Things that will turn off guests in your home

Wednesday November 6 2019

Gloria Kawuma, an interior designer, explains

Gloria Kawuma, an interior designer, explains some of the decor concepts in her client’s house. She says uncoordinated colour schemes are a turn off in a home. Photo by Rachel Mabala 

By Carolyne B. Atangaza

The holidays are around the corner and it is time to entertain family and friends. One way to ensure your home does not shock and offend your guests is to see it through the eyes of your guests.

Enter your home the way a guest would and sit in the places a guest would sit in and take a thorough and critical look at everything, if you like what you see then you are good to go, if you do not then it is time to clean up.

Gloria Kawuma, an interior designer notices the quality and type of décor used in the home. “I am always embarrassed by noticing synthetic plants, crafts, accessories or coffee table centre pieces that are dusty or they are so many that they leave no space.

Some homes have uncoordinated colour schemes and outdated calendars still hanging on the walls. Believe it or not, some people leave Christmas decorations hanging throughout the year along with yester years’ calenders,” Kawuma shares. Also, look out for dead or wilting indoor plants because they make the home look neglected and abandoned.
While uncoordinated décor makes a homeowner seem lackadaisical, one which is too matchy-matchy makes a home look juvenile if not comical. Imagine walking into a house where the wallpaper pattern matches its curtains, chair covers, the tiles and the bedspread. Not only is this trend decades outdated but it robs the home of any personality.

How does your entryway look like? Entering some homes can be a nightmare of tripping over piles of shoes or walking through a dusty mess right at the front door.

You might be used to your mess but your guests are not so, put the shoes away, shake loose dirt out of doormats outside and create a clear space for visitors to put their coats, bags and shoes when they come in.

The house that has not been cleaned in a while. “The hygiene of your home is extremely important because if people notice that your curtains have not been washed in months, the furniture is covered in dust, the dining table has food and drinks smudges all over it and your cutlery is stained, they will be reluctant to accept or even enjoy the refreshments. The fussier ones will even cut their visit short to avoid having to use your bathroom,” Kavuma notes.


She urges home owners to do a thorough cleaning regularly. Wash your curtains at least once a month; mend the torn zippers and sew the ripped cushion covers.
Something people often ignore but which is really repulsive is cleaning their door handles and switches. Wahab Mbabazi, an interior designer notes that over time, handles and switches collect oil from our hands that is joined by dust to form a layer of grime.

“It can be disgusting for someone to have to touch that grime to switch on a light or open a door. One time I saw a guest surreptitiously use a serviette to touch a door handle that was covered in grime. Do not cause your guests this discomfort, just get disinfecting wipes and clean those often-touched surfaces every week.”

Your guests will notice the smell of your home first according to Mbabazi. Every home has a distinct smell; even the cleanest of them. The smells mostly come from the soap you use, cooking smells, cleaning supplies, and air fresheners. These combined together create your distinct home smell. While some are pleasant such as the smell of freshly baked cake, others such as dirty and wet carpets are revolting and should be avoided. Some smells can be hard to get rid of while others have become part of you so they no longer bother you. Ask a friend’s honest opinion and then get to work to eliminate them.

There are various tools and tricks that can effectively rid a home of nasty orders such as adding a fragrant essential oil to the inside of your toilet roll tube will fight against unpleasant odours and leave your bathroom smelling fresher.

Placing half a lemon on the centre shelf of your fridge will fight off bad fridge smells while a mixture of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar will clear the kitchen sink odour.

You lack basic conveniences such as drinking water, toothpicks (trust me once a host had to get a twig from their hedge for me to use) or hand washing soap in the bathroom. You do not have to go all out to buy fancy soap for the bathroom; just make sure there is soap as well as a clean towel to dry their hands. And please do not forget toilet paper, the most important bathroom amenity of all.

Rowdy children
Have you ever been to a home where the children are literally always underfoot; they interrupt conversations and pick from guests’ plates? Before guests arrive, talk to your children about how you want them to behave.

And if you have pets that might inconvenience guests, lock them away.

Our society has become so permissive that it is sometimes difficult to tell when we are sharing too much with the wrong people. This is true of our intimate photographs. It is true you are beautiful and have an amazing body that you are proud to show off but just looking at it from visitor’s point of view, it might be a little uncomfortable.

Intimate shots belong in a room where not everybody passes such as the bathroom, hallway, living room and kitchen. Do you have a master bathroom where you can display your awesomeness just for yourself and your significant other?

If not consider a corridor that has less traffic or your bedroom. If you have a dressing room, consider it too. It is a pleasant little surprise every time you go searching through your clothes. As long as you are not putting it there because you feel like you need to hide it, because that might not be so pleasant.