needn’t necessarily be scented. In fact, I prefer unscented candles in the dining room and in the candle holders on the fireplace mantle. A candle with the scent of cinnamon and spices is super in the entry hall or a room you pass through. But I think scented candles in rooms where your family spends much of its time can be way over the top. In fact, over-scented rooms can be annoying!
* Giving your home a Valentine means adding plants and flowers into the mix. I often see lovely floral arrangements in homes at holiday time. But I like to display cut flowers year-round. A vase of roses shouldn’t be just for Valentine’s Day. Why not enjoy yellow, white or pink roses throught out the year — or a mix of garden blossoms?
If you don’t have a cutting garden yourself, the island has a number of florists who can supply beautiful arrangements. Even the Palm Beach Publix has lovely cash-and-carry bouquets. Arrange them by hand, with maybe some parsley leaves to lend your bouquet a natural, right-from-the-garden look. Trust me: Flowers and plants can do so much to bring welcoming charm to a home.