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How to Make a House Say, ‘You’re Home’

What makes a house welcoming – the kind of property where homeowners and buyers feel at home?

Michaela Mahady, author of “Welcoming Home,” points to these details that she says are features that can make a big difference.

· The house smiles. The symmetry of the front door topped by second-story windows and a gabled roofline create a mouth, eyes and eyebrows that appeal to people. “When we see a reflection of our own human form, whether in a house or a car or a chair, we have a visceral understanding of it,” she said. “Certain houses that imitate our body form, they draw us in and make us feel more friendly.”

· A sense of shelter. The roof should extend over the entry so the property evokes a sense of safety.

· Lowered ceiling in rooms where people sit rather than stand. For instance, a cozy breakfast room or an alcove with a couple of chairs for reading.

· Lighted front porch. “People gravitate toward light,” Mahady says. “That’s one of the greatest ways people can say, ‘Welcome to the house.'”

· Design that looks comfortable. If you can’t image a chair in the room with a cup of coffee and the newspapers piled up on the floor, chances are the design doesn’t work, she says.

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